One for the North

  • Last Updated: March 29 2014, 16:13 GMT

Cock Of The North sprang a surprise for trainer Scott Dixon and 7lb claiming apprentice Matthew Hopkins in the opening race of the new turf Flat season at Doncaster.

  • Cock Of The North (right) scores under Matthew Hopkins
  • Graphic (right) holds off Fencing and Custom Cut to win the Doncaster Mile 

The 14/1 shot forged past long-time leader Paddy Again inside the final furlong to land the William Hill Download The App Brocklesby Conditions Stakes by three lengths.

Flyball was another two and a quarter lengths away third, while the well-backed 9/2 favourite Escalating weakened tamely out of contention after having every chance two furlongs out.

Paul Dixon, part-owner of Cock Of The North and the winning trainer's father, said: "Scott can't be here, he's an usher at the wedding of the brother of his partner.

"He tried everything to get out of it but there was no way.

"He'd been working well at home and I think his sire (Cockney Rebel) is very underrated for a Guineas winner.

"Young Matthew has done all the work on him at home and that will do his confidence the world of good.

"Mr (Bill) Turner (trainer of runner-up) came up to me to say we had a nice horse which means a lot seeing as this is 'his' race."

The William Haggas-trained Graphic continued his improvement with a gritty display in the William Hill In The App Store Doncaster Mile.

Progressive last season, the five-year-old seized the initiative at halfway and took three lengths out of the field.

Custom Cut and Fencing set off in pursuit but could never quite get on terms with Graphic (7/2), who held off the latter by a neck under Seb Sanders.

Sanders said: "He was lovely and relaxed but he wanted to go on at the three-and-a-half marker.

"He got a bit tired in the last 150 yards, but it was his first run of the year, so he probably warranted getting a bit tired.

"I think we'll know how much he's progressed from last year when he has his next run.

"My last ride here was for Mr Haggas on Conduct and he won the November Handicap."

Connections later intimated that the Group Three Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket could be the next port of call for Graphic.

Richard Fahey's incredible Brae Hill continued his love affair with the straight mile on Town Moor by just holding off Stand My Ground in the William Hill Spring Mile.

Second, first and third in the respective last three runnings of the Lincoln, connections had to make do with the consolation race this year.

Ridden positively by David Nolan, he shot two lengths clear with two furlongs to run but David O'Meara's Stand My Ground pressed him all the way inside the final furlong.

The 10/1 shot was not for passing, though, and held on by half a length.

Yourartisonfire, part-owned by footballers John O'Shea and Wayne Rooney, was third, with Farlow, a stablemate of the winner, fourth.

With Fahey and winning owner Dr Marwan Koukash in Dubai, assistant trainer Robin O'Ryan said: "He's a star and he just comes alive here.

"Even going down to the start I could tell he'd run a big race. He won a claimer last year, you know.

"David only does 9st and if he could do any lower he'd have a lot more winners."

Nolan said: "It's been a long winter so that's a great start.

"He runs well fresh and is the most genuine horse I've ever ridden.

"I watched the videos of his runs in the Lincoln and I just tried to ride him in exactly the same way.

"He doesn't quicken he just keeps finding."