Gator bites back... and snaps up Bell for Burke
Miami Gator showed plenty of guts to make virtually all the running in the Lloyd Motor Group Carlisle Bell Handicap at the Cumbrian venue.
Elaine Burke's charge had finished a close-up fourth in the trial event at the track last month and despite racing from the bottom of the weights, he was sent off a 12-1 chance.
Andrew Elliott was keen to dictate matters and dashed through to take over in front from Vito Volterra after just a furlong, and that pair had the race between them from then on.
Although Vito Volterra perhaps just inched into the lead two furlongs out, Miami Gator would not be beaten and fought back gamely to go on by a length and three-quarters at the line, with 4-1 favourite Take It To The Max only third.
“I'm absolutely over the moon. Unfortunately I've hurt my back and had to go for some treatment so I couldn't be there but I watched on the TV and it certainly cheered me up!” said Burke.
“He ran well there last time but we knew he needed that run so we were hoping for a good run, although there was some tough competition in there.
“My daughter looks after him and rides him out so she's delighted and it's a family success.
“He's been a good little horse for us. I've no idea where he will go next, there's a few options so we'll have to discuss it.”
Jockey James Sullivan recorded a landmark win as he steered the Edwin Tuer-trained Easy Terms to victory in the totesport.com Cumberland Plate Handicap.
While the horse was completing a four-timer as the 9-2 joint-favourite, apprentice title contender Sullivan was riding the winner that would see him lose his claim. Substantial rain at the track made conditions seem very testing and there were plenty struggling as they turned for home, but Sullivan did not seem concerned.
He cruised to the front two furlongs out, but Easy Terms then began to slow a little on the ground allowing fellow market leader Kathleen Frances the opportunity to challenge.
However, Easy Terms was not to be denied and she responded to Sullivan's urgings to win by a length and three-quarters.
“I've lost my claim and now the work really starts to try to keep riding winners,” said Sullivan.
“I ride a lot for Ruth Carr, she's been great to me, and Mick Easterby has been very good. Mr Tuer is having a great spell at the moment and he helps me out a great deal as well.
“I would love to win (the apprentice title), I need to keep working as hard as I can.”
Sullivan has been aboard Easy Terms for her last three victories and he added: “She's a genuine horse, she really does try for you.”
Silvestre de Sousa is another jockey in a purple patch and he swooped late aboard Quite Sparky in the Lloyd Ltd Carlisle Bell Consolation Race.
The rider enjoyed two memorable wins at Royal Ascot last week and has ridden a further three winners over the last couple of days to take his tally to 54 winners for the year.
He made it 55 in style as he produced the David O'Meara-trained Quite Sparky to make his challenge approaching the final furlong of the mile heat. One Scoop Or Two tried his best to hang on but had no answer to Quite Sparky's finishing kick.