Dakota Gold got favourite-backers off to a flying start at this year’s Ebor Festival at York as he completed his hat-trick in the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap.
A winner over the course and distance in late July, the Michael Dods-trained sprinter followed up with a dominant display in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on Saturday.
Turning out just four days later under a 5lb penalty, the son of Equiano was the 4-1 market leader in the hands of Connor Beasley and having forced the pace for much of the five-and-a-half-furlong contest, he found plenty for pressure to see off Marnie James by three-quarters of a length.
Arecibo and Makanah were just a short head and a neck further away in third and fourth respectively.
Dods said: “He’s in the form of his life – to come out and do what he’s done in the last five weeks is unbelievable.
“He’s improving big time and he’s run another super race there. The ground is quick enough for him – he’s better on soft.”
The winner was cut to 10-1 for the Ayr Gold Cup on September 21 by both Betfair and Paddy Power.
“We’re going for the Ayr Gold Cup, that was the plan,” the trainer added.
Eddystone Rock (8-1) followed up his recent win at Ascot with a narrow success in the Sky Bet Handicap.
The seven-year-old landed the Shergar Cup Stayers earlier in the month and needed every inch of the two-mile trip on the Knavesmire to reel in Rare Groove by a neck.
Winning trainer John Best said: “I thought we were in a bit of trouble there with a fair bit to catch up, but he’s been a great horse for us.
“He will almost certainly go for the Cesarewitch. We’ll take our chance and we are hoping he will stay the extra two furlongs.”
Owney Madden (20-1) put a disappointing performance last time out behind him with a gutsy victory in the Sky Bet Nursery.
The Martyn Meade-trained two-year-old finished down the field when failing to handle Goodwood’s undulating track, but he found plenty under Rob Hornby in this six-furlong contest to get up on the line by a neck.
Troubadour finished a respectable second with Rose Of Kildare a narrow third.
“He was really game. I loved it,” Meade said.
“He disappointed last time, but the best thing about that was he learnt a lot.
“Today he galloped and galloped. He wasn’t going to be beaten.”