Silvestre de Sousa and Jon & Julia Aisbitt's ELIDOR - Listed winners at Nottingham this afternoon
Only a fifth win in a seven year old's career but when you consider that they have included breaking his maiden as a three year old at Royal Ascot, victory at Glorious Goodwood and the fact that he's seldom that far away in heritage handicaps, ELIDOR represents a horse to be proud of. Today, he started his fifth year as a racehorse with victory in Nottingham's totepool Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes in thrilling fashion.
Ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, Jon & Julia Aisbitt's star gelding took on a select but high class field in the fourteen furlong Listed contest and emerged a winner by only a nose ahead of the gallant Wall of Fire to underline what a true battler he is.
It was a typically trappy, tactical affair with previous Gold Cup winner Trip to Paris up front for a large part of the contest as his four rivals bided their time but, having switched ELIDOR off at the back, SDS managed to get rolling inside the mile, conscious of the fact that there was something of a stop/start dawdle to the heat. When push came to shove as they straightened for home though Silvestre had everything covered and it's full credit to both rider and jockey that they delivered in a pulsating finish.
At the furlong marker, ELIDOR took the lead but Wall of Fire battled back as Trip to Paris fell away and it was a desperate battle to the line that eventually saw ELIDOR finish in front on the nod to the delight of everyone who is grateful to look after a brave and admirable horse. None more so than MRC who has had great, good and sometimes galling days with a real star.
"He's been so well for so long that we couldn't wait to get him going this time around. He goes well fresh and at times he cons you in to thinking he can go again and then he disappoints because we've learnt that he needs a certain amount of space between his races. He can be inconsistent if you force him but that's me talking with hindsight because his record speaks for itself.
"I'm glad we got it right today and I must say that when a horse is delivered like that inside the final stages, very few times does Silvestre de Sousa get beat. He's brilliant at that.
"As for Elidor, handicapping might be off the radar now but we'll have a look at a few options and see how things pan out but before then. I'm just delighted for Jon & Julia and we'll hatch a plan from here."
Box 41's grey trooper MASTERSON - A winner at Chelmsford on Thursday evening
Two wins in the space of five days saw Box 41 Racing's MASTERSON confirm what a hardy and game competitor he is on Thursday as he returned to the scene of his last victory there only five days before.
Again in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa the four year old gelding made all in the mile six Class 6 handicap under a six pound penalty. In truth it was a race that, as with last Saturday's contest, sat up and shouted and Mick was delighted that he has a willing competitor who was happy to oblige.
"It looked like a race there for the taking and although he came into it after last Saturday's run he hasn't done a lot. We gave him a few days in the paddock and a little canter on Wednesday and he went to work for us again.
"That's the sort of chap he is - willing to please and very happy in himself. Silvestre let him bowl along and despite the penalty, he was never sighted. We'll wait and see what the handicapper does now but two wins inside a week for Box 41 Racing means that I'll have some smiling faces in the Box at Newbury when we all meet up!"
Box 41 Racing's MASTERSON - A winner at Chelmsford yesterday
A pleasing win for Box 41 Racing's MASTERSON yesterday evening as the four year old helped Silvestre De Sousa record a four timer in convincing fashion by two and a half lengths.
The two mile Class 6 Chelmsford contest saw MASTERSON lining up on the all-weather for the first time since he was victorious at Newcastle last September and SDS had an easy enough time throughout, producing the top weight as they straightened for home to win emphatically.
The Boss was delighted that a hardy campaigner got his head in front again.
"You've got to admire MASTERSON because he's got a great attitude to everything he does. He's no star but he's incredibly consistent and the opportunity to run him in a 0-65 on that surface over that trip was pretty much perfect.
"He's a pleasure to train and loves the job. For that very reason, he'll give Box 41 a few more days of fun yet."