Superior Mile (Group 3) 1m

  • (3yo+, 1m, Class 1, 8 runners)
  • Winner £34,026 2nd £12,900 3rd £6,456 4th £3,216 5th £1,614 6th £810
  • Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places in the back straight)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 1m 43.35s
  • Off time: 14:40:32
  • Last Updated: September 7 2013, 15:51 BST

Brian Ellison claimed a first Group-race success of his training career when 22/1 outsider Top Notch Tonto caused a turn-up in the Superior Mile at Haydock.

Top Notch Tonto gallops clear to score at Haydock
Top Notch Tonto gallops clear to score at Haydock

The pace was fairly slow in the early stages but jockey Dale Swift seized the initiative when stoking his mount up to make rapid progress and take the lead fully two furlongs from home.

He suddenly shot into a clear advantage, which none of his rivals were ever able to claw back and Top Notch Tonto went on to beat Hay Dude (14/1) by two and a quarter lengths, with Gabrial (11/1) a solid third.

Favourite Montiridge was a little fresh in the early stages and nothing left to give close home, while Godolphin's Tawhid was unsuited by being asked to make up so much ground from off a slow pace and could never land a blow.

Stan James cut Top Notch Tonto to 8/1 favourite from 25/1 for the Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on September 28, Sky Bet are 12s from 33s and the sponsors 14s from 16s, but Ellison warned his charge's participation would be ground dependent.

Ellison said: "It's a bit of a shock really. I came here thinking they were going to use the old course and I thought with the softer ground we'd have a chance. He loves heavy ground.

"They've used the new course and the lads (jockeys) were saying after the first race it was a bit quicker, but he's won it well. I always thought he was a good horse and told the owner he was Listed (class) anyway.

"I won't be going back to a handicap now. We've won on good ground but ideally he wants it softer like today. I thought about going to France for the ground. We'll see what's around.

"He's still in the Cambridgeshire and I think he'd only get a penalty, so after the way he's won today, he'd look well-in. That would be very ground dependent, though. He does want plenty of cut (in the ground).

"He's such a happy horse. We had an open day at Malton and everybody wanted to see him because he's so flashy.

"Dale has worked for me for a long time since he was a 7lb claimer. He's very underrated."

It was also Swift's first Group success and he told Channel 4 Racing: "He's got a massive heart, he's so game and travelled so well turning in, I had to let him go. He kept on going to the line and he never felt like stopping. I think he's still improving."

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