Gracious John gets big win for Glenister

Katherine Glenister's dedication to Gracious John paid off as David Evans' sprinter gave her a first victory as an apprentice in the feature race at Nottingham.

Gracious John: Nottingham winner

Glenister looks after the three-year-old and rides him out every day and was rewarded with a hard-fought win in the Lady Cecil Morpheus Handicap at Nottingham.

The 7lb claimer, whose two previous winners were as an amateur, got a good tune out of the 12-1 shot as he galloped all the way to the line to defeat Perfect Pasture by half a length, with Justice Good a nose away in the fast time of 57.52 seconds for the five furlongs.

"I'm absolutely delighted. He's a horse I've had a lot to do with since he came to Dave's – all through his two-year-old career – and I've taken him racing everywhere," she said.

"We've had a few bumps along the way. He's not the easiest ride.

"He ran a bit flat towards the end of the season so we gave him a little break. I'm delighted Dave gave me the chance today, taking some weight off his back, and it's paid off.

"I want to keep riding as best as I can and hopefully ride for other people, and keep riding winners."

The victory came as a surprise to Evans, who was at Chepstow and did not see the race live.

"I came up to Chepstow to watch a horse I used to train, so I missed it," said the Abergavenny trainer.

"The horse had a bit of a break. He hadn't been back in work long and he obviously doesn't need much.

"He used to love soft ground but doesn't anymore. He hated it in Ireland when he ran there.

"He'll have a nice all-weather campaign now."

He added: "This was a nice race to aim at first time back. I'm shocked he won. I gave Katherine the ride as she looks after him and rides him every day. It's great for her."

Champion apprentice Josephine Gordon needs just two winners to lose her riding allowance after scoring on Godolphin newcomer Big Challenge (4-1) for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The son of Sea The Stars pulled two and a quarter lengths clear of Melodic Motion and Wasatch Range, who were separated by a short head.

"He did that really easily and he'll be better next year," Gordon told Racing UK.

"Everything came so easy to him, he did it like it was a bit of work.

"For a horse having his first run you couldn't have asked for anything more."

On her riding plans, she said: "I'll be sticking around for the winter. I need two more to lose my claim so hopefully that won't be too long in happening."

Another apprentice with good reason to celebrate was Adam McNamara after a 20-1 double.

The 3lb claimer struck on the Richard Fahey-trained pair of Rashford's Double (13-8 favourite) in the racinguk.com Nursery Handicap and Ballesteros (7-1) in division two of the Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap.

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