Legendary Day makes Mallard impact

Legendary Day is unlikely to be seen back over hurdles any time soon having gained his biggest pay day to date in the Betfred Mallard Handicap at Doncaster.

Trained by Adrian Keatley, the five-year-old was bought out of Hughie Morrison’s yard as a dual purpose prospect, yet despite winning on his first attempt over timber, two subsequent defeats tempered enthusiasm.

In any case, when you have a Flat horse capable of winning £60,000 handicaps you are probably better off sticking to what you know and that is what Keatley, an Irish 1,000 Guineas-winning trainer with Jet Setting when still based in his homeland, intends to do.

It was a narrow success – one of the biggest of 3lb claimer Mark Winn’s career – having been left in front a long way from home, but Legendary Day (12-1) held off 33-1 chance Oneforthegutter by a short-head.

Keatley said: “We bought him for 8,500 guineas to do both and he’s won over £70,000 for us now, but I won’t be in a rush to go back hurdling with him as he’s not a natural. He did win first time over them but he’s not good at getting in and popping, so he could damage himself with his technique.

“There’s nothing wrong with his technique on the Flat. He’s been knocking on the door in these sort of races. Joe Fanning rode him at York earlier in the season and was adamant he’d win one. Oisin (Murphy) rode him the last day in a big race at York and was very happy with him also.

“I said to Mark today, I just thought with his 3lb it might help us get there and it did.

“I’d been watching Mark for a while, he’s a good rider and an astute young man with a good head on his shoulders and I just thought that 3lb would be crucial.

“He was following the fancied one (The Goat) who quickly fell away, so he found himself in front and there was nothing he could do. Thankfully it worked.”

Keatley went on: “We’ve had a good year. We restocked in the middle of last year, we’ve 21 boxes, we rotate as we go and keep it as fresh as we can.

“These are the days you want to have winners, the big meetings.”

Winn said: “He travelled through the race lovely but when I asked him he found it a bit too well and I was in front a long time.

“He has cheekpieces for a reason, but even so he stuck at it very well. It was tight enough and you never like to be too confident.”

Richard Hannon’s Circe had shown up well on her debut at Sandown earlier in the month and had little trouble opening her account at the second attempt in the Coopers Marquees EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

In truth, not many got involved, with Marie Ellen trying to see them all off from the front but Sean Levey always looked confident.

The 3-1 favourite hit the front still on the bridle just over a furlong out and despite looking green in the closing stages, won by a length and a half.

Levey said: “She was very impressive, we liked her first time and she ran in a quality race, beaten by two horses with experience.

“We hoped she’d stepped forwards and she has. I would have liked to have seen her put her head down a bit more and run right through the line, but I didn’t really get a chance to do that as she did it too easy.

“She’s a big horse with plenty of scope and she’ll make a nice three-year-old.”

William Buick guided the George Boughey-trained Baradar (100-30 favourite) to an easy win in the Doncaster Groundworks Reinforcements Handicap, while Ralph Beckett’s Mistressofillusion (7-2) made all in the British EBF Ruby Anniversary Premier Fillies’ Handicap.

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