Sergeant Cecil rules in Doncaster Cup

SERGEANT CECIL continued his amazing success story with victory in the GNER Doncaster Cup at York yesterday.

The seven-year-old was voted Horse of the Year in 2005 following his history-making treble in the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch.

This season he has graduated successfully to Pattern-race company and was landing his second Group Two on the bounce in the Doncaster Cup.

The two-and-a-quarter-mile feature was run on the Knavesmire while its normal home at Doncaster undergoes redevelopment.

But that proved right up Sergeant Cecil’s street as Rod Millman’s flashy chestnut loves the track and took his York tally to three wins and a second from four starts with his one-length call over Alcazar.

Frankie Dettori was on board Sergeant Cecil when he won the Lonsdale Cup here last month and he once again replaced Alan Munro, who is still on the sidelines, in this stamina test.

He proved an able deputy as he brought the even-money favourite through to lead over a furlong out and despite his mount hanging right across the runner-up, the race was soon in the bag.

The stewards inquired into the incident and there were a few tense moments for connections of the winner before the result was confirmed.

“In some ways we were under more pressure today as he had already won a Group Two and so we were expected to win,” said Millman.

“The horse is a privilege to be involved with. He’s just a great credit to the team, I’m just the front man.

“Frankie has given him a great ride. He thought he might have gone a bit soon on him but he has still won and that’s all that counts.

“All being well he will go to Longchamp for the Prix du Cadran.”

Dettori, who treated the crowd to his customary flying dismount, added: “I was afraid of Alcazar so I asked him to quicken and it’s very unusual for a stayer to respond so quickly and I found myself there too early.

“This horse hasn’t stopped surprising people and he’s become a household name. He doesn’t know how to run a bad race and he’s always there for you.

“He’s come from the bottom of the handicap to be a Group Two winner and he’s picked up numerous good races on the way. He just seems to get better and better.”

John Best’s Rising Cross did not quite hit it off on her trip to America but back on home soil she proved she is a classy filly with a game success in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Park Hill Stakes.

She was stepping up to just short of a mile and six furlongs for the first time in this Group Two contest and saw out the trip in great style.

Staying on courageously, the 16-1 complete outsider got the better of Anna Pavlova, who had appeared to come to win her race a furlong out, in the last 100 yards to score by three-quarters of a length.

Allegretto was a further one and a quarter lengths away in third.

Wi Dud ran out the convincing winner of the Persimmon Homes Flying Childers Stakes at York to give local trainer Kevin Ryan a welcome Group-race success.

Ryan, who trains just a few miles up the A19 at Hambleton, has had several near misses in big races this season, notably with Wi Dud himself, who was beaten in close finishes to the Molecomb and Gimcrack Stakes.

But the youngster’s luck changed in this £70,000 Group Two contest when he swept through under Neil Callan to lead just over a furlong out.

The 11-4 favourite soon stamped his authority on the race and running on strongly he won by a length and a half from Bahama Mama with Hoh Mike a neck back in third.

FRankie Dettori had been on the mark earlier when Sunday Symphony continued Godolphin’s fine run of success with a runaway victory in the Ladbrokes Mallard Stakes.

Dettori asked his mount to quicken approaching the final three furlongs and the race was settled in a matter of strides, the four-year-old soon bursting clear and going away to beat Zurbaran by five lengths.

Mudawin, who had won the Ebor over the course and distance at 100-1 last month, was two and a half lengths further away in third.



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