William Buick is certainly getting back into the swing of things after a prolonged spell on the sidelines with concussion-related problems and he scored with a double aboard Justanotherbottle and Imperial Empire at Sandown.
Buick made most of the running in the opening Play 4 To Score At Betway Handicap Stakes as 4-1 joint-favourite Justanotherbottle held on to gain a short-head success from the dogged Tinto after a protracted duel.
The Declan Carroll-trained five-year-old was cut to 16-1 from 20-1 with Betfair for the Ayr Gold Cup after taking the five-furlong dash, and joint-owner Martin Tedham expects the gelding to get the extra furlong when he heads to Ayr on September 21.
“We’ll go to Ayr with him – if the ground is right. He needs firm ground. We know that on soft, he’s no good,” said Tedham.
“He’s quick and cleared the field very quickly,” added Buick. “He might have won a little bit easier had I held onto him longer. These five-furlong races, the margins are always small.”
Buick completed his brace, partnering the Charlie Appleby-trained Imperial Empire (5-2 favourite) to a short-head success from Forbidden Land in a thrilling finish to the seven-furlong Betway Nursery Handicap.
Of the Dubawi colt, who had chased home his well-regarded stablemate Al Suhail at Yarmouth last time, Appleby said: “The step up in trip helped him today and going forward as a three-year-old, a mile and a quarter or will be right up his street.
“Whether he will get a mile and half, I don’t know. He is a handicapper who is going the right way, with a bit of luck.”
Buick is never one to go overboard, but he could not hide his delight at gaining a double on a big Saturday card.
He said: “It has been a tough road, but I have had great support, obviously – and I knew that. I was also in the fortunate position, all being well, to come back to some nice horses to ride and that always helps.
“I stayed very focussed when I was off and tried to take the positives out of it, but I am very happy to be back.”
Appleby added: “It’s great to see William back.
“He has missed some big races and a large part of the season, but we have some nice racing coming up and there are some nice two-year-olds to come out, so hopefully he’ll make up for lost time. I’m delighted for him.”
Georgia Dobie gained her 17th career success when driving Hyanna (10-1) past Migration to a neck success in the £28,000 Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Stakes.
The Eve Johnson Houghton-trained four-year-old had been consistent in defeat in several high-class handicaps this season since scoring at Salisbury off a 4lb lower mark in May, and her trainer insisted that the claiming rider made all the difference in this 10-furlong contest.
Johnson Houghton said: “She deserves this. She has been knocking on the door and she’s so tough. Georgia just gave her a lovely ride to win and it is a nice prize to win.
“It is great for the owner, Geoff Vibert. He wasn’t very well last year and doesn’t get out much.
“Georgia is very good and well worth her 7lb and that made all the difference.
“Whether we go for a Listed race, which would make her more valuable for the mare sales, or whether we keep racing her – because she is a jolly good race-mare – I don’t know yet.”
Siglo Six (14-1) bounced back from a disappointing run at Newmarket last time, finishing late and fast under Kieran Shoemark to pip Delicate Kiss by half a length and take the Betway Live Casino Handicap Stakes for trainer Hugo Palmer.
Shoemark said: “There was obviously something wrong last time. That was not his true form. Today, it was a messy race early and he got lit up, but he seemed to finish off his race nicely.”