Austrian impresses at Ripon

Mark Johnston, trainer of Austrian School

Austrian School looks a colt with a future after making a winning debut in the CHS Vehicles Novice Auction Stakes at Ripon.

A half-brother to Tiger Roll, a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, Mark Johnston's Derby entry is all about stamina.

Starting out life over a mile, the 7-4 chance was extremely green in the early stages and was last throughout before the penny began to drop and he flew home to beat odds-on favourite Cosa Nostra by three-quarters of a length.

Jockey Franny Norton said: "He's very green and raw but he came good when it mattered.

"I couldn't pull him up. He's a lovely horse and I like it when they are like that – it means there is more to come.

"We'll see more of him, that's for sure."

Johnston's assistant Jock Bennett added: "He didn't have a clue early on but he'll have learned so much from that."

Teruntum Star (12-1) returned to winning ways in the William Hill Silver Trophy.

Back to form last time out out York, Kevin Ryan's charge went clear a furlong out under Kevin Stott but his supporters were made to sweat.

Red Pike made a late bid but failed by a neck. Magical Effect and Guishan took minor honours.

"He's had a few little niggles in his career but he's always been a good horse," said Ryan.

"It will be Ayr next, for either the Gold or Silver Cup, and he might even go straight there.

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"He just doesn't like fast ground so he can only run when there's enough give, but he's very good on his day."

There was a sad postscript to the race when popular sprinter Jack Dexter was fatally injured, Ripon clerk of the course James Hutchinson confirmed.

The winner of 10 of his 54 races, Jim Goldie's eight-year-old was a Group Three scorer and finished second to Slade Power on Champions Day at Ascot in 2013.

Goldie tweeted: "Sadly Biscuit aka Jack Dexter had to be put down after breaking a hind leg @RiponRaces #ripjackdexter."

Johnston and Norton doubled up when Lake Volta brushed aside his two rivals in the Ripon Horn Blower Conditions Stakes.

Unplaced on his debut, he was an easy winner at Brighton last time out showing the benefit of his initial experience and he took his form to another level here, beating the 92-rated Simmy's Copshop by five lengths.

Bennett said of the 8-11 favourite: "He'll probably come back here for the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy on Bank Holiday Monday.

"He'll get further but at the minute why change anything when he's looking so good?

"At the start of the season we didn't think we had a great bunch of two-year-olds compared to last year but they have just been later maturing types.

"This fellow, Threading, Dee Ex Bee and Nyaleti all look nice."

It was soon a treble for Johnston and Norton when Katebird (7-1) was allowed an easy lead in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap.

As so often happens on the round track at Ripon, Norton stole an advantage on the bend which was not to be relinquished and she galloped on relentlessly to beat Duck Egg Blue by three lengths.

"She's consistent and this was a nice race for her," said Norton.

"These Mark Johnston horses are tough to pass and to be honest there wasn't any stage in the race where I didn't think I was going to win.

"I never heard another horse."

Ryan and Stott enjoyed a double as Brilliant Vanguard won the attheraces.com Handicap.

The 6-1 chance reeled in the front-running Sands Chorus to strike by a comfortable two lengths.

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