McDonald keeps up Royal Ascot momentum with Carlisle Listed strike
PJ McDonald was once again seen to good effect aboard Vetiver in the British Stallion Studs EBF Eternal Stakes at Carlisle.
The northern-based rider broke his Royal Ascot duck in last weekend’s Hardwicke Stakes aboard Pyledriver, having previously guided the top-class performer to win last year’s King George at the Berkshire circuit.
McDonald was back on more familiar territory in Cumbria and jumped on the Andrew Balding-trained 7-2 chance Vetiver in the £50,000 Listed feature, a filly whom he had already won on twice.
Carrying the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, the chestnut daughter of Twilight Son was fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time and after briefly being stuck behind horses, she powered home to get up and beat Dandy Alys by half a length.
McDonald said: “I’ve won on her a couple of times around Beverley, but this was a different ballgame today.
“As you can see she wears a hood and she’s a free-going filly. I got into a nice enough rhythm on her and I was keen not to play my cards too early on the ground because at the end of the day today was all about getting her into the first three and picking up some black type.
“I’ve ended up getting myself into a little bit of a pocket, but to be fair to her she showed some guts to come out of there and stick her head out and gallop out through the line.”
There were jubilant scenes in the winner’s enclosure after Two Brothers (6-1) landed one of the feature handicaps on the card, the Stablemate By Agma Cumberland Plate.
Mick and David Easterby’s inmate had been placed three times since his last triumph and was rewarded for his consistency with a neck verdict over Ravenscraig Castle under Billy Garritty.
“That was very good, we couldn’t have asked for any more,” said Oliver Thompson, who owns the winner along with his brother, Gavin.
“We were optimistic. We’ve had the horse since he was a two-year-old and he didn’t run until he was three. We’ve had a couple of ups and downs, but he’s absolutely awesome!
“This is our first horse. We’re actually related to Mick and he’s found us a good one.”
Clear Angel (7-2) lunged late to lift the Jason Watson 25 Years Carlisle Bell Consolation Handicap.
Making his first appearance since winning at Wetherby in late April, Susan Corbett’s charge benefited from a patient ride from Graham Lee, arriving on the scene late to score by a head from Strongbowe.
Corbett said: “This has been a while in the making as he was a very expensive yearling (€120,000). He kept having issues and we actually bought him online for 1,500 guineas.
“We obviously needed to do some work on him, he had a bone chip and various things. He definitely likes a cut in the ground and we’ve been praying for rain for so long. We’ve had him a few races and either the ground was against us and one day he had an allergy to the shampoo we used!
“It’s been a comedy of errors and the lads that own him have waited a while, but now they’re getting their just desserts which is good. He just seems to be getting better and better.”
The John Quinn-trained Due For Luck (9-1) made a successful start to his career in the Mark Nield Wealth Management Restricted Maiden Stakes, pulling two and a half lengths clear under Jason Hart.
Sean Quinn, assistant to his father, said: “He’s always gone alright at home. We trained the mother (Vanity’s Girl) and she went well at home, but never quite did it on the track.
“I saw him at the yearling sales and he’s a fine beast, as you can see there.
“He’s from a fast family I think he’s quite quick. Jason said he’s still a little bit green, so maybe we’ll just go for a novice with a penalty and teach him.”
Title-chasing Joe Fanning landed the concluding Carlisle Supporting Racing Staff Week Fillies’ Handicap on Charlie Johnston’s 7-1 shot Kitai.
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