Plans are afoot to name a race at Ripon in honour of Pipers Note after the popular sprinter won at the North Yorkshire track for the eighth time in the Armstrong Memorial Handicap on Monday.
Racing off 5lb higher than when winning at the course three weeks ago, Ruth Carr’s eight-year-old was even more impressive on this occasion.
Normally produced late, he was in front sooner than ideal under Jimmy Sullivan but never looked in any danger and kept up the gallop to beat Sheepscar Lad by three-quarters of a length.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was his rather generous-looking starting price of 5-1 in a seven-runner race.
Sullivan said: “I don’t know why, but he just loves it here.
“I wanted a lead for a lot longer, to be honest, but we were left in front. To be fair to him, he stuck his head out and kept going.
“He’s a very balanced horse, which gives him an advantage over some of the others who don’t handle the ridges as well.
“It will be the Great St Wilfrid next. We were second in it last year, so hopefully we can go one better. He’s still well handicapped on his best form.”
On plans to name a race after him, clerk of the course James Hutchinson said: “We’ll have to look at doing something now, I’ll have a talk to Ruth.
“We named a race after Fossgate and he’d actually only won six here, so we’ll have to sort something out.
“It would be great if he could win our big race on Saturday week.”
There was a blow for winning punters following the victory of Billy Dylan (11-1) in the Visit attheraces.com Handicap, as while David O’Meara’s charge was a clear-cut one-length winner, favourite Harrogate had refused to enter the stalls.
Harrogate was the 6-4 favourite at the time of his withdrawal, leading to a 40p in the pound deduction on all winning bets.
It was the second leg of a double for O’Meara, who teamed up with stable jockey Danny Tudhope to win the seller through Tidal Surge (8-1). There was no bid for the winner.
Simon Crisford’s Eyecatcher (4-6 favourite) opened his account at the eighth time of asking in the ROA/Racing Post Owners’ Jackpot Handicap.
Just 1lb higher then when narrowly beaten at Ripon last time out, Silvestre de Sousa bagged the first leg of a double.
“He had good course form, but he’s still a big baby, his mind is still not on the job, he was rolling around on me,” said De Sousa, who was handed a two-day ban for careless riding, for allowing his mount to drift.
De Sousa then doubled up on Roger Charlton’s Al Kherb (6-4) who remained unbeaten in the one-mile-four Novice Stakes.
Evie Speed provided Jedd O’Keeffe with his first juvenile winner of the season in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
Sent off the 7-4 favourite having not been far behind subsequent Group Three winner Comedy last time out, she showed blistering speed from the stalls and won by three and a quarter lengths.
“We’ve got about a dozen two-year-olds and I’m ashamed to say she’s the first of them to win,” said O’Keeffe.
“It’s nobody’s fault, we don’t really fire them up first time out, but some have gone wrong and what have you.
“That was a great ride by Jack (Garrity), despite being stuck out wide the plan was to grab the rail and he carried it out to perfection.”
The stewards too a different view, however, and gave Garritty a one-day ban for failing to keep to his draw.