Lipizzaner relished the testing conditions to score a convincing victory in the Listed vertem.co.uk Doncaster Stakes at Doncaster.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt, winning for just the second time in seven outings, had already demonstrated his ability to handle soft ground last time out at the Curragh when second in a Group Three. Down in grade, he took full advantage as the rain poured on Town Moor.
Les Eyre’s Just Frank made another bold bid from the front, tactics which came off for him in a valuable sales race at Newmarket last time out, but Lipizzaner (100-30) just had too much class under Ryan Moore and won by a length and a quarter.
The opening Think Smart At Vertem Handicap was won in some style by Mark Johnston’s Tulip Fields.
Unusually for one from the Middleham yard, she had not been seen in action for 88 days – but prior to that, she had shown smart form, including when third in Listed company behind stable companion Subjectivist, who subsequently won at Group Three level.
Having taken a lead from Dash Of Spice into the straight, Franny Norton sent the filly on over a furlong out – and the 9-1 chance pulled two lengths clear, only just getting going crossing the line.
“I couldn’t pull her up – I think the other lads are showered and changed by now,” said Norton, when he finally returned.
“I rode her at Hamilton, and that was a good effort, but it just shows how much she had left – given how far she went (after the post).
“Things have just clicked for her, and she was very good on the day.”
The money came thick and fast for David Barron’s Venturous in the Vertem Very Different Stockbrokers Handicap and those who got the fancy prices will not have had much to worry about.
Available at 16-1 overnight, the seven-year-old went off at 6-1 under Ray Dawson and bolted up, winning by almost five lengths from Abel Handy.
Dawson said: “Mr Barron said if he handled the ground he’d go close and he sure handled the ground.
“I don’t pay any attention to the betting, I just get on and ride them.
“It’s been a good year for me and Doncaster has been a lucky place for me this year.”
Tom Marquand maintained his golden end to the season when William Haggas’ Conservatoire (15-8 favourite) overcame trouble in running to win the Scott Dobson Memorial Nursery Handicap.
Rossa Ryan – who was third aboard Baradar in the feature Vertem Futurity Trophy – gave Ralph Beckett’s Tomfre a patient ride to take the (5-1) Vertem A Fresh Approach Handicap, just 11 days on from winning at Leicester in similar conditions.
Ryan said: “He looked like he thrived on the ground the last day at Leicester and he’s a yard favourite.
“Mr Beckett told me not to take him on, just to let him relax, and luckily they went a lovely gallop.
“I was travelling so well, but it’s taking a lot of getting today so I didn’t want to go too soon. He picked up pretty well.”