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'I thought he was beat!' - Peter Niven posts rare Flat win in a tight finish

Peter Niven saddled his second winner of the Flat season with Hurstwood coming out on top in a photo-finish.
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Peter Niven enjoyed only his second Flat winner of the year as 16-1 shot Hurstwood narrowly edged out the Roger Fell-trained Ustath to score by a nose in a photo-finish.

The 6f handicap demonstrated the track's significant draw bias as the finish was fought out by apprentices Harry Russell and Ben Sanderson on the far side of the course.

Niven, a dual-purpose trainer based in North Yorkshire, has saddled two winners from 21 runners in 2021 – his best tally for four years.

After failing to have a winner on turf in 2020, Niven was understandably pleased with this season’s improved form. “I am delighted. He had a bad draw at Musselburgh last time out and he was over seven furlongs. It absolutely bucketed down with rain that day,” he said.

“Today he had a great draw and a bit of speed in front of him. The drop back to six furlongs and the better ground have definitely helped him.”

Reflecting on the tight nature of the finish Niven said: “I thought he was beat! We only have ten horses in training and I will be concentrating more on the jumpers when we get them back in.”

Beasley at the double

The prolific pair of David Barron and Connor Beasley combined to land the feature 1m2f handicap with Baryshnikov.

The five-year-old, formerly trained by Ed Walker, was running at the course for the first time and made no mistake after being well backed into 11-4 favouritism.

It completed a short-priced double for Beasley, who rode the Mark Johnston-trained Harlem Soul to a comfortable success in the four-runner 1m4f handicap. 

The Teme Valley-owned three-year-old was winning for the first time at the fourth attempt.

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We only have 10 horses in training. I am delighted. I thought he was beat!
E.W. Terms