Jason Watson showed why trainer Roger Charlton was keen to secure his services after riding his first winner for the yard aboard Forbidden Planet in the Matchbook Betting Podcast Rosebery Handicap at Kempton.
Last year’s champion apprentice celebrated his first winner of 2019, at the track where he sustained two hairline neck fractures in January, when galvanising the son of Pivotal to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory in the feature event.
Watson said: “This horse has improved dramatically since he moved to Mr Charlton and hopefully he can keep on progressing. I’m delighted to get my first winner for the yard and for 2019. I’m all good and you would never know it (injury) happened.”
The Beckhampton handler was equally delighted to register what he hopes will be the first of many winners for the pair this season.
Charlton said: “I’m really pleased for Jason as that is his first winner for me and of the year, and it is not a bad race to do it in.
“We are set up, I hope, to have a very good season with him. I need to convince and make sure the owners are on board as a lot don’t know him well, but I think he is talented.”
Of the 4-1 winner, he added: “It will be interesting to see what he is rated on the turf as he has really only raced on the all-weather, but as a son of Pivotal, as long as the ground is not too firm it should suit.”
Mootasadir (4-1) enhanced his claims of an end-of-season shot at the LMelbourne Cup when maintaining his unbeaten record on the all-weather in the Listed Matchbook Magnolia Stakes, forming the first leg of a double for Ben Curtis.
George Boughey, assistant to trainer Hugo Palmer, said: “Dropping back in trip (to a mile and a quarter) was a bit of question, but that is the last time he can run on the all-weather before the September Stakes at this sort of grade.
“We took our chance and races like the John Porter have to be the next possibility. He has already won a Group Three, but he has still got question marks to answer on the turf. It (Melbourne Cup) has certainly been talked about, but we will get him back on turf first.”
The Archie Watson-trained Probability (8-1) completed Curtis’ brace when taking the Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap.
John Gosden may have been out of luck with odds-on chance Sucellus, but Qipco 2000 Guineas entry Daarik (6-5 favourite) struck for the champion trainer when getting up by three-quarters of a length in the Will Unwin Half Century Novice Stakes.
Winning jockey Dane O’Neill said: “He was very good. It turned into a bit of a sprint. He hit a bit of a flat spot at Newcastle and he was liable to do that again.
“I thought he quickened well in the last furlong and a half and he rattled home.”
Having watched Living Legend (5-1) on the gallops 24 hours earlier, owners Barbara and Alick Richmond were on hand to welcome the Mark Johnston-trained son of Camelot back into the winner’s enclosure after he landed Matchbook Betting Exchange EBF Novice Stakes from Sucellus.
Barbara Richmond said: “We thought it would be a tough race, but he has done it really well. We were on the gallops with him yesterday morning and he looked well. He is a big baby and has got a lot of developing to do.”