Balding runner takes Zetland Gold Cup spoils.
Andrew Balding’s five-year-old was demoted to second for bumping initial runner-up Master The Stars, but there was no problem this time.
Silvestre de Sousa always had Good Birthday (13-2) close to the pace set by First Impression, sitting patiently before making his move over two furlongs out.
He kicked for home before the final furlong and held the staying-on 100-30 favourite Makram to land the spoils by half a length.
“I’m really pleased. Obviously he was a little unlucky last time. The visor has really helped him and Silvestre has given him a lovely ride,” said Balding.
“I’m thrilled to win an important race. I won it early in my training career (with Chantaco in 2006) and I remember my dad winning it years ago. It’s a nice race to win.
“They’ve done a good job with the prize money and it’s worth going up there.”
Balding will now look at more big handicaps such as the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes and the John Smith’s Cup for the gelding, owned by King Power Racing.
“It just depends. If he stays further we might look at the Duke of Edinburgh at Ascot, but he’ll get a John Smith’s Cup entry. We’ll just see what the handicapper does.”
De Sousa was completing a double after steering 4-6 favourite Greek Kodiac to victory for Michael Bell in the Join Racing TV Now Selling Stakes.
Runninwild stunned punters when striking at 200-1 in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Median Auction Maiden Stakes on his third start after two uninspiring runs.
Always close up, Runninwild asserted in the final furlong to win cosily by three-quarters of a length from newcomer Maywake under David Allan.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a 200-1 shot in my life. I’ve had a few placed horses at really big odds, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a winner at that price,” said Duffield.
“We’re not surprised he’s won because we’ve always liked the horse. It’s just that he had a poor introduction in his first couple of runs.
“His first run at Thirsk he fell out of the boxes and the jockey couldn’t get him motivated. It’s so difficult when they’re so far behind. He’s a big, gangly horse.
“Then the second time he ran, David (Allan) gave him a lovely ride except the ground was soft and claggy at Carlisle and he hated it, so today was the first opportunity to show what he might do on the track.
“At home he’s always shown promise, so we’re not surprised he’s won. I’m more surprised he was allowed to go off at 200-1. Having said that, he did have two ordinary runs to start with.”
The North Yorkshire handler believes Runninwild has the scope to build on this performance.
“He’s a big, gangly horse so he might keep improving. That’s what we’re hoping,” she said.
“As for his distance you could drop him in trip. George (Duffield, husband) rides him at home and he’s always liked him. He’s of the opinion we could stay at six furlongs or drop down to five. He has got plenty of speed and he’s still learning.”
There was a 100-1 winner at Leicester where the Mick Appleby-trained Katie’s Kitten got off the mark at the 13th attempt in the Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant Fillies’ Handicap in the hands of 3lb claimer Theodore Ladd.