Ed Walker hopes he has a Royal Ascot horse on his hands in Great Ambassador who made his stable debut a winning one in the Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Handicap.
Without a victory to his name since landing a novice contest at Chelmsford in 2019, the gelded son of Exceed And Excel set the record straight when making his first start over six furlongs since finishing second over course and distance on his debut a winning one.
Bursting through at the furlong pole the 9-4 shot kept on strongly all the way to the line to defeat Barbill by two and a quarter lengths to initiate a double for jockey Luke Morris.
Walker said: “He had been showing a lot of speed at home so we decided to drop him back to six furlongs and he has done that.
“I was a bit surprised by his edginess here beforehand and at the gates, as he is an absolute bus at home and I could put my three-year-old daughter on him!
“The way he travelled through it I was a little bit nervous he would not have enough speed to pass May Sonic but he has done it well. He looks an exciting addition to the team.
“He is going to be a proper fast ground horse and I would love to try and sneak him into the Wokingham.”
The Lambourn handler was also delighted with the effort of stable stalwart Stormy Antarctic, who finished second on his return in the Ladbrokes Magnolia Stakes.
He added: “It was a great run. John’s horse (Global Giant) had the better track position in a slowly run race. We just wanted him to have a confidence building exercise having lost his way a bit at the end of last season. It looked there though that all his ability and enthusiasm was still there. I know he is a bit long in the tooth but he loves his racing.”
Robbie Downey celebrated his first winner since joining forces with Classic-winning handler Ralph Beckett when steering Biggles to glory by half a length in the Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novice Stakes over six furlongs.
The 24-year-old said: “I tried to keep it simple with him and he hit the front and just looked around a bit and one came at him with a wet sail and that just nudged him forward a little bit.
“The drop back to six furlongs was no issue as he jumped and travelled well. Hopefully, he is a horse that will improve on that.
“I started working for Mr Beckett in January and I’m there for the season so please to God it’s a good one but it’s nice to get a winner on the board for him.”
Nortonthorpe Boy showed no signs of a busy winter catching up with him after securing a fifth success since the turn of the year after completing a double for Group One-winning rider Morris when prevailing by half a length in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side Handicap.
Morris said of the Phil McEntee-trained 14-1 winner: “He is an exceptional little horse though I thought he would be a bit vulnerable to one of the more lightly raced three-year-olds in the race but he just keeps improving. It was not the plan to sit where I was but I just got squeezed out the stalls. That puts him back top of the winning most horse leaderboard in the All-Weather Championships now and I think Phil will be praying that the others close to him don’t go in this week.”