Delight for Lulu Stanford as Leicester winner Maori Bob brings up hat-trick

Tue 12 Sep 2017

Maori Bob made it three wins on the bounce to continue on an upward curve with victory in the Gateleys PLC Handicap at Leicester.

Michael Bell's charge had claimed success on his last two starts at Beverley in the manner of an improving horse and sat well off the pace in the hands of Lulu Stanford as Medalla De Oro, who was also seeking a hat-trick, cut out the early running.

That rival stuck on well to finish second, but Maori Bob was always travelling the stronger of the two and nicely put the race to bed to win by three-quarters of a length.

Stanford, who has now won four times aboard the three-year-old gelding, told Racing UK: "He's a great little horse.

"Throughout the year he's just been growing up and improving, and has just got better and better. We don't know how good he is, really.

"Some of his rides have been a bit hairy-scary - hanging both ways - but he's grown up a lot. He handles it (cut in the ground) but he's not quite as good on it.

"Ideally I'd have been a bit closer, but on this ground you can't do too much early with him. There was nothing going on two and a half (furlongs) out so I just thought, 'time to go'.

"The key is not to hit him. He doesn't appreciate it. If you keep him hands and heels for as long as possible, he's one of those who will keep going for you."

A trip Down Under could be on the horizon for Stanford, who was enjoying her 16th winner of the season aboard the 9-2 shot.

She added: "Hopefully I'll be going to Australia in the winter. I really want to learn and it will improve my riding no end.

"It's a different ball game over there so I really want to go there and improve."

Aim Of Artemis (11-4) needed every yard of the seven-furlong trip to land division one of the British Stallion Studs Apollo EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes.

The half-sister to Abingdon made an encouraging debut at Newbury last month and seemed to appreciate the step up in trip, swooping late to win by half a length under Ryan Moore.

Orsera showed a tremendous attitude to win the second division.

Peter Chapple-Hyam's charge looked a sitting duck as the strong-travelling Verve loomed upsides a furlong from home, but the 20-1 shot showed great willingness in the hands of Jack Mitchell to fend off that rival before going on to score by a length.

Mitchell said: "Her work at home has been very pleasing so we were hopeful.

"I hit the front and the runner-up came at me but she went on again, so I was pleased with that.

"I thought this was the warmer division of the two so I was really happy."

Graphite Storm (9-4 favourite) continued Clive Cox's excellent run of form when running out a comfortable winner of the Weatherbys Handicap in the hands of Adam Kirby.

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