Kieren Fallon’s desire to regain the jockeys’ title burned as brightly as the autumn sun as the in-form rider rattled off another two winners at Ascot.
Reigning champion Paul Hanagan had chosen to ride at an evening meeting in Wolverhampton, a regular haunt of Fallon in recent weeks on his mission to ride wherever is logistically possible.
Fallon was trailing by 13 at the start of the day and was in playful form, no doubt helped by the successes of Dimension and Mundana, while another former champion, Ryan Moore, had no luck from his first two rides back after recovering from a broken arm and thumb.
Both horses were trained by regular Fallon supporters, with James Fanshawe’s 3-1 favourite Dimension benefiting from more positive riding to end a frustrating run of seconds in the PWC Handicap.
Fallon was required by his main patron, Luca Cumani, for the ride on the progressive filly Mundana (3-1).
Now a winner of three of her four starts, she had the EBF “Firebreak” Ratcliffes Syndication Classified Stakes settled with a couple of furlongs to run and was pushed out to beat Fanshawe’s Primaeval by a length and a quarter.
“I’m still a long way behind, so I have to hope Paul draws a blank,” Fallon smiled.
“It’s interesting. I think it’s good for racing and everything else and I’m enjoying it.
“Paul’s a good fellow and a friend of mine. It’s better than if you were riding against someone you weren’t on the same terms with.”
Both winning trainers were at a service in Newmarket to celebrate the life of the late Michael Jarvis, so their spouses were on saddling duty.
Fanshawe’s wife, Jacko, said of Dimension: “Kieren decided to do his own thing as he knows the horse very well.
“He’s been a little bit disappointing and it was time to do something different in terms of tactics.”
Of Mundana, Cumani’s wife, Sara, added: “She’s done very well this year and we’d love to get her a bit of black type, but if there’s nothing left for this season then so be it.
“She was out in front for quite a long time, but I think she’s had a fairly easy time of it.”
Alan Bailey has some unfinished business with the Gold Cup, and he was already thinking about next year’s highlight of the Royal meeting after Barbican (7-2) managed a short-head defeat of Highland Castle in the Listed Keltbray Noel Murless Stakes.
“I thought he was beaten, but he does like a battle,” said the veteran Newmarket trainer.
“He’ll get two miles no problem, and the owners are talking about races in Hong Kong and the Melbourne Cup next year.
“I don’t know whether he’ll run again this year but I don’t want him to have too many hard races.”
He continued: “When I worked for Peter Walwyn I used to look after Rock Roi and ride him out every day.
“He was the only horse to win the Gold Cup and be disqualified (in 1971 and 72) – once as he tested positive for bute and once for interference.
“I’d love it if Barbican could stay two and a half so we can bring him back here for the Gold Cup.”
Jamie Spencer was characteristically fearless as he weaved through rivals in the Bollinger Handicap aboard Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Caravan Rolls On (14-1) to score with plenty in hand.
Winning owner Paul Hancock said: “We actually had him in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot but he stood on a stone and had to have six weeks off.
“He likes coming through horses and staying well off a strong pace and he got that today.
“He’s in the sales, but we’ll have to have a think about it.”
Dean Ivory’s Sirius Prospect (9-2) came with a powerful late finish to lift the Berkshire Media Group Handicap, while John Gosden’s Thimaar (6-1) regained winning form in the Tabac Gordon Carter Handicap.