Annaf prevails in thrilling finish to Portland

Annaf’s class came to the fore as he carried top-weight to a game victory in the Betfred Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

Mick Appleby’s four-year-old has been a regular in Group-race company this season and made the podium at Royal Ascot when third in the King’s Stand Stakes.

However, the 7-1 shot was remarkably still a maiden on turf prior to making his 23rd overall career start in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

Ridden with supreme confidence by the in-form jockey, the duo picked their way through a stacked field and pulled out all the stops to prevail in a photo-finish over Julie Camacho’s Significantly.

The victory continued a fine week on Turf Moor for Oakham-based Appleby who enjoyed Flying Childers success with the Breeders’ Cup-bound Big Evs on Friday.

Ryan said: “He was third in the King’s Stand don’t forget. I’ve won on him plenty now so he’s been good to me.

“My only concern today was the ground, but he had run well enough with an ease at Sandown. He’s a classy horse.

“I’d imagine one of those nice Group races before the end of the season will be next, he’s been a star for me.

“Mick and the team have him spot-on every time, but I wasn’t sure if I’d held on. He doesn’t like being in front too long which is why I think all-weather racing suits him.”

He added: “Mick has had a good week, he’s a top trainer, he’s improving every season and he’s got training this lad down to a fine art.”

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