GBI RACING

Mission accomplished in valuable York handicap

Recon Mission made every yard of the running

Recon Mission made every yard of the running to land the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap at York for Tony Carroll and Robert Winston.

Trained by Michael O’Callaghan in Ireland as a juvenile, he had gone well at Chester before running in the Dash on Derby day at Epsom last time out.

Once Winston bounced him into an early lead the Kodiac colt always looked comfortable, showing he is fully capable at five and six furlongs.

Having nicked two lengths with more than a furlong to run, it was a matter of if his stamina would hold out, as the favourite Victory Day charged out of the pack under Jamie Spencer.

Recon Mission (20-1) was not for passing, though, and held on by a head with Magical Wish third and Cosmic Law fourth.

“He likes it out in front if he can, he’s a nice horse, very talented,” said Carroll, who was recording his biggest success in Britain since winning the Dash with Caspian Prince in 2014.

“He’s got a lot of speed, as he showed in the Dash, so we were confident he could get to the front, he was unlucky in that against older horses.

“We could look at a Listed race, but ground is important – he needs cut. We could go to France or Ireland.

“We’re having a great time at the minute and we’ve one or two nice horses. He’s actually in the Wokingham, but it would be a bit tough on him to go again so soon against older horses – this was his race, in his own age.

“The Ayr Gold Cup might be for him later on.”

Many punters at York will have followed David O’Meara’s Firmament off the proverbial cliff in recent seasons, given how he always appeared an unlucky loser, but he rewarded those who kept the faith at 14-1 in the JCB Handicap.

Ridden by James Doyle, who a few hours earlier had the good news that two of his Royal Ascot big guns, Masar and Sea Of Class, were to be kept apart, he burst clear of a competitive field to win by a length and three-quarters.

“The lads (owners) love winning at York and he always runs well here,” said O’Meara.

“He spent a few years running off top weight in heritage handicaps. Even the year Lord Glitters (stablemate) won the Balmoral (on Champions Day) this lad was giving him weight.

“That sort of broke his heart a little bit. He’s had a couple of quiet years, but it’s nice to come back here and win one.”

On a difficult day for punters, there was a 20-1 winner of the Reg Griffin Appreciation EBFstallions.com Maiden Stakes, although on paper Magical Max could have been an even bigger price.

With several big yards represented, the 6,000 guineas purchase from Mark Walford’s yard was not an obvious winner.

He came down the outside under Andrew Mullen to triumph by half a length.

“It’s not totally unexpected because we liked him at home, but he’s only had one gallop on grass and we weren’t expecting to win,” said Walford.

“It was a really nice performance and Andrew thinks he’s a really nice horse.”

He added: “He’s the only horse I’ve ever entered for a big race, I put him in the Tattersalls Sales race back in February because I liked him even then and he’ll have a light weight because he only cost six grand.”

Barely a York meeting passes without an Easterby winner and this time it was the turn of the Tim Easterby-trained Poet’s Dawn (15-2) who sat in second throughout before kicking clear under David Allan to win the Ice Co Supporting Macmillan Handicap.

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