Arganil back in business
Kevin Ryan's Arganil showed he retains plenty of enthusiasm and ability by bouncing back to form in the Come Racing Again On Easter Monday Handicap at Redcar.
The seven-year-old has 10 victories to his name and has struck three times in Listed company, so in some ways this comeback victory was no real surprise. However, his best form had been on an artificial surface and he returned to the fray off a mark 12lb lower than his mark on the all-weather, hence the reason he was 25-1.
Phillip Makin's mount did not get off to the best of starts and he was dead last for the first part of the six-furlong journey. But he began to make good ground through the field from the halfway stage and quickened up well heading inside the closing stages to wrest the spoils by three-quarters of a length from Whozthecat.
"I'm delighted to see him win as he's a horse who'd just lost his way a bit last season and it's great he's come back," said Ryan.
"He had an accident in the stalls a little while ago where he got the gate stuck in his mouth and he pulled a few teeth out. That knocked his confidence for quite a while and hopefully now he has won, that will do his confidence good and he can go on from here.
"He was a very good horse a few years ago, but it only takes something small to knock their confidence. His best form is on the all-weather, but he's a good horse on the grass as well and we'll see where we go from here. He's a year older now, but this is a nice start to the year."
Former Ryan inmate Wolf Spirit (20-1) made a winning debut for trainer Ruth Carr in the John Smith's Redcar Straight-Mile Championship Qualifier under James Sullivan.
Carr paid just 4,500 guineas for the three-year-old at Tattersalls last October and that looks money well spent judged on his half-length victory over Nameitwhatyoulike.
Carr said: "We had him gelded and that seems to have helped him. Our horses have started off the season in good form and seem to have come to themselves quicker than they usually do."
Sullivan enjoyed further success on Lothian Countess, who made a winning introduction at 66-1 in the Gates Are Open And We're Racing Maiden Auction Stakes, but it was no surprise to Scottish trainer George Foster, who said: "It wasn't a shock. She was only the price she was because she had my name next to hers!"