Ornate blazes the trail in Dash for glory at Epsom

‘He has got so much speed, but I didn’t expect him to be tanking along that quick’

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Ornate made virtually every yard of the running to claim a surprise victory in the Investec ‘Dash’ Handicap at Epsom.

Having been in good form on the all-weather during the winter, the David Griffiths-trained six-year-old made a winning return to turf action at Newmarket in April.

However, having since finished out of the places in the Palace House at Newmarket and the Duke of York Stakes, Ornate was a largely unconsidered 33-1 shot for what is traditionally one of the most competitive sprint handicaps of the year – but he belied his odds with a tremendous display.

A fast start enabled jockey Phil Dennis to navigate his mount from his low draw to the centre of the track and he was soon leading the chasing pack at a furious pace.

Several rivals threw down challenges deep inside the last of five furlongs, but Ornate was not for passing and had enough in hand to hold the runner-up Dark Shot at bay.

Blue De Vega was third ahead of Eeh Bah Gum in fourth.

Griffiths said: “I’m delighted. We probably fancied Duke Of Firenze (seventh) a little bit more because of the draw, as he was drawn on the stands-side rail, which is the place you want to be, and we were right on the other side with Ornate.

“I thought he was seriously well handicapped of 99. He has got so much speed, but I didn’t expect him to be tanking along that quick as it is a quick five furlongs here.

“I’m chuffed to bits. The guys paid a lot of money for him at the back-end of the year before and he missed last year as he was wrong. We got him back right, but it has just been little steps.

“He won at Southwell a couple of times, then he won at Newmarket. We ran him in the Duke of York and I think in time he will be a Group horse, but it was a fact-finding mission in that if he didn’t finish in the first four we would go handicapping off 99.

“He ran OK in the Duke of York and Palace House, but I think that is more for next year. The ability is definitely there and he is seriously quick.

“There are more opportunities over six, but if we try to settle him at six you will take away that natural speed he has got.”

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