Second is first at Kempton
News from Kempton where Second Thought impressed Robert Winston and George Baker and Timmy Murphy shared five winners.
Second Thought goes past Sutter County
Robert Winston was full of praise for Second Thought after he secured his place on All-Weather Championships Finals Day with a polished performance at Kempton Park.
Despite missing the bulk of last year the three-year-old continued to make up for lost time when following up his maiden success at Wolverhampton in the Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Conditions Stakes.
Making giant strides late on in the six-furlong prize, the William Haggas-trained 3/1 shot wore down the prominently-ridden Sutter County close to the line before obliging by a neck.
Winston said: "He is a nice horse. He just took time to shrug off the Mark Johnston horse (Sutter County).
"He is a horse that should come forward again. I just gave him a little flick and he has won his race.
"I ride for this owner (Liam Sheridan) and I was overdue a winner for him. He has a really nice horse on his hands."
Bloodstock agent Jill Lamb, who buys all of owner Liam Sheridan's horses, commented: "It was the plan for Second Thought to go for this Fast-Track Qualifier and then the Final.
"William, who is on holiday in South Africa, has always thought a lot of Second Thought who picked up an injury after his debut second at Salisbury in May and had to miss the rest of the turf season.
"The Gimcrack Stakes had been talked of as a possible target and now Second Thought will be aimed at Good Friday. I don't know whether he will have a run before then – we will just have to see.
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"Second Thought, who I bought as a yearling for 70,000 guineas at Tattersalls Book Two, is a great trier and Robert Winston rode him very well."
Rob Hornby moved another step nearer to losing his claim after striking late aboard veteran Intransigent in the Better Odds With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap.
The 3lb claimer delivered the evergreen eight-year-old with expert timing to come between horses and take the seven-furlong contest by half a length.
Hornby said: "It is nice this old boy has got his head in front. That race panned out perfectly. He was in a pocket and could be kept on the bridle to whizz through the gap rather than having a slog.
"It is good to get another for the boss and I'm whittling through the claim nicely. That is three to go now."
In The Red (25/1) could have earned a reprieve from a trip to the sales next month when springing a surprise in the mile handicap.
One of two runners in the race for Richard Hannon the four-year-old ended a losing run stretching back to October 2015 with a two-and-three-quarter-length success to initiate a double for jockey Timmy Murphy.
Assistant trainer Tom Ward said: "I thought Torment would have a better chance because of his last couple of runs
"His (In The Red) last couple of runs have been disappointing and I said to Timmy Murphy today to get as far forward as you can from that draw.
"To be fair he never looked like getting beat at any stage. He is in the sales in February but he might not go there now.
"He has definitely got a better record on turf and we might look at going down that route now and giving him a break."
Staplehurst (6/1) completed the Grand National-winning rider's brace when giving trainer Geoffrey Deacon a welcome winner in the second division of the mile-and-a-half handicap.
George Baker moved into double figures for the year after enjoying a his second treble in the space of a month.
After teaming up with John Jenkins to take the opening two races with Tilsworth Micky (8/1) and Whaleweigh Station (7/2), Baker then partnered the Hughie Morrison-trained Aurora Gray (6/5) to claim the concluding two-mile handicap.
The first division of the mile-and-a-half handicap went the way of the Ed Walker-trained Lobster Cocktail (11/2).
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