Double joy for Johnson

Mark Johnston has his string in good nick and he advertised the fact with a short-priced double at Ripon today.

Mark Johnston has his string in good nick and he advertised the fact with a short-priced double at Ripon today.

With Luberon scoring at York last week and the impressive Captain Webb landing the Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton where Eradicate foiled Turbo Linn in the Braveheart Stakes, the clues were there for punters who follow trainers in form.

It was an apt day for Johnston to make the headlines as the Middleham Trainers' Association sponsored two races on the card and the qualified vet has done more than anyone to put the historic town back on the map.

The Scotsman was on target with the 4-6 favourite Harwalla in the Leyburn Maiden Stakes and Laa Rayb (5-2 favourite) in the feature, the Ripon, Yorkshire's Garden Racecourse Handicap.

It was a distinct change in fortunes for the latter, who had travelled down to Ascot last weekend well-fancied for the Victoria Cup but his chance was lost at the start when his jockey was left in the stalls.

There were no such dramas this time as Joe Fanning tracked long-time leader Jewelled Dagger before asserting close home to win by a length and a half.

"This was a nice prize to win, but not as nice as last week," said a rueful Johnston.

"I ran him over the wrong trip (nine furlongs) first time out this season, he only wants a mile.

"He's a very good horse, it was a good ride from Joe but I don't think he only has to be put in front late on, he's won from the front before."

Harwalla, runner-up on his first two starts, made no mistake this time to win by three lengths.

"Looking at the size and shape of him that is probably his trip (six furlongs)," said Johnston.

"I don't think he has beaten much and the race he finished second in at Musselburgh was much stronger."

Richard Fahey, fresh from a treble at Doncaster on Saturday evening, was on the mark with Valley Of The Moon (13-2) in the C.B. Hutchinson Memorial Challenge Cup.

The bottom weight travelled better than any of her rivals and quickened up stylishly under Jamie Moriarty to beat Carcinetto.

"Jamie gave her a great ride, he is riding out of his skin at present," said Fahey's assistant Robin O'Ryan.

"The horses are running really well too and she deserved to win a nice race because she had been a bit too consistent for her own good."

John Quinn continues to gain admirers and his Veiled Applause (9-2 favourite) showed a nice turn of foot to quickly settle the Middleham Trainers Association Handicap.

Graham Gibbons spotted a gap a furlong out and the five-year-old beat Just Lille by an eased-down length.

"The Beverley race he ran in last time was seriously competitive," said Quinn.

"It's nice for the owners to win here, they are both Yorkshiremen.

"He's been hurdling and while he showed promise we will see if we can pick up a few more 10-furlong handicaps with him before he goes back over them."

David Brown saddled his first winner with a full licence when Mangham (9-2) held off Tatbeeq in the Maiden Stakes.

Having worked with Tim Easterby, Steve Norton and Sir Michael Stoute, Brown has done the homework and has 12 horses at his base in Tickhill near Bawtry.

Kim Tinkler rode her first winner for 325 days on Kneesy Earsy Nosey (8-1) in the Wooden Spoon Charity Selling Stakes.

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