Dead heat at City of York Stakes

Dead heats are quite a rarity in racing but memories of Nunthorpe day in 1997 were evoked as Confront and Dream Eater could not be split in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.

Dead heats are quite a rarity in racing but memories of Nunthorpe day in 1997 were evoked as Confront and Dream Eater could not be split in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.

There was a memorable tie in the big sprint 12 years ago when Coastal Bluff and Ya Malak shared the honours, the latter's jockey Alex Greaves becoming the first female to win a British Group One.

This was just a Listed race, albeit a strong one and neither of the connections felt hard-done-by.

Andrew Balding's Dream Eater (7-1), without a victory for the best part of two years, had first bite of the cherry as William Buick pushed to the front at the furlong marker but Ryan Moore found a late energy boost on the Michael Stoute-trained Confront (3-1) and the pair bobbed as one.

Buick said: "I wasn't quite sure who'd won on the line. My horse had his head down and while I wasn't confident, I didn't think I'd got beat, at least

"He's very talented and has been running in top-class races but the only thing is when he comes under pressure, he seems to snake around a bit and I'm pretty sure if he hadn't done that he would have won outright."

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Confront's owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, said: "It's not half a loaf, it's a whole loaf - a stakes winner is a stakes winner.

"It is fantastic for his family. The children and grandchildren of Modena - like Midday and Manifest, they have really blossomed during the last month.

"Although he was back to seven furlongs today, I think we will go back to a mile after that. He banged his head in the stalls but not seriously."

It is a punting maxim never to discount a John Dunlop runner when the stable is in form and the old master rewarded his supporters with an incredible near 283-1 treble.

Palavicini's two-year-old half-brother Elusive Pimpernel won the Acomb Stakes and the older horse made sure he was not to be upstaged in the Sky Bet Strensall Stakes.

Palavicini (8-1) was back from a break after an ordinary performance at Royal Ascot and much of his success was the result of Eddie Ahern's alertness to the danger of Dream Lodge leading alone on the far rail.

After joining Dream Lodge, he proved a length too strong by the finish.

Dunlop had two wins and two places from his previous six runners in the Sky Bet Melrose Stakes and Akmal (8-1) improved the record further.

His confident jockey Richard Hills managed to contain the sustained challenge of Alanbrooke.

In a messy race, John Fahy aboard Penang Princess was given a six-day ban for excessive use of the whip (September 4, 6-10) and Buick a one-day suspension (September 4) for a lesser version on Bernie The Bolt.

Dunlop then helped Jimmy Fortune become the meeting's leading rider as 5-2 favourite Swingkeel did the honours in the Collingwood Team Service Knavesmire Handicap.

Totesport make him the new 10-1 market leader for the Cesarewitch.

Of Palavicini, Dunlop said: "The two brothers are the two most beautiful, strong horses.

"It was a funny race at Ascot last time. He pulled very hard and got hampered. Nothing really went his way.

"I think this trip and track were absolutely perfect. I haven't got any plans - there aren't many races over nine furlongs.

"On paper he ought to get further, but he's got a fair bit of speed."

Of Akmal, he added: "He had a good draw, they went a good pace and he had a good run all the way round.

"It has been a splendid week. York has been the jewel in the crown for us and I have enjoyed myself immensely, as you can imagine.

"There are not many staying handicaps around, so I'd imagine the Cesarewitch would be the next one for Swingkeel."

Businessman (13-2) improved an ordinary week at the Ebor office for trainer Mark Johnston by clocking off a debut success as he ran alone down the fair rail in the Buy A Racing Post Yearling Bonus Convivial Maiden Stakes.

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