Fox on Cesarewitch prowl after winning trial at Newmarket
Last Updated: 21/09/13 7:17pm
Mark Johnston: Trains Oriental Fox
Oriental Fox could still land a feature handicap this season after setting himself up for a tilt at the Betfred Cesarewitch by winning the Trial at Newmarket under Johnny Murtagh.
Sky Bet saw fit to cut him into 12-1 (from 25-)1 for the marathon event on October 12, where he could atone for an agonising defeat in the Northumberland Plate when he was caught in the final strides earlier in the season.
Murtagh was seen at his supreme best on Mark Johnston's stayer and coasted into the race behind the favourite Brockwell before coming clear to win by three and a quarter lengths.
"It was good to see him win and the plan is to go for the Cesarewitch," said Johnston.
Oriental Fox will have to carry a 4lb penalty for his success.
Godolphin's Wedding Ring looked the class horse heading into the £100,000 Tattersalls Millions Fillies' Median Auction Stakes and the 6-4 favourite did the job.
While she was made to work reasonably hard by Oxsana, she faced an easier task than in either of her last three races and held on by a neck.
"On form she was the class filly of the race," said trainer Charlie Appleby.
"The only concern was the ground but Mickael (Barzalona) said she's handled it well.
"She travelled so well into the race that he had no option but to go when he did - in an ideal world he would have liked to have held on to her a bit longer but there was nothing coming along with him.
"She probably did hit the front a bit soon but she held on. We will see how she comes out of the race but potentially the plan will be to come back for the next Tattersalls Millions race in two weeks."
Roger Varian's Toofi turned over the form horse in the £100,000 Tattersalls Millions Median Auction Trophy as Mick Channon's Jallota was beaten by a length.
Having run well in Group Ones Channon would have had high hopes of collecting the big prize but Varian can do no wrong and the twice-raced maiden stepped up significantly on his previous form.
"We've always liked this horse. His runs in maidens were very good, he was third at Ascot when he was a bit green and got beaten by a smart horse on the July course a little while ago," said Varian.
"We had to give him a bit of time as he wasn't 100% like some of the other horses through August, but we are really pleased at the way he has trained the last two weeks and this has been the target for a month or so.
"He's got some big race entries and he is also in another Tattersalls Millions race in a couple of weeks.
"William (Buick) thinks he will stay seven furlongs but we enjoyed today and we'll get him home and make sure he checks over healthy and sound.
"He will have one more run before the end of the season. He likes this good ground and so we'd hope for a dry time up until his next start."
The opening Federation of Bloodstock Agents EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes could have unearthed a smart sort in the Sea The Stars debutant Taghrooda (20-1), trained by John Gosden.
Runner-up Casual Smile, another daughter of Sea The Stars out of Oaks winner Casual Look, adds substance to the form in second.
Gosden said of the Dane O'Neill-ridden winner: "She's a nice filly and she has been working well at home.
"I'd say that will do her for the year now."