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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Hard-working Morris nearly stars again in final-day feature

Flymetothestars (right) just comes off second best in Europe's richest Flat handicap
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As requests from racecourse officials go, it was probably one of the more misjudged you are likely to hear.

"Excuse me gentlemen, would you mind getting off the track and walking on the path inside?"

"That would rather defeat the object!" came the reply to the well-meaning security officer, who wasn't to know that a large six-figure sum was at stake.

Luke Morris was just entering the home straight, having walked the whole course in the heat of the early afternoon in a bid to check that conditions were safe for Betfred Ebor favourite Flymetothestars.

That's part of the job for a jockey – even one who has just ridden their first British Group 1 winner.

There was no time for Morris to celebrate Friday's Nunthorpe victory as evening racing at Salisbury beckoned. And Sunday means an afternoon at Yarmouth – the racecourse, not the pleasure beach.

In between it is the small matter of Europe's richest Flat handicap and the crucial decision over Flymetothestars, a four-year-old who has had training 'issues' and is unraced previously on turf.

There was no alternative but to pace every yard of the near two-mile circuit with trainer Sir Mark Prescott's assistant William Butler – no time to bask in glory in the weighing room or on front of the TV cameras.    

But hard work is supposed to be its own reward. None strive harder than Morris and getting the inside track – literally – very nearly paid off spectacularly after Flymetothestars was given the all clear to take part.

Morris stuck to the inside rail, riding a perfectly judged waiting race, and hit the front approaching the final furlong.

Being beaten just a head by the vastly more experienced Nakeeta was no cause for dismay over a four-year-old having just the sixth race of his life – nor was the £53,124 second prize to be sniffed at.

"He lobbed round and got a lovely run round, he just met one better on the day," Morris reflected.

Luke Morris: "He just met one better on the day"

"He hit the front inside the furlong and kept grinding but the winner's a battle-hardened horse."

"Flymetothestars is high quality," added Butler. "He wouldn't stay a Cesarewitch trip so this was probably his last handicap. We're probably looking at having to go up in grade now."

Betfred Ebor Handicap result and analysis  

None strive harder than Morris and getting the inside track – literally – very nearly paid off spectacularly
E.W. Terms
Sky bet