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12th April 2023 Nottingham

By Graham Clark

There has been no shortage of future Betfred Derby winners breaking their maiden status at Nottingham and Torito moved a step closer to fulfilling his own entry in the world-famous Classic at Epsom Downs in June with victory at the course on Wednesday.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained Kingman colt struck gold at the second time of asking in the Bet At Novice Stakes over the same course and distance that last year’s Derby winner Desert Crown and 2021 hero Adayar opened their accounts.

Finishing third on his debut at Newbury on his sole start at two, the 1-4 favourite, who had his task made easier following the late withdrawal of chief rival Exoplanet, put his previous experience to good use to defeat debutant Sir Raj by a length and a quarter.

Following his victory in the extended mile prize Torito is 50-1 for the mile and a half Classic on June 3 with Betfred.

Robert Havlin, winning rider, said: “The ground is very hard work. His family have enjoyed that ground, but it is tough for you first run coming back going through that.

“He got left there about two and a half furlongs out which was far enough out for him. The last half a furlong he got tired and he ran a similar race at Newbury. He came there cruising and paddled the last half a furlong.

“Although it didn’t look like he hit the line strong maybe he is one that does want stepping up in trip and riding a bit more patient on better ground.

“He might end up running in another novice, He has two runs under his belt now but both have been on soft ground I’m sure he would be better on better ground.”

Marco Ghiani enjoyed the perfect start in his new role as retained rider to owner Peter Harris after making his first ride in association with the former trainer a winning one aboard Eyetrap in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap.

Signed up by Harris this year to ride his string of runners, which includes Derby entry Blanchland, who will re-appear in next week’s bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket, the 24 year old was all smiles after his three quarters of a length victory on the Ulysses colt.

Harris said: “He couldn’t have done any better. I have a great relationship with Adam Kirby, and still have, but I needed somebody to ride the fillies as well as the colts, and he won some good races as an apprentice.

“I feel at home (being back involved in racing). As for Blanchland, he will run a week today in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. He is in very good form and it was nice to see the form (of his Zetland Stakes second) boosted (by Dear My Friend) at Newcastle.”

After race Jane Chapple-Hyam admitted that the dream of reaching next year’s Melbourne Cup in her native Australia still remains alive, however Harris quickly poured cold water on those ambitions following a rather forgettable experience of the race.

He added: “I once had the second favourite for the Melbourne but the horse got travel sickness on the way and he never ran so I don’t have particularly fond memories of the Melbourne Cup!”

Alice Haynes intends to waste no time in looking for opportunities back at Listed level for Fix You, who revelled in the soft conditions when leaving her rivals toiling in the Racing TV Profits Returned to Racing Handicap.

After finishing fourth in a Listed event at Vichy on her final start last year the Night Of Thunder filly went one better than on her seasonal return at Kempton Park 11 days with a three and a half-length success in the five furlong contest.

Haynes said of the 15-8 winner: “She needed her run first time at Kempton. I thought she would win but the six (furlongs) just caught her out with her being a ring rusty. I thought 77 was a great mark for her and this looked a suitable opportunity.

“The ground really makes the difference as she loves the soft ground. It is just trying to find options now after this.

“There is a race in Ireland (EBF Committed Stakes) that we might go at the end of next week. We are chasing soft ground to get a bit of black type early. She is a lovely filly.

“It is great that she is off the mark as a three year old. She is exciting for the owners (Amo Racing Limited) who are good supporters of our team.”


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