Winning Story (7/1), trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, took the 1m6f Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships in a course record time of 3m15.18s, one and a half seconds faster than the previous best.
“Winning Story did not jump that well,” said the jockey, “and I was not as handy as I had wanted to be. It was a strong pace and it suited the horse – he galloped to the line well.
“Winning Story likes this surface. There was a bit of trouble on the inside but I had that much horse underneath me that when I asked him to go, he went on for me.
“It is very nice to be riding for the team.”
Bin Suroor said: “Winning Story is doing really, really well and the jockey gave him a really good ride. Silvestre looked after him during the race and the way he won was great.
“I wasn’t too worried about his position. I did say to ride him handy but the horse was unlucky at the start. It is a two-mile race so the jockeys can take their time during the race.
“This horse may go next to the Chester Cup and then a race such as the Yorkshire Cup, races over two miles will suit him.
“I am pleased with my stable and we have made a good start to the season with nine winners already, my horses are a month ahead than usual. We will be using Silvestre this summer – he is a very good jockey.”
It was a bittersweet moment for Watersmeet in the second race, the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Race.
The six-year-old looked the winner until a furlong out, when Winining Story came with a wet sail to take the lead and the plaudits in a course record time of 3m. 15.18s. The Dansili gelding, sent off at 7/1 had to be satified with second, beaten a length and three-quarters.
Trainer Mark Johnston said: “Obviously second sucks. Halfway around the bend, I could see he was travelling better than anything in front of him, but I hadn’t looked behind him.
“I didn’t think there were any dangers in front of him and when he hit the front I thought he was the winner. No sooner than I had thought that than I saw the other horse coming.
“To be honest I saw the Godolphin colours coming and I thought it was the other one [Natural Scenery].
“We are entered for the Chester Cup in May, it is a different kettle of fish to going around here as it is obviously very tight around there.
“The horse has never been in better form and I don’t think he has ever been higher-rated. If he can transfer his form to Turf, he is more consistent on the all-weather, races like the Chester Cup are not beyond him.”
Jane Knight, representing her father, owner John Barson, added: “I thought for a lovely moment we were going to do it. He was hanging on well.
“He is a lovely horse and Mark (Johnston) bought him at Tattersalls as a yearling and he has done really well for us. I am just sorry father isn’t here. He is 90 and just didn’t fancy the drive down from Rutland. Even though I offered to drive – maybe that is what put him off! He will definitely be watching at home”
2.10pm £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships, 1m 7f 169y
1 WINNING STORY 4 9-01 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor Silvestre De Sousa 7/1
2 WATERSMEET 6 9-05 J Barson Mark Johnston Joe Fanning 7/1
3 STEVE ROGERS (IRE) 6 9-05 Nurlan Bizakov Roger Varian Andrea Atzeni 16/1
Time: 3m 15.18s (new course record)
Distances: 1¾, ¾
Tote Win: £7.80 Places: £2.60; £2.50; £5.20 Exacta: £64.40
Breeding: b g New Approach (IRE) – Tanzania (USA) (Darshaan)
Career best for Steve Rogers
Six-year-old Steve Rogers, with Andrea Atzeni up, kept on well in third behind the victor Winning Story, who set a new course record time (3m 15.18s), in the 14-runner £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships. Beaten one and three quarters length and three quarters of a length, he finished clear of the fourth.
Trainer Roger Varian was delighted with the performance of the 16/1 chance. The Newmarket-based handler said: “Steve Rogers ran a blinder in what was a tough race.
“He had a good passage around and enjoyed a good split coming into the straight. He picked up and finished his race off well but he did not do quite as well as the first two.
“But no complaints, he has arguably run a career-best race. There no immediate plans but he is a good solid stayer and sound and healthy. He tries his best and is a lovely horse”