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Hock, skip and jump - bargain Burke newcomer makes perfect start

Karl Burke: "In his last couple of pieces of work he's just started to show us something"
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Racing is not a beauty contest. The odd physical blemish should not put buyers off as cheaply bought Taj Alriyadh showed by belying his purchase price with an impressive debut win.

Breeders Tally-Ho Stud sold him for just £19,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sales at Newmarket last month, which was a veritable bargain for a two-year-old by last year's champion first-crop sire Mehmas, whose 2021 stud fee is £25,000.

Read more about super sire Mehmas:

Mehmas enters the record books with 38th European first-crop winner

Mehmas in demand at Goffs as son of record-breaking sire brings €75,000

The colt certainly looked money well spent as he made a fine start to racing in the 5f novice event, in which he took the lead a furlong out under Clifford Lee and powered clear to win by four lengths.

"He wasn't that expensive and he has a nasty hock behind, but apart from that he's perfect," said trainer Karl Burke. "Tally-Ho said the hock was no issue but cosmetically I suppose it put a lot of people off. 

"Those Mehmas' are great horses, they're tough. In his last couple of pieces of work he's just started to show us something. I thought the track or fitness might find him out today but he did it well."

Taj Alriyadh, Burke's 13th individual two-year-old winner of 2021, was the first horse he has trained for owner Faihan Faisal Almandeel.

"They are new owners from Saudi Arabia," said the trainer, who also took the median auction with the Lee-ridden Entwistle. "Mick Donohoe from BBA Ireland recommended they come to us so I'm very happy with that."

Improvised on the up 

Improvised continued to make up for lost time with a comfortable victory in the 6f novice event.

The David O'Meara-trained three-year-old only started her career in the last week of May but she is now two from three with more improvement likely to come.

Danny Tudhope: rode Improvised for Clipper Logistics

"She's going the right way," said Danny Tudhope, who rode the winner for Clipper Logistics. "She's a big, backward filly and that's why she's late coming out.

"She's got a good attitude and she's only going to get better when she steps up in trip."

Tudhope was also on board Muntadab as he recorded his 14th career win – and second in six days – in the 7f handicap. "He's a star and he's in great form," the jockey said.

Charity horse's debut

Rainbow Applause, the filly who has been a money-spinner for charities associated with the NHS, finished eighth on her debut in the median auction maiden. 

The three-year-old's trainer Rebecca Menzies said: "She's taken a bit of time, she's grown and she's still quite green. She's blind in one eye so it's a long learning process for her.

Ben Robinson in Rainbow Applause's distinctive silks

"She's getting there and we've raised over £25,000 now. There are over 250 share-owners at £50 for the year. Any prize-money she wins we'll be donating and all the costs have been sponsored."

Barton gets off the mark

Violet Barton rode her first winners under rules when she partnered well-backed Dream Point to victory in the closing amateur jockeys' handicap.

On what was just her fourth ride, Barton eased the 9-4 favourite from last to first in the 14-runner field to win by a cosy three-quarters of a length over Winfola.

Advance bookings only

This was the last meeting at Catterick before coronavirus restrictions on crowds end. The next fixture is on Wednesday.

Chief executive Fiona Needham said: "We're going to ease everyone back in gently and it will be advance bookings only next Wednesday. There will be no cash on the gate, we'll start that again in August."  

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He wasn't that expensive and he has a nasty hock behind, but apart from that he's perfect
E.W. Terms