Ripon is a course that lends itself to front runners and Stormin Tom advertised that fact again when winning at the North Yorkshire venue for the fourth time in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Handicap.
Whether or not it is the bumps and ridges that make it hard for those in behind to make up ground, which can never really be proven, there is certainly something in backing those who like to get on with things.
Tim Easterby’s Stormin Tom was successful in the same race last year from a 10lb lower mark and proved he remains on an upward curve and in the form of his life under Rachel Richardson.
The 100-30 favourite never looked in any trouble and beat Chebsey Beau by two lengths.
“He just tries so hard for you and that obviously helps,” said Richardson.
“He was pricking his ears at halfway so I think he must have been giving himself a breather.”
Assistant trainer William Easterby added: “He was second last time to a three-year-old giving him 11lb so against older horses today he found it easier.
“It might be harder for him after today.”
William Haggas notched up his 50th winner at Ripon when Restive Spirit (2-1), who broke his maiden at the track last month, battled on gamely to win the Ripon Annual Badgeholders Handicap.
Not disgraced at Glorious Goodwood in the meantime, the three-year-old improved Haggas’ record at the track, with the Newmarket-based Yorkshireman operating at a strike-rate of over 45 per cent in the last five years.
Ben Curtis was on board Restive Spirit and it was the second leg of a treble for the in-form jockey, who had earlier won on David O’Meara’s Beryl The Petal (2-1 favourite) in the mintbet.com Sports And Casino Fillies’ Novice Auction Stakes .
“She had the form in the book from better races and the softer ground was a big help today,” said Curtis.
“She jumped, travelled and it was just a matter of when I pulled out to make my challenge. It was all pretty straightforward.”
Curtis completed his treble in last-gasp style on Grant Tuer’s Roundhead (7-2), who nailed Breathable on the line in the Bondgate Green Handicap.
O’Meara completed a double of his own when Vigee Le Brun (12-1) opened her account at the 18th time of asking under Patrick Vaughan.
Mrs Hoo justified 5-4 favouritism in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Novice Auction Stakes for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan.
The Lawman filly needed every yard of the mile to get on top but looks likely to improve the further she goes.
“I think she had a bit left, she’s got a nice attitude and really wanted to win,” said Hanagan.
“I wanted to make the running really but I was happy to take a lead rather than get into a battle up front. She gave me the impression she’ll stay further.”