Tom Marquand started what could be the biggest week of his career in perfect fashion by continuing his scintillating run of form aboard Blackheath in the feature race at Yarmouth.
The 22-year-old, who will make his debut in the Investec Derby on Saturday on the Andrew Balding-trained Khalifa Sat, celebrated his 23rd winner since the resumption of racing earlier this month on the Excelebration gelding in the Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap.
Although committing the 11-4 shot sooner than he wanted to in the seven-furlong prize, Marquand found he had a willing partner in the Ed Walker-trained five-year-old, who stayed on well to defeat Pennywhistle by a length and a quarter.
Marquand said: “He jumped and travelled smoothly, but to be fair I was hoping the race would develop a bit more my side, so I had to go sooner than I wanted.
“He came on for that first run over six at Haydock and today he was pretty dominant.
“He has done that nicely. When I asked him to put the race to bed, he did it pretty willingly.”
Although replaced by Frankie Dettori aboard Walker’s ante-post favourite English King in the Epsom showpiece, the 2015 champion apprentice is looking forward to getting back on Khalifa Sat having steered him to Listed glory at Goodwood last time out.
He said: “After losing the ride on English King, I was hoping to pick something up and Khalifa Sat is a great spare ride. It means I’ve ended up with something of note in the race.
“He has all the attributes you want for a Derby ride. He showed a great attitude at Goodwood the other day and he showed that he stayed the trip. With that being his first run of the year, you would expect him to take a step forward and Andrew’s horses are flying.”
Plenty of top class horses have made winning debuts at the Norfolk track over the years and the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Royal Air Force (5-4) could be another judging by his seven-length victory in the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Novice Stakes.
Ed Crisford said: “He was a little bit green at the start, but he won well. It was the perfect first-time-out race for him with just a few runners in it.
“Ryan (Moore) said he wanted to push him out just to teach him. You have got to be very pleased with that.
“The Superlative at the July Meeting at Newmarket might come a bit quick, but we will get him home and see how he is.”
It may be almost 20 years since John Lowe called it a day, but the former Group One-winning rider came in for plenty of praise from David Egan after the Roger Varian-trained Imperial Yellow claimed the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes by a length and a quarter.
Egan said of the 11-8 winner: “He jumped very slowly at Newmarket, but it was a nice educational run first time out and he ran on and hit the line strongly.
“He was much more professional today and he has done it nicely. I was happy I was able to get a lead off Tom (Marquand) all the way up the straight.
“Fair play to John Lowe who rides him every day, as he said he was spot on.”
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained Alphabetical (2-7) continued his recent winning spree by completing a hat-trick of victories in the space of the month with a length-and-a-half success in the Visit attheraces.com Handicap.
William Butler, assistant trainer, said: “He has led the last two times and whether he is better being held up I’m not sure, but he is just an out-and-out stayer.
“In small fields like that when you are a 2-7 chance, you just have to do what you think is safest.”