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Ray Craggs springs a shock with Ron O

Ray Craggs, an 80-year-old who has only four horses in his yard in Sedgefield, surprised even himself by landing the £70,000 feature handicap with Ron O at York on Friday.

The 28-1 shot was only his third runner at York and much the biggest success of a training career that has lasted 30 years.

"I'm lost for words," he said after Ron O had scored by two lengths under Jason Hart. "I thought he might be out of his depth, that we were making the numbers up. I stuck him in and he was in the handicap so I thought we'd have a go."

The six-year-old had given the trainer his sole previous winner of the season when taking a first prize of £5,234 at Redcar last month.

"We only have four horses in training," Craggs said. "They're all mine and it's just my hobby. I was going to pack up at the beginning of the season but I thought I'd keep going. 

"I have nine farms, I have a contracting business and spelt flour is our biggest business. I rode at Newcastle when I was 16 years old — but I wasn't good enough so I had to start work!"

Farmer ploughs winning furrow

Shay Farmer added his name to the long list of jockeys from Hawick to win a race in Britain when he landed the 7f apprentice handicap on Tolstoy on just his second ride, at the age of only 16.

He came from behind and had to dodge trouble in running and said: "That was amazing. I was hoping he could win but the doors were never opening.

"I had to pull him wide but he was always finding for me at the end and I couldn't be happier."

Farmer started full-time in January with Tolstoy's trainer Brian Ellison, who said: "He's been with me since he was 14, going to school and riding out. This horse is quite a hard ride but he rode him well."

Inconspicuous gave Ollie Pears his third win in the Rous Selling Stakes in eight years but, unlike Melaniemilie (2016) or Celestial Flight (2023), he was sold at the auction.

After the two-year-old had gone to Gay Kelleway for £29,000, his former trainer said: "That was plenty. We could have bid again but he was a €15,000 yearling, he's won plenty of prize-money and when you start getting up there you've a fair bit of commission to pay.

"We're not sad. I wish Gay all the luck in the world. It's an open market, there are no complaints. We need to trade horses, move on and buy another. I'll win it next year!"

York breakthrough

Alfa Kellenic completed a hat-trick in the 6f fillies' handicap, making it a memorable day for Craig Lidster who trains just 12 miles away in Easingwold.

"This is the highlight of my career so far, apart from winning with Macarone for Rob Burrow," he said. "She's a star, a lovely filly. 

"There was a lot of pressure on today, she is my first York winner and it's a great day. It's my local track, it's brilliant."

 

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