Mildenberger had the better of last year’s winner Rainbow Dreamer in a heavyweight finish to the Betway Conditions Stakes (2m ½f) at Wolverhampton on Monday night.
In a tactical affair, Mildenberger (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning, 11/4) was ideally positioned behind pace setters Outbox (Archie Watson/Hollie Doyle) and Nate The Great (Andrew Balding/Richard Kingscote), with the 7/4 favourite Rainbow Dreamer (Alan King/Tom Marquand) tracking his main market rival in a share of fourth.
Nate The Great made his move passing the three-furlong pole and soon had the field strung out, but he could not shake off the looming presence of Mildenberger who assumed command at the top of the home straight.
All the while Rainbow Dreamer was building up a head of steam in behind and switched to the rail to deliver his challenge. For several strides, it looked as though Rainbow Dreamer was coming with a winning run but Mildenberger was not for passing under an inspired Fanning and prevailed by a head. The pair pulled four and a half lengths clear of Nate The Great, with the fourth home Cosmelli (Gay Kelleway/Tom Eaves) a further 11 lengths behind.
This marked a return to form for the 109-rated Mildenberger and the six-year-old is now guaranteed a start in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship (2m) at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championship Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Fanning said: “It was a messy race; the pace was steadying and then when I went to put a bit of pressure on, they quickened up, and then when I pulled back, they slowed it down again.
“I think, had we gone a proper gallop, I would have won with a bit more in hand. Every time this lad has won there has been a good gallop on which is why I was worried about them slowing it up.
“You can’t deliver rides like that without the horse. It is a big help. He is a very good horse on the turf as well and I thought he had a big shout here tonight in this sort of race.”
Mildenberger fends off Rainbow Dreamer on the rail, picture All-Weather Championships