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Plan comes together for James Ferguson as he lands biggest winner of career

The sweet smell of success: First Folio gives James Ferguson his biggest win
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No wonder he was jubilant. A plan paid off for second-season trainer James Ferguson, who was able to celebrate the biggest win of his young career.

The son of Grade 1-winning jumps trainer John Ferguson will have learned a thing or two about laying a horse out in his time as assistant to Sir Mark Prescott.

And it worked to perfection as First Folio came from behind under Daniel Muscutt to land the £75,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap, leading over a furlong out for a length-and-a-quarter win. 

"I'm thrilled," said Ferguson, who has had a licence for less than 20 months. "This has been the plan since he won at Yarmouth very impressively.

"The faster ground definitely helped him out and credit to Dan, who gave him a very cool ride."

Ferguson, whose tenth winner of 2021 took him more than halfway towards last year's tally of 18, was joined in the winner's enclosure by several happy members of the Owners Group, in whose colours the sprinter runs.

"He's a lovely horse to have. Thanks to the owners for giving me a chance in only my second season training to have a horse of this calibre," the trainer said.

"Credit to the team back home, everyone works incredibly hard. This is huge but it's not just about me, it's everyone."

Muscutt added: "I'm happy to have a nice winner for James, I've known him for quite a while and teamed up with him plenty since he started training. It's nice to be progressing together. He's got a nice team to go to war with."

Daniel Muscutt: "James Ferguson has got a nice team to go to war with"

Hot Haggas

William Haggas has his horses in fine shape as Royal Ascot approaches with a remarkable 36 per cent strike-rate in the past fortnight and enjoyed another winner when Roberto Escobarr scored under Tom Marquand.

After his improving four-year-old had taken the Listed Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup, the trainer's wife Maureen said: "Any time is a good time to be in form but next week is the hardest week of the year.

"We're looking forward to Mohaafeth and Alenquer but a lot of them won't go because of the ground and quite a few won't get in the handicaps because they're chocka."

Roberto Escobarr will not take up his entry in the Copper Horse Handicap next week but Haggas said: "He's going the right way. He didn't like the ground last time at Ascot, he likes fast ground. I hope he'll go on improving, he's still quite a baby."

Roberto Escobarr kept up William Haggas' fine run of form

Time for bubbly

Amateur rider Amie Waugh was thrilled to land the Queen Mother's Cup on Nicholas T – and earn her weight in champagne.

It was just the second time she has ridden in the 1m4f contest and she said: "It's the race of the year, everybody's desperate to ride in it. It's made my weekend. I don't think anything will beat that for a while. 

"Everyone loves winners at York so for us to get opportunities like this is something special."

Last gasp success 

Baashir turned apparent defeat into narrow victory in the 7f handicap, headed inside the final furlong by National League but fighting back to lead again close home.

Jockey Jim Crowley said: "He wasn't doing a stroke in front. He's got quite a high head carriage, they went slow and sprinted and he got there quite easily and I thought was going to win. 

Baashir (blue) fights back to regain the lead close home

"When the other horse headed him I thought 'oh no, we're in trouble,' but fair play, he got back up. He's low mileage with plenty of ability. A couple of times things haven't gone quite right for him but he got the job done today."


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He's a lovely horse to have, thanks to the owners for giving me a chance in only my second season training to have a horse of this calibre
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