The Shunter realises long-term plan with Cesarewitch strike

The Shunter repelled all challengers to fulfil a long-term plan in the Club Godolphin Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Trained by Emmet Mullins, the 10-year-old is more famed for his exploits over obstacles, having won at the Cheltenham Festival and been placed at Grade One level in novice chase company.

Back on the level though, The Shunter teamed up with James Doyle in the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest which offered over £103,000 to the winner.

Doyle rode The Shunter (14-1) with restraint in the early exchanges, making stealthy headway before pushing to the front two furlongs out.

Top weight Tashkhan had been prominent throughout but he was eager for a battle, pushing The Shunter all the way through the closing stages while Pied Piper, another National Hunt runner moving back to the Flat, made a late grab for glory inside the distance.

However, The Shunter dug deep to prevail by three-quarters of length from Pied Piper, with Tashkhan (25-1) a further head back in third and 100-1 shot Bashful Boy grabbing fourth.

Mullins admitted this race had been the plan for almost a year, with future plans yet to be decided.

He said: “It was a brilliant performance from horse and rider. I’d say James didn’t know what to make of the instructions going out as I said the horse has probably got more ignorance than ability, but he’ll keep pulling it out and keep fighting.

“It’s a bit surreal it’s come off. This race has probably been on the radar since he finished fourth in the November Handicap in Naas last year. We always thought there could be a big pot in him on the Flat and patience has paid off.

“He’s been in great order at home and he’s very tough, which he has shown down through the years.

“All options are open again. He was entered in last year’s Grand National and we scratched him at the 11th hour, but everything is an option.”

Source link