The Ayr Gold Cup beckons for Baccarat after he handsomely justified 9-2 favouritism in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon on Saturday.
The lightly-raced sprinter, carrying the colours of Sir Robert Ogden, wore down Spinatrix close to home to grab the honours by a neck in this prestigious six-furlong handicap.
Hampered when Bogart unseated his rider at York on his previous start, Richard Fahey’s four-year-old made amends with a hard-fought triumph.
Baccarat, ridden by Tony Hamilton, collared the game Spinatrix (9-1), who had set sail for home on the far side under 5lb claimer Connor Beasley.
Rodrigo De Torres (33-1) was another three and a quarter lengths away in third, with Regal Parade (40-1) a further half a length back in fourth.
But there was no denying Baccarat who was also Yorkshire Evening Post racing writer Lee Sobot’s nap of the day.
Speaking from France, where he enjoyed a Group success with Sandiva, Fahey said: “I’m delighted he’s won because he’s been knocking on the door. “He’ll go straight for the Ayr Gold Cup now.”
Beasley was banned seven days (August 31, September 1-6) for using his whip above the permitted level.
It was a red-letter day for Fahey and Hamilton as they went on to complete a treble with Supplicant and Nemushka.
The former lived up to his 1-20 tag when he easily disposed of sole rival Milly’s Secret in the freebets.co.uk Ripon Horn Blower Conditions Stakes. It was harder work for Nemushka (3-1), who held Hot Rod Mamma by half a length in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap. Clear Spring (16-1) could also be bound for Ayr after landing the consolation William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap.
The field split into two groups, but it was the stands’ side who had the edge as Tom Eaves brought home John Spearing’s inmate to beat the Mehdi by a length and a quarter. “He did it well and he’s been running well all season,” said Spearing. “He’s got an entry next week at Ffos Las. He might go there.
“I don’t think he’ll get in the Ayr Gold Cup, but he’ll get in one of the consolation races. We’ll also look at the Portland Handicap (at Doncaster). He’s improving all the while.”
Other winners on the card were Robert The Painter (14-1), Pensax Lad (9-2) and Ambleside (15-8 favourite).