Oisin Murphy continued his fine form as he rode Dancing Star to a hard-fought success in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster.
Andrew Balding’s five-year-old, back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the 2016 Stewards’ Cup, got the better of a duel with Eirene to prevail by three-quarters of a length. All Out was a further length-and-three-quarters back in third.
Pepita led the far-side group for much of the seven-furlong Group Three contest, the opening race on day three of the St Leger meeting on Town Moor, before Dancing Star and Dean Ivory’s runner-up eyeballed each other.
Murphy’s mount, a 7-2 shot, quickened up best to finish with a little in hand on the line.
“Winning Group races is important for these fillies, and at least she’s got one now,” said Murphy.
“She’s very tough and has plenty of talent.
“Andrew said I could make the running if needs be, but I wanted to give her something to aim at.”
Ivory said of the runner-up: “I’m very, very pleased with the filly today. She’s bounced back to the way she was at the beginning of the year.
“Definitely the softish ground helped.
“Now if we hit a bit of form we’ll think of going abroad, where the soft ground is.”
Just In Time (12-1) lived up to his name in the William Hill Mallard Handicap when denying the game Austrian School in the dying strides.
Alan King’s four-year-old was an easy winner at Goodwood last time out, but was expected to find things tougher upped in class.
Martin Harley delivered him late down the outside and Austrian School had to make do with a place once again.
“I didn’t want to get there too soon, but I didn’t plan on leaving it that late,” said Harley.
“Alan has been good to me so it’s nice to ride him a big winner.”
Owner Henry Ponsonby said: “I backed him for the Cesarewitch before today and I’d imagine that’s where he’ll go now.
“I bought him for 20,000 euros just after Brexit when nobody wanted to spend any money. Alan’s just bought a relative who topped the sale.
“His big aim will be the Ebor next year.”
Saeed bin Suroor’s Royal Marine (11-2) stepped up markedly on his debut to give Murphy a double in the Gary Reid Memorial British EBF Maiden Stakes.
“He’s gone nicely at home and Saeed was quite confident. I got a nice feel from him there,” said Murphy.
“I wish I could have got more cover as I was drawn right out on the wing. Let’s see what he can do, I like him.
“He’s a big, strong horse and he should improve with time.”
The return to sprinting helped Von Blucher regain the winning thread in the Lakeside Village Outlet Shopper Handicap.
Tried over 10 furlongs on his penultimate outing, the former John Gosden inmate provided Rebecca Menzies and Cam Hardie with a notable winner.
Sent off at 25-1, he beat Normandy Barriere by a short head.
“I knew I was always holding the other one. He probably hit the front and started to idle, but he was always just doing enough,” said Hardie.
“The plan was to be handy, but I soon had to switch to Plan B.”
Ryan Moore enjoyed a profitable afternoon, as victory aboard Ian Williams’ Jack Regan (15-8 favourite) in the concluding Coopers Marquees Classified Stakes completed a treble after wins with Thomas Hobson in the Doncaster Cup and Sangarius in the Flying Scotsman Stakes.