Moss Gill puts down marker for sprinting honours
Middleham trainer James Bethell has a smart sprinter on his hands given the way Moss Gill claimed victory in the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes at York.
While the winning distance was only a short head over Al Raya, Moss Gill travelled through like much the best in the Listed contender.
Sixth on his reappearance this season behind the now-retired Far Above, he was reportedly unsuited by the track at Newmarket on that occasion.
As expected, the pace was frenetic up front and when even El Astronaute cannot lead it is a sign they are going lickety-split.
It was Michael Dods’ hitherto progressive Que Amoro taking them along, showing blistering speed – but she acted as the perfect foil for Moss Gill (6-1), who Danny Tudhope had just in the slipstream of the leaders.
When he brought his mount out to challenge inside the final furlong Moss Gill quickened clear, although Que Amoro began to rally and Al Raya was charging from the rear. Moss Gill ultimately clung on by a short head, with a neck back to Que Amoro who is not one to give up on yet.
It was a first Listed win for Bethell since Mine won the John of Gaunt Stakes in 2007.
His son, Ed, said: “We’ve always thought a bit of him and I’m delighted he pulled it off today.
“We were a little disappointed at Newmarket, but he didn’t come down the hill well. He obviously likes it here.
“Whether he’s back for the Nunthorpe is a good question – I’d probably prefer to take him through the grades, but you never say never.”
He added: “We’re over the moon as we’ve had a frustrating run of seconds and this horse means a lot to us as we’ve got his half-brother, Ulshaw Bridge.
“Danny said he’s got one burst and if he could ride it again he’d have held on to him a bit longer.”