By Oliver Brett
The progressive Staxton is set to tackle York's Group Two Gimcrack Stakes on August 26 after giving 6lb and a beating to half a dozen rivals at Haydock on Thursday.
Staxton, trained by Tim Easterby, was not initially expected to be a high-calibre juvenile, being sent off at 50-1 on his debut on good to firm ground at Haydock in early July.
But he won that race by a head before having to settle for second on the Knavesmire.
The return to Haydock for a third career start, all of them at six furlongs, suited him down to the ground after he was sent off at 9-4 to win the Betfred TV British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.
The son of King’s Stand Stakes winner Equiano showed by far the best raw pace on good to soft ground to come from first to last. Although he was made to work hard he nevertheless won his race well enough, given that he was the only one with a penalty to bear.
"It was a very good performance,” Jockey James Sullivan told Racing UK.
“He went about his business and did his job very well. Once he had settled in behind a few he was fine. He travelled in to it really well and did his job well.
"They went a good solid pace in the ground and he stayed very well. He might even go further in time. He's a big horse and he's only going to improve. I think he likes a bit of cut in the ground."
Simon Bridge, director of Staxton's owners Ontoawinner, later tweeted: "Nice win under a penalty. He will likely head to the Gimcrack now."
Meanwhile, Danny Tudhope rode a treble, his three winners all coming for different trainers - though none with the handler he is most closely associated with, David O'Meara.
Tudhope's haul included the William Haggas-trained Sainted, a clearly progressive four-year-old filly who races in the colours of Cheveley Park Stud. She smoothly collected a prize of £18,675 by winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap over six furlongs.
As he rushed off to Newcastle for two rides there on Thursday evening, Tudhope revealed that he had high hopes for Sainted in time.
"I think the softer the ground the better,” he told Racing UK. “She ran a good race at Goodwood in a Group Three and I think she'd be up that class again."
Trainer Chris Wall enjoyed a memorable afternoon at Yarmouth after saddling a 23-1 treble.
Entangling, ridden by title-chasing Silvestre de Sousa, was a warm order to set the ball rolling by opening his account in the Premier League Football At 188Bet Handicap.
Placed on two of his previous four starts, including a runner-up finish at Doncaster last month, the three-year-old was the 4-5 favourite for his latest assignment and passed the post with half a length in hand over Epitaph.
Wall said: "I didn't think he really needed to improve on his run at Doncaster to win today and he did it well.
"Hopefully now he's got his head in front that will give him a bit of confidence and he'll go on from here."
The Newmarket-based trainer was soon on the mark again, with the curiously named Oh It's Saucepot also justifying favouritism in the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap.
The daughter of Sir Percy was the 2-1 favourite to follow up her July Course victory of a fortnight ago and continued her progression with a one-and-a-quarter-length verdict in the hands of Ted Durcan.
Wall's hat-trick was completed by George Wood-ridden 7-2 chance Deciding Vote in the following 1/4 Odds At 188Bet Maiden Handicap.
"We've had trebles before, but not for three or four years," Wall added.
"We came here today thinking we had chances and hoping we might have a winner or two or maybe even a treble, but you never really know. It's great when it works out.
"I though Oh It's Saucepot needed to improve to follow up her win at Newmarket and she duly did. I hope she'll improve again for going up to a mile and a quarter.
"Deciding Vote is still a little bit green, but she's improving and was given a very good ride by George."
The Kevin Ryan-trained Luis Fernandez (1-2 favourite) completed a hat-trick in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes, scoring by a head under apprentice David Egan.
Another apprentice, 5lb claimer Jane Elliott, was seen to good effect when getting George Margarson's 5-2 favourite Shyarch home in front by a short-head in the USPGA Golf At 188Bet Selling Handicap.
The three-year-old was sold at the subsequent auction for £8,000.
"That's the seventh winner Jane has ridden for us this year and she's a tidy rider. We're keeping her fit," said Margarson.
"We got good money for the horse, so he'll move on now and we wish him well."
Trainer Stuart Williams and jockey Aaron Jones teamed up to land the John Batt 70th Birthday Fillies' Handicap with 6-1 shot Stellar Surprise.
Making successful raids to Brighton has become something of a habit for Mark Johnston and that trend continued after Curlew River struck in the Marathonbet Sportsbook Brighton Challenge Cup Handicap.
After gaining a front-running success at Leicester last time out, the daughter of Casamento controlled matters from the sharp end once again to take the mile-and-a-half contest by four and a half lengths and make it three wins from her last four starts.
Tristan Burton-Pye, travelling manager for the Middleham trainer, said: "It was good to come all this way and for it to go well. The ground was like a road out there which she handled and she saw the trip out well
"Joe (Fanning) was able to control everything from the front and when he pushed the button she found plenty when she needed to.
"We will see what options are available, but Joe said she is progressing nicely."
Megan Nicholls, daughter of top National Hunt trainer, Paul Nicholls, bagged a first Brighton winner in steering Honiara (11-4) to glory in the latest Silk Series Lady Riders' Handicap.
Nicholls said of the Paul Cole-trained winner: "He has done it nicely. It worked out well as Believe It gave me a nice lead the whole way. He is a horse that does just enough.
"It is nice to be down here and this new series is helping us girls get a few more opportunities to ride for a few trainers we might not get to ride for on other days.
"That is my first winner here and it is nice to get that as I have been banging at the door a few times."
Lutine Charlie extended his career for a little longer as he ended a losing streak stretching back to last February with a neck success in the Route Mobile Selling Handicap, after which winning rider Martin Dwyer was handed a two-day whip ban.
Winning trainer Emma Owen said of the 28-1 shot: "I know he was the outsider, but he was in great form. He ran away with me on the gallops two days ago. I took all the headgear off as the last two times he has won here he had no headgear on.
"I was losing faith in him and he was going to go on the Retraining of Racehorses scheme, but he has just saved himself the boredom of going showing.
"Pat (Eddery) chose this horse when he was a wild card at the Ascot sales four years ago. He has done us proud winning four times."
Fran Berry warmed up for his third appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday with a winner as the Stuart Williams-trained Upavon (11-8) edged out Bronze Beau by a nose in the Route Mobile Handicap.
Berry said: "I knew I hit the line good and my first impression was maybe I just got there, then cantering back the camera looked like it was on Joe (Fanning). I was disappointed to see that, but thankfully I got the result.
On the Shergar Cup, he added: "I've been there twice before and it's a great day. It is a pleasure to be involved and they've been good before as I've won both times. It is great to be asked, as it is a big showcase for racing."
Gary Moore made it two winners at the seaside track in as many days after Impressive Day (12-1) got up on the line to take the Marathonbet Live Casino Fillies' Handicap by a short head.
Moore said: "I did think she had got up, but it does normally favour the middle here. She had a little break and she is better off running fresh.
"She enjoyed her day out at the sales the other day, where she didn't make her reserve. The race panned out well as they had gone hard up front."
David Probert took the riding plaudits after securing a double which was initiated by a 24-length success on Macaque (1-16) from the yard of Andrew Balding in the mile maiden and completed on the Philip Hide-trained Buzz Lightyere (13-8) in the concluding mile handicap.