Royal Ascot-bound Mighty Gurkha continued Hollie Doyle’s hot run of form as he provided the highlight of a Lingfield treble for the record-breaking rider.
Doyle has bagged seven winners since racing resumed on Monday, steering home doubles at Newcastle on Tuesday and Yarmouth on Wednesday before notching her hat-trick at the Surrey venue.
The Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha was a stunning winner on his debut and the Sepoy colt had obviously been doing things right at home as he was sent off at 8-15 for the Betsafe Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Auction Stakes.
Those who took the cramped odds never had an anxious moment, and the race was as good as over when Doyle kicked rounding the bend into the straight, with the pair eventual coming home seven and a half lengths clear of Hot Scoop.
Doyle said: “He’s one of the nicest Sepoys I’ve sat on. He’s a little bit quirky, but there’s plenty of scope for improvement.
“He’ll go to Royal Ascot next, definitely. There’s plenty of scope there, he got the six (furlongs) well and he’s a nice big unit.
“I think he’d stay over six for now.”
Watson and Doyle wasted little time in following up, as 5-2 favourite Igotatext asserted late on to land division two.
The winning rider said: “He was very impressive. He has a mind of his own, he doesn’t do a tap, but he has got ability. It’s just trying to get it out of him.
“He toughed it out well and battled hard in the straight.”
She added: “It’s a good start for the team. It’s very nice to be back here. They’ve done a really good job of things. I’m getting used to it now, everyone is keeping us in line.”
Doyle was then denied a third winner as Kondratiev Wave was headed on the line by Ziggle Pops (22-1) in the Betsafe Racing From Over 40 Countries Handicap, but was not long in gaining compensation as Badayel (4-1 favourite) lifted the Betsafe Extra Place Race Handicap
She said: “It’s been an excellent day. He did that nicely, although I was a bit further back than where I wanted to be. But they went quick and it was a gutsy performance at the end.
“He had been tried over seven so he saw it out well.”
Sean Levey was pleased to get off the mark on the Richard Hannon-trained Ziggle Pops ahead of Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas, in which he rides Mums Tipple for the yard.
He said: “It is nice to get that (first one) off your back going forward, especially as tomorrow is a big day with Mums Tipple. It’s nice to get the win.”
Oisin Murphy also has a 2000 Guineas ride to look forward to in Kameko and while the Joseph Tuite-trained Fortune And Glory is not in that rank, the 4-1 joint-favourite was good enough in the Richard Fahey Ebor Racing Club Handicap
Murphy said: “Joe probably should have one (already), we should have teamed up to win (with Kimifive) at Newmarket on Friday for the same connections, so I’m pleased we got the job done.
“The horse looked outstanding and Joe really knows how to prime one up and he is pretty happy with this one.”
Jovial (13-8 favourite) landed the closing Betsafe Free Bet If 2nd Handicap for Sir Michael Stoute and Louis Steward.
The filly, who is a Dubawi half-sister to Group One-placed Jubiloso, was a half-length victor over Caspian Queen.
Steward said: “She has a great mind and bags of speed, so I don’t think that will be the end of her. I’m sure she’ll win again.
“It’s hard to tell (how far she can go). I think she had a lot of class today and it wasn’t the easiest of trips round because she got knocked around a bit and she had to show real guts to win, which was nice to see, and maybe Ascot will be on her radar. I am not too sure. It is not my decision, but she got the job done today.”
He added: “It is my first ride back so a nice start and hopefully more to come.
“It is difficult, it (wearing a face mask) is obviously something we have to get used to and it’s not easy to ride in, but it is what it is and I’m just glad racing is back.”