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Last Updated: 01/10/11 4:19pm
Pastoral Player: Impressive winner of Ascot handicap
Pastoral Player was a decisive winner of the totescoop6 Challenge Cup at Ascot.
Hughie Morrison's charge has endured luckless passages through several valuable handicaps this summer but Darryll Holland found the gaps at the right time aboard the 17-2 chance here.
He burst between rivals inside the final furlong and swept clear to beat 11-2 favourite Smarty Socks by two-and-a-half lengths.
The Cheka (12-1) ran a fine race under his big weight in third with Hawkeyetheoo (15-2) fourth.
Holland said: "The lads and the trainer have done very well with him as he's not easy. He's got to go down early and he goes in the stalls late, (but) I think the moodier he is the better - if he's quiet he's not on his game.
"He ran a great race in the Ayr Gold Cup on (soft) ground he doesn't really like. I thought he was my best chance today and I was right.
"I think he can definitely make the transition to a Group race if he can find a couple of lengths, the difference between a top handicap and a Group race isn't that great."
Morrison added: "Darryll sat very quietly on him and he travelled beautifully - didn't he half quicken?
"He's a slow learner and we've run him a lot this year to take the freshness off him.
"He gets very excitable before he goes down and we've had trouble with the stalls over the years, I think he's just beginning to grow up.
"He owes us nothing this year and he'll certainly have a nice holiday in November and December.
"Darryll said don't worry about the handicapper as he'll be a Group horse next year."