Racing: Grounds for concern over Top Notch Tonto’s Knavesmire return

Top Notch Tonto
Top Notch Tonto
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Brian Ellison is keeping his fingers crossed for suitable ground conditions to allow stable star Top Notch Tonto to return to the Knavesmire for the Sky Bet York Stakes on Saturday.

The five-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2013, winning three times and, most notably, filling the runner-up spot in the QEII on Champions Day at Ascot.

The strapping chestnut has found life tough since, but snapped a long losing run in some style in last month’s Ganton Stakes at York and he is primed to step up in trip at the track this weekend, providing the ground is in his favour.

Ellison said: “I just thought he was very impressive (last time). He showed a great turn of foot.

“It’s down to the weather, really. As long as it’s nice, good ground – it doesn’t have to be soft or anything. The plan is to run, anyway.

“He’ll be declared, put it that way – but we’ll have a look on Friday night as I’ve got runners there.”

Top Notch Tonto also holds an entry in the Sky Bet Supporting The Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract on Sunday.

Sovereign Debt could make a swift return to action at Pontefract this weekend following another admirable effort in defeat in Ireland on Sunday.

The Dandy Nicholls-trained six-year-old has run his last four races in the Emerald Isle, winning on his penultimate start in the Celebration Stakes before finishing third behind Home Of The Brave and Gordon Lord Byron in the Minstrel Stakes.

Sovereign Debt could head back to Ireland later this season, but might first turn out closer to home in Sunday’s Skybet Supporting The Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes.

James Kelly, racing manager for owner Lady O’Reilly, said: “He ran a cracker and Chris Hayes was very pleased with him, but just felt he’d probably be better at a mile and going round a bend.”