Keystroke hits the right note for Abernant surprise

Keystroke dashed home to spring a surprise in the Abernant Stakes

Keystroke gave Stuart Williams the biggest winner of his career when swooping to spring a 66-1 surprise in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

After making a winning stable debut at Kempton in January, the seven-year-old son of Pivotal had plenty to prove having failed to fire in a Listed contest at Wolverhampton last time out.

Held up off a strong pace, Adam Kirby’s mount made up a rapid amount of late headway in the six-furlong prize before getting up by head to deny Yafta, with Brando – seeking a third straight win in the race – a further neck away in third.

Victory gave Williams his first ever Group Three winner, and he said: “I was very pleased with him. We were coming here an outsider, but he hasn’t done much racing on turf and definitely not much racing over six furlongs.

“He won really well at Kempton when we first ran him on the all-weather in the winter, then things didn’t go right at Wolverhampton and the surface was a bit deep that day.

“I had a word with the owners, said I think he will be as good on the turf and they said to treat him like a decent horse and go for this race.

“He got a little hiccup 10 days ago, he just got a small quarter-crack (in hoof) and the farrier has done a fantastic job to get him here.

“It’s a first Group winner for me on my home track, so it is very pleasing. I think the owners would like to go to Royal Ascot, so we might end up going there.”

Richard Hannon could attempt to gain compensation with Yafta in next month’s Duke of York Stakes at York.

He said: “I’m so gutted for that horse, as he is the biggest gentleman you will meet. We will go to the Duke of York now. He has only been out of the first two once.

“He probably hasn’t seen the horse on his outside. I think there are plenty of Group races in him, and hopefully a Group One.”