Sardinia Sunset made it third time lucky with a Listed success in the EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes at York.
Runner-up on her racecourse debut at Newmarket in early June, Roger Varian’s youngster was last seen finishing fourth behind American challenger Campanelle in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
With that form boosted by the subsequent success of the third, Caroline Dale, Sardinia Sunset was the 10-11 favourite to open her account – and while odds-on backers might have been sweating at halfway, she knuckled down well in the rain-softened ground to prevail by a length from Furlong Factor.
Winning jockey Jason Watson said: “She hit a bit of flat spot halfway through the race, but she’s got a good attitude and toughed it out.
“She kind of went from struggling to quickening, and all of sudden she was bang there in front – I probably got there a bit sooner than I would have liked in the end.
“She’s still green, because it’s only her third run, (but) I think this track has suited her. She could potentially get six furlongs, as she relaxed quite well there today.”
Mr Carpenter was a shock 100-1 winner of the New Sporting Life App Handicap for trainer Tim Easterby and jockey Cam Hardie.
The son of Mastercraftsman was making his first start for the Malton maestro, having changed hands for 15,000 guineas last October following five starts for David Lanigan.
Tackling a mile and a half for the first time, Mr Carpenter travelled smoothly into contention and held Sweet Celebration at bay by a neck, with hot favourite Fox Vardy a close-up third.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me – I thought he was a very nice horse,” said Easterby.
“He’d worked nicely. I didn’t even look to see what price he was – I should have had £20 on him!
“We thought he wanted a bit of juice in the ground. He travelled lovely, and I’m not shocked that he ran well.”
Social-distancing measures meant veteran part-owner Brian Valentine had to watch his winner come in from the steps adjacent to the parade ring.
But he said: “I don’t mind a winner here anywhere, crowd or no crowd. I’ve had one winner here before.
“I’m still shocked, to be honest – it’s my biggest surprise in racing in 40 years.”
Another leading Yorkshire-based trainer Kevin Ryan claimed the first race of the new season on the Knavesmire, with Black Caspian landing the opening Sky Vegas Handicap under Kevin Stott.
Fourth on his seasonal reappearance and handicap debut at Doncaster last month, the 14-1 shot raised his game in first-time cheek-pieces to score by a neck from Entrancing.
Ryan said: “It was a good performance. Last year he was just a bit of a big baby – even today he was on and off the bridle.
“He was tough, and I’d say he’ll learn an awful lot from that run today again. He’s the type of horse who’ll be a work in progress.
“It’s wonderful to be back at York.”
Simon and Ed Crisford’s 15-8 favourite Cape Cavalli impressed in division one of the Sky Bet Safer Gambling Handicap, with James Doyle doing the steering