Tony Hamilton was seen to great effect as he guided 18/1 shot Storting to victory in the feature Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup on Saturday.
The historic mile handicap offered record prize money of £50,000, making it the most valuable race ever held at Thirsk.
Trained by Mick Channon, Storting travelled strongly in midfield of the 15 runners and made smooth headway to challenge On A Session with two furlongs remaining.
Storting led approaching the final furlong, but the eye was drawn to 9/4 favourite Nugget who was building up a head of steam down the centre of the course.
Nugget closed on Storting all the way to the line but ultimately ran out of track. The winning margin was a neck, with Astro King finishing strongly to take third, a further half-length behind.
Storting has been lightly raced over the last 18 months and was dropping in trip today after finishing sixth in a 10-furlong handicap at Newbury on April 18.
Channon said: “We felt Storting had a good chance from his draw [stall 7] and I thought Tony rode a great race.
“He is a homebred for Jon and Julia Aisbitt. Unfortunately, he has had quite a few problems, but we have got him through it all and it is lovely to win a nice prize like this.
“The drop back to a mile looked to play to his strengths. In fairness, he is a pretty talented horse with a nice pedigree and hopefully he can kick on from here.”
Hamilton said: “We jumped away and I thought they were going to go a gallop in front, but they slowed it down on the bend.
“I had a nice position to manoeuvre out once we turned in and, from two furlongs down, I always felt I was going to hold on.
“I think the fact I was able to get a nice pitch from my draw was a help because I was able to dictate from where I was in the straight. They were coming late, but I had already gone.
“Mick in fairness fancied Storting when we spoke before the race. He felt he could win and, fair play, he was right.”
|Storting denies Nugget in Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup, picture Thirsk Racecourse|