Mull Of Killough and George Baker beat Stipulate and Tom QueallyPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Mull Of Killough powers to Earl of Sefton glory
Report: Newmarket (Rowley Mile), Thursday
Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Earl Of Sefton Stakes (Group 3) 1m1f, 4yo+
THERE aren't many horses who relish racing at Newmarket as much as Mull Of Killough and he landed his second Group 3 at the track at the age of seven, giving 3lb and a beating to a classy field.
With Stipulate and last season's Group 2 Dante winner Bonfire among those receiving weight, Mull Of Killough looked up against it, with his trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam particularly fearful of last season's Andrew Balding-trained Derby second favourite.
Before the race Chapple-Hyam had said: "Bonfire is going to be hard to beat. He has beaten three of the others (Boom And Bust, Stipulate and Proud Chieftain) but Bonfire is going to be tough."
Yet tough is exactly what Mull Of Killough was, and with Bonfire not quite settling, being the first off the bridle and managing no better than a staying-on third, Stipulate emerged as the main danger.
Indeed entering the final furlong he looked like he was going to add to his Listed win over course and distance last year, but George Baker and Mull Of Killough rallied, and battling gamely all the way to the line, emerged victorious by a length and a half.
"He had been training well but we were a bit concerned about the fast ground but it's not summer-fast," said Chapple-Hyam after the race. "Fingers crossed, we might now get an invite for the Singapore Cup after that but if not we will look at the Group 3 Tradesman's Stakes at Chester."