It has been a long time coming, but David Barron finally won a second William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon as Gunmetal blew the opposition away.
Thirsk-based Barron landed the spoils with the Alex Greaves-ridden Premier Touch in 1991 and he had to wait 27 years to win the feature sprint – which is now worth £75,000 – again.
Gunmetal (10-1) won his first two starts for Barron since leaving Charlie Hills but had been well beaten the last twice, in Ireland and the Stewards’ Cup.
His backers could celebrate some way out, though, as Joe Fanning’s mount turned what is usually a competitive handicap into something of a procession, beating Dakota Gold by two and three-quarter lengths.
Barron said: “He’s done it really well in the end.
“He had a bad draw when we took him to Ireland, then at Goodwood he gave himself a bit of a fright coming down the hill, as soon as he levelled out he was fine and ran on well.
“We paid 47,000 guineas for him at the sales and that looks all right now.
“Obviously he’s entered up at Ayr, but he’s better on quicker ground than softer and he’ll be reassessed by the handicapper, so we’ll just have a think.
“He’s getting to the realms of Listed races now, possibly.”
Fanning later doubled up on Mark Johnston’s Dr Richard Kimble in the 12-furlong handicap, giving the trainer his 4,193rd British winner to draw level with Richard Hannon as the most successful handler.
Ayr is now the aim for Quick Look after Mick Easterby’s five-year-old won the consolation race.
The 6-1 joint-favourite had won at York three weeks previously and followed up off a 5lb higher mark under Harrison Shaw, who negated the rise with his claim.
Assistant trainer David Easterby said: “We’re very pleased, we almost didn’t run him as we thought the ground might be too quick.
“We’ve been aiming at Ayr, we were probably looking at the Silver Cup, but he might scrape into the big one now.”
Japanese jockey Yuga Kawada rode his second winner in Britain on Tim Easterby’s Off Piste (9-4) in the CHS Vehicles Novice Auction Stakes.
Kawada came to England through Roger Varian as he rides principally for the trainer’s brother-in-law, Mitsu Nakauchida.
A multiple Group One winner, his skills were evident on a horse Easterby described as tricky.
“He’s not an easy ride by any means, he gave him a lovely time of it,” said Easterby.
“Apparently he rides for Sheikh Fahad (owner) in Japan and he asked me if I had the opportunity, would I put him up. He looks very good.”
Junius Brutus (3-1) was having just his second start for Ralph Beckett since switching from France, but he looked a smart type in winning what appeared a good renewal of the William Hill Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes.
Sixth in the Windsor Castle over five furlongs, he failed to stay seven in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood but quickened up impressively to see off the previously unbeaten Yousini by a length and a half.
Jockey Kevin Stott said: “It was the first time I’d ridden him, but he gave me a lovely feel.
“He’s not big, but travelled nicely and quickened up well. Mr Beckett said he should have a good chance.”
David O’Meara’s Waarif (11-4 favourite) showed his progression is not yet finished with a last-gasp success in the Get Free Tips On attheraces.com Handicap.
Apprentice Conor McGovern was on board and said: “He won the Carlisle Bell off 81 and he’s just won there off 92, so he’s obviously still progressing.
“I’m just pleased Mr O’Meara left me on him.”