15 May 2024

Crystal delights after charging to Jorvik triumph

15 May 2024

A return to York in August is likely to be top of the agenda for Crystal Delight after he benefited from a fine front-running ride from Jim Crowley in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Stakes.

With the winner guaranteed a spot in the £500,000 Ebor later in the summer, competition is always hot in the mile-and-a-half contest, but Crowley dominated it from pillar to post.

Raised 9lb after an easy win at Epsom under similar tactics, he has taken his form to a new level since joining Harry Eustace from the retired William Jarvis.

Sent off the 18-5 favourite, Crowley was handed an easy time on the front end and while Kihavah did his best to chase him down in the straight, Crystal Delight was not for catching and had pulled four and three-quarter lengths clear by the time he passed the line.

Another hefty rise from the handicapper surely awaits, but the five-year-old is clearly on the crest of a wave.

Eustace said: “If you’d envisaged a way for the race to be run that was it and I thought the draw (stall 10) was a help as it gives you the space and the time to go where you want. Once he got the lead, he just got into a lovely rhythm and he’s all about rhythm this horse.

“At the start of the year I thought a mile and six would be within his remit and the Ebor is certainly on the radar. It’ll be hard, but I’d love to give it a try and I think it’ll be the plan.

“I don’t know (about Royal Ascot), ridden that way is how he really enjoys it and I’m not sure Ascot would suit. We’ll work back from the Ebor probably, rather than Ascot.

“William kindly gave us the nod, he told us all about the horse and that’s helped in his training and we bear the fruits of it today, I suppose.”

Aleezdancer provided trainer Kevin Ryan with back-to-back victories in the Churchill Tyres Handicap.

Successful 12 months ago with Bielsa, the Hambleton handler this year fired a twin assault, with 14-1 shot Aleezdancer joined by stablemate Magical Spirit, a recent winner at Doncaster.

Popular veteran sprinter Dakota Gold looked as though he may secure a seventh course win after striking the front, but Aleezdancer finished the stronger to prevail by a length and a half.

Jack Berry jointly owns the sprinter with John Matthews and not surprisingly suggested where he would like him to run in September.

Ryan said: “To be honest I wasn’t sure if we’d run on the ground but I thought it would be safe and it turns out it’s on the slow side of good.

“We put some blinkers on as he’s been around a while and he’s starting to get a bit cute but he’s very genuine.

“Neil said he was actually lazy in the first furlong but he gave him a reminder and he came good. After that he travelled lovely and they went so quick they were never going to keep going. I was confident from a furlong out.

“I worked for Jack for a pittance for years so it’s nice he’s involved!”

He could go for the Stewards' Cup...but to be honest as long as he ends up at Ayr I'm not bothered where he goes

Berry said: “We’ve had winners at York before. We won the seller one year and Mick Easterby was interested in buying it but he was terrified to bid!

“He could go for the Stewards’ Cup, he was unlucky in it last year but to be honest as long as he ends up at Ayr, I’m not bothered where he goes.”

There was a sad postscript to the race as Mick Appleby’s Hispanic suffered a severe leg injury in the early stages and had to be euthanised.

Diligent Resdev lunged late to claim a last-gasp victory in the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap.

Ziggy’s Condor looked home for all money after taking a couple of lengths out of the field, but he was unable to resist the late charge of Mick and David Easterby’s 40-1 shot Diligent Resdev, with a short head separating the pair where it mattered.

Winning rider Joanna Mason said: “It means a lot to get a winner at the first meeting of the year at York for my granddad and uncle at our local track.

“Things are going really well for me at the minute but I couldn’t tell you why! It’s the horses that are in good form, I’m just doing the steering. I’m just thankful to everyone.

“I didn’t think I was going to get there to be honest, I thought they’d gone quick but he tried his heart out and got up on the line. He’s so straightforward and chilled out for his third run.”

There was a racecourse whisper before the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes that Richard Fahey’s Shadow Army was above average and it proved spot on – but only narrowly.

The 9-2 joint-favourite hit the front inside the final furlong and looked to have it sewn up only for Francisco’s Piece to throw down a strong challenge that only failed by a short head.

Fahey said: “He’s a pretty smart horse. I know he made hard work of it but I always find the better ones get beat!

“He’ll improve a tonne. Put it this way, if he’d have fallen out of the back of the TV, we’d have been in trouble.

“He’s a gent of a horse, he does everything easily and we haven’t really got to him yet. I’m definitely thinking of Ascot but I’d love to get another run into him.

“I wouldn’t be afraid to go six furlongs but I was quite happy to run him over five as well.”

Dancing In Paris (9-2 favourite) was a cosy winner of the concluding Stuey Weston & Friends Getting Out Handicap.

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