Penitent won the Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock for David O'Meara
Last Updated: 31/05/14 5:36pm
Penitent ridden by Daniel Tudhope (left) beats Breton Rock ridden by Martin Lane to win the Timeform Jury Stakes
Penitent (33/1) crowned a super Saturday for David O'Meara with victory in the Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock Park.
The Yorkshire handler had taken the first race on the card while also saddling winners at York and Chester but the Group Three success of his eight-year-old is sure to have given him that extra little pleasure.
The eight-year-old has been a magnificent servant for the Nawton handler and owners Middleham Park Racing since being snapped up from Cheveley Park a couple of years ago, taking his connections to Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong along the way.
An old stager that can be relied on to flourish when the mud is flying, the drying conditions on Merseyside tempered his team's confidence, but he rolled back the years to strike Group Three gold.
Handy from the outset in the hands of Daniel Tudhope, the 33-1 shot was sent on two furlongs from home, but the challengers were queuing up in behind.
Few of the field could be ruled out as they fanned across the track with two of the seven furlongs to run although it did appear as though Tawhid was going to take all the beating when he hit the front under Kieren Fallon.
He flattered to deceive, however, and it was left to Breton Rock and Penitent to fight out the finish and the veteran campaigner refused to be denied under Danny Tudhope, who was also completing a double on the card.
A short-head separated the pair with over two lengths back to Eton Forever who held on for third ahead of favourite Garswood who stayed on quite well having lost his position when the tempo quickened.
Tudhope said: "He's the stable star this horse, he's just an absolute legend.
"The plan was to get a lead, he travelled well although I thought I was beat when one came on my outside. He's just so tough, he's an old horse and he's bound to throw in a few bad ones but fair play to him."
Tim Palin, racing manager for winning owners Middleham Park, said: "There's life in the old dog yet.
"At declaration time we thought he had a chance - seven furlongs on soft ground - but then it started drying out and we weren't as confident.
"I have to say I was surprised when they called him the winner. I thought we'd lost it in the photo and we were all commiserating each other.
"We know he's effective at seven furlongs - he was second in the Prix de la Foret a couple of years ago - and on his day he can still run to a mark of around 115. Maybe one or two of the fancied horses haven't run up to their best today, but our horse was tough and fought them all off, so we're delighted.
"Where we go from here, heaven only knows."