Louis Steward powers home in front on Johnny Murtagh’s Mutual Regard
PICTURE: Getty Images
Report: York, Saturday
Betfred Ebor (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 1m6f, 3yo+
FIVE pound claimer Louis Steward enjoyed the biggest win of his career as he guided the Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard to victory in one of the season’s biggest handicaps, the Betfred Ebor at York.
Murtagh confessed he’d never heard of Steward, whose booking was the decision of owner Andrew Tinkler, but the former legend of the saddle now holds the apprentice in the highest regard after he managed to achieve something Murtagh never did in his illustrious career and win the £265,000 handicap.
“I didn’t know who he was!” said a delighted Murtagh. “Our apprentice was banned and Andrew Tinkler is a man that’s hot on his stats and he said that Louis was the man to ride.
“I was close with Royal Diamond but this is a good horse. I was nearly going to run him in the Lonsdale Cup [on Friday], but we went for this instead and it has worked a treat.”
Tinkler bought the five-year-old for 60,000 guineas at the Tattersalls horses in training sale last October from Sir Mark Prescott, who trained the 9-2 favourite Pallasator to finish fourth from off the pace. Cesarewitch sponsors Betfred have made Pallasator their clear 10-1 favourite.
Steward was always prominent on the Hernando gelding and turning for home he was travelling all over his rivals. Patience has been a running theme in the saddle at York this week and Steward became the latest rider to bide his time, cajoling his mount for as long as possible before getting after him and in the final furlong the pair pulled a length and a quarter clear of 14-1 shot Van Percy, with Mick Channon’s Elidor third at 20-1, the same price as the winner.
Johnny Murtagh (right) and Louis Steward drenched as part of the ice bucket challenge aimed at raising awareness about Motor Neurone Disease
Paddy Power have inserted Mutual Regard at 14-1 in their Long Distance Cup betting, while the Melbourne Cup is also on his radar, as it is for runner-up Van Percy.
“I am delighted, he has run a really good, honest race,” said Van Percy’s trainer Andrew Balding. “He just keeps improving, which is terrific. He goes into quarantine on September 11 and then we will look at our options out there, we will have to see if he goes up enough to get in the Melbourne Cup.”
The third Elidor, a former Royal Ascot winner, may be done with handicaps for the time being. His trainer’s son Michael Channon said: “He is a super horse and we are learning as quickly as we are learning. Once we had him gelded at the back-end of last year he is a different horse this year. He might well shape up to be more of a Cup horse than a handicapper. We have not got to the bottom of him.”
Steward, who took his first British Flat ride in 2012, was riding just the 47th winner of his short career, with his Ebor victory more than doubling his winning prize-money total for the year.
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