In-form de Sousa ends as top jockey at Pontefract

Winner of the EBF Stallions/Totepool Mobile Silver Tankard Stakes Lady Heidi, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, cross the line two-and-a-quarter lengths clear. Picture: BRIAN LUNN
Winner of the EBF Stallions/Totepool Mobile Silver Tankard Stakes Lady Heidi, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, cross the line two-and-a-quarter lengths clear. Picture: BRIAN LUNN
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Last Saturday Silvestre de Sousa partnered Farrh to victory in the £1.3 million Group 1 Qipco British Champion Stakes at Ascot; on Monday he landed the main race at Pontefract – The EBF Stallions totepool Mobile Silver Tankard Stakes on the 20/1 outsider of the five runners, Lady Heidi.

It was a first Listed race runner for Middleham trainer Philip Kirby in this £40,000 contest for two-year-olds over one mile.

What made it more remarkable was that Lady Heidi was a maiden after only running twice before Monday’s race. Yet she relished the heavy ground to prevail by two-and-a-quarter lengths against four colts which had all won this season.

It was de Sousa’s 13th win at Pontefract this season, confirming his position as the course’s top rider this term.

It was also a good day for Malton trainer Richard Fahey, who recorded three winners to finish on 10 for the season at Pontefract, making him the course’s top trainer in 2013.

Fahey’s first winner was Ribbleton (7/4) in the race for maiden two-year-olds over six furlongs.

Ribbleton took up the lead inside the final furlong to land the spoils by half a length from Percy’s Gal. The former champion jockey, Paul Hanagan, was on board and he went on to partner the Fahey-trained Asgardella (9/2) to win the First Division of the Handicap race over one mile-and-a-quarter. The filly stayed on well to win by three lengths.

Fahey’s other winner was sprinter Arctic Feeling (7/1) in the Handicap contest over five furlongs.

A winner at Epsom in June, Arctic Feeling made steady headway to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths in the hands of apprentice jockey Sammy-Jo Bell.

The conditions were certainly testing for the stayers in the longest race of the afternoon, The totepool Mobile Bluff Cove Handicap Stakes over two-and-a-quarter miles.

The four-year-old filly, Madam Lilibet (3/1 favourite) took the honours for North Yorkshire trainer Sharon Watt and jockey Paul Quinn.

It was a fairly close finish, as Cowslip was only a length-and-a-quarter behind Madam Lilibet, who was following up her win last month at Newcastle.

Norwegian-born Classic-winning jockey William Buick guided Norway Cross (7/4 favourite) to victory in the race for maidens over one mile-and-a-half.

Trained at Newmarket by Luca Cumani, Norway Cross was making only his second start after finishing runner-up on her debut at Sandown Park last month. The filly dominated the race to win by nine lengths.

The opening race of the afternoon, a Nursery Handicap for two-year-olds, went to Firecruise (8/1), trained near Thirsk by David Barron and ridden by Robert Winston.

After three unplaced efforts over six furlongs, Firecruise was stepped up to a mile for this race and he certainly appreciated the longer distance.

Totalize (9/1) was the final winner of the afternoon on Totepool Day. Trained at Malton by Brian Ellison and ridden by Tom Eaves, Totalize gained his first success on turf, staying on strongly to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

Pontefract’s 16-day 2014 season begins on Tuesday, April 8 and annual badges for next year are on sale – £190 (single) and £255 (joint). Call 01977 781307 for more details.