Imposing start for Stoute and Moore

Imposing made sure Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore started York's Dante meeting on the right footing with a performance fitting of his name.

Imposing made sure Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore started York's Dante meeting on the right footing with a performance fitting of his name.

Stoute's colt appeared only once at the beginning of last season at Newmarket and despite an absence of 391 days, he was sent off at 7-2 for the £66 Of Free Bets At Handicap.

It took a little while for Imposing to wear down Indian Days but he pulled away in the end by a length and a quarter.

Stoute said: "He had a fracture soon after the Craven.

"It was always going to take plenty of time but he's back and let's hope he stays back.

"He has done plenty of work so was fit enough. I thought he might have been a bit ring-rusty but he wasn't and we'll look for another handicap."

Michael Dods was on fire at last week's Chester May meeting and the Darlington trainer continued his run into another of the big spring fixtures.

Kaptain Kirkup (6-1) had shaped well at the Craven meeting himself and took the York City At Wembley With Blue Square Handicap in some style, quickening three and a quarter lengths clear under Tom Eaves.

"He has done it well but I don't know where we'll go next," said Dods. "We'll just see what the handicapper does.

"He's improving but I think we'll just stick to seven for the moment.

"I'm not frightened of going a mile but I don't think we'll do it yet. Tom said he just got away with the ground - he'd like a bit more juice."

Aviate finished with a rattle to give Henry Cecil his ninth success in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes.

Sent off at 11-4 following success at Ascot last month, the Dansili filly travelled strongly throughout in the hands of Eddie Ahern but was boxed in behind the leaders heading inside the final two furlongs.

Outsider Gold Bubbles looked the likely winner when striking the front inside the final furlong but once the gap came, Aviate showed an electric turn of foot to get up right on the line to score by a head.

Ahern said: "When they quickened I was in a little bit of trouble, but most of the trouble was I wasn't getting the gaps and I had to sit and suffer for a long time.

"She got me out of a lot of trouble because I'd have got a lot of stick if she'd got beat.

"I switched her back onto the inside and she quickened really well.

"After that you'd think she'll stay further."

Cecil added: "We ran her to see if she stays but she's got a cross of Nijinsky on both the sire and dam side, so there was a bit of stamina there.

"It looks as if she'll stay (in the Oaks). I was hopeful she would otherwise I would have run in the race over a mile here later in the week.

"I wanted to see if she'd stay to see if we could go for a French Oaks, an English Oaks, an Italian Oaks or any other Oaks.

"We don't know if she'll go to Epsom yet.

"It's difficult to say, she's a nice filly but you couldn't see how good she was because she didn't get a clear run, what they should have done was spread out to let her come through - then we'd have seen what she really was!"

The runner-up's jockey Kevin Manning said: "She ran a great race and I'm very happy with her."

Eleanora Duse stayed on well to finish third and her trainer Sir Michael Stoute added: "I'm thrilled with that as she's got some black type.

"She's from a lovely Ballymacoll Stud family, so they'll be very pleased with me."

Prime Defender bounced right back to his best to win the Duke Of York Blue Square Stakes.

Trainer Barry Hills has a great record in the contest but few will have been as big as 20-1 in the betting.

The six-year-old has been falling short in Group races throughout the last few seasons but finally landed a first Pattern-race success, just four days after winning at Haydock.

Johnny Murtagh always had Australian import Starspangledbanner in the firing line but he faded in the last 100 yards and it was the Khalid Abdullah-owned pair of Showcasing and Main Aim who chased home the winner, half a length and head adrift.

Winning jockey Robert Winston said: "He really put his head out and I was trying not to give him a smack as I think he curls up a little bit.

"I just gave him a little back hander in the last half-furlong but he is a horse I have a lot of faith in and on his day he's a very good sprinter.

"Darryll (Holland) gave him a lovely ride to win at Haydock four days ago and that has got his confidence up and it definitely helped him today."

Hills' son and assistant Charlie added: "This horse is a bit of an unsung hero as he's been around a long time but never quite got his head in front in one of these big races.

"He's won three Listed races before but this is his first Group win and we're delighted."

John Gosden said of Showcasing: "When I saw he was drawn 11 at York I was pleased, but then I found out the stalls were on the other side and that is not where you want to be.

"He's a three-year-old taking on the older horses, he had the worst of the draw and was two lengths adrift after a couple of furlongs.

"He's run a great race for a three-year-old and will head straight to Royal Ascot for the Golden Jubilee."

Teddy Grimthorpe, Abdullah's racing manager, said: "They have both run very well. Showcasing got tired in the final part of the race but we are really pleased with him.

"Main Aim travelled OK but got caught out when they kicked and was running on strongly at the end.

"He likes a strong finish and the Golden Jubilee will be the obvious place but I've not talked to Sir Michael (Stoute) yet."

Tim Easterby and Kieren Fallon combined to take the Bet At SP Guarantee Handicap with 8-1 chance Deauville Flyer.

The four-year-old was settled towards the rear by the six-times champion jockey but made headway to take closer order in the straight.

Handily-placed favourite The Fonz struck the front passing the two-furlong marker, but Fallon was in determined mood and galvanised his mount to deny the market leader by a short head.

"Kieren has ridden a good few for me, although he's beaten on a few too," joked Easterby.

"He stayed on well but he would have liked a bit more juice in the ground."

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox