Swiss Cross brings up the hundred in winning style
It's rare for a horse joining racing's '100 Club' to celebrate with a win but Swiss Cross did so in style, bolting up by two and a half lengths from a depleted field in the 0-65 6f handicap.
He was the fifth horse to reach three figures for trainer Phil McEntee but the first to score on the big day, and his success went down a storm with owner Steve Jakes, who was entertaining 20 or so friends and family in the box adjacent to the press room.
Jakes bought Swiss Cross with loftier ambitions than this, but he has no complaints at all and is clearly devoted to the nine-year-old.
A self-made man whose business is large scale property maintenance said: "I bought him from Gerard Butler and Alan Spence with the idea of going to Dubai, but needless to say that didn't work out. He's proved a cheap buy for what he is and has taken us to all the big tracks like Epsom, Newmarket and Goodwood.
"We were thinking about retiring him, but we took him to Jersey and he did his stuff there, and since then nothing has been able to live with him at home. He'll run here again on Saturday over seven furlongs with a penalty. The idea then will be to take him back to Laytown next year."
The Alan Spence colours were in the winner's enclosure when Mark Johnston's progressive Beardwood followed up his recent Redcar win by collaring Ready at the end of a fiercely run 1m2f handicap. George Baker took the ride this time, as Joe Fanning has taken a few days off after getting married at the weekend.
Baker, who has come in for a few Johnston rides lately, said: "Beardwood is very straightforward. He got a nice position, travelled easily and tried hard. It was a good performance off his highest mark."
Al Khan failed to meet his reserve for the second year running when Jimmy Chua sent him to Tattersalls last month, but there was quick compensation when the seven-year-old came from an impossible looking position in the claimer to reel in Exchequer by a head.
Chua, who backed the runner-up as well as his own horse, said: "I was only offered £5,000 so I thought I might as well keep him. There are lots of races for him on the all-weather and we can have some fun."
Malune again at last
Luca Cumani's apprentice Gabriele Malune won on his first ride in public last autumn but had to wait until newcomer Manangatang popped up at 20-1 in the first division of the maiden for a second.
The winner was last turning in but got up right on the line. Malune said: "The boss has kept giving me chances for experience and I'm staying for the winter to try to get more experience before next year."
Thought for the day
No shortage of excitement with the winning margin in seven of the eight races being half a length or less.