Adam McNamara celebrated a breakthrough Group-race winner after Mighty Gurkha returned to winning ways with a tenacious front-running success in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.
The 23-year-old, who was formerly based with Roger Charlton and Richard Fahey, had to be at his strongest to steer the Archie Watson-trained son of Sepoy to his first victory since his impressive debut success at Lingfield in the Group Three prize.
Despite being pressed on all sides late on in the six-furlong contest the 11-2 shot stuck to the task well and clung on to defeat Cloudbridge by a nose, with favourite Mystery Smiles a further length back in third.
McNamara said: “He wasn’t doing a stroke all the way round. I got to the lead very easy.
“He was travelling in his comfort zone and when I picked him up he was just having a good look around lugging left and right. I always thought I was holding him (Cloudbridge) off.
“He has loads of ability and he has been a bit of character, but he seems like he has grown up a bit now. It is onwards and upwards. He will win plenty more big ones, I think.”
McNamara, who claimed the 2016 Ebor aboard Heartbreak City, paid thanks to the support he has received from Lambourn handler for Watson.
He added: “It means everything to get a Group winner. It has been a long three or four years since I had a big one and they are few and far between. I’ve been with Archie for about a year now. I owe him a lot for sticking by me and giving me the chance.
“Archie has been really good to me and he has a lot of good horses. He has put a lot of faith in me from day one and there are not many people who give you these opportunities.
“I’m just glad I could take it and pay him back.”
Dingle (13-8) appeared to benefit from the step up to a mile when getting the better of Recover Run by half a length in the Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Bonus Nursery Handicap, initiating doubles for trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Pat Dobbs.
The Marlborough handler said: “It looked like he thought about it a bit, but he has always been a horse we thought a lot of.
“He had been to Kempton and done an impressive bit of work and it looked like a competitive nursery.
“He ran a very good race last time in the Convivial maiden at York, but he is quite a big horse and is one for next year. He will get further and we could look at a nice nursery or something like the Zetland.”
What An Angel (6-1) completed Hannon’s brace after striking gold by a length and a quarter in opening division of the Try Our New Price Boosts At Unibet Handicap.
Hannon added: “I was delighted to see What An Angel win for The Radley Racing Club, which was set up in 2018, as it was their first winner.
“The horse was purchased at The Broad Appeal charity dinner auction in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It is a wonderful charity that we were happy to support.”
The Owen Burrows-trained Alqifaar (3-1) provided Dobbs with further success when prevailing by two and a quarter lengths in division two of the mile prize.