Withhold returns to winning ways at Newmarket

Oisin Murphy rides Listed-race double at Newmarket

Oisin Murphy strengthened his position at the top of the Flat jockeys’ championship with a Listed-race double at Newmarket

Although the former Northumberland Plate and Cesarewitch winner may no longer be the force he once was, the Roger Charlton-trained seven-year-old demonstrated he still retains plenty of ability in landing the mile-and-three-quarter feature usually staged at Nottingham.

Out in front from leaving the stalls, the 5-4 favourite stayed on in tenacious fashion under the reigning champion to cross the line three lengths clear of Dubious Affair.

Assistant trainer Harry Charlton said: “A mile and six is probably short of his best, but he was given a nice ride in that he made it as strong a test as he could, as I think in his old age he is a bit idle now.

Withhold returns in triumph under Oisin Murphy

“Even when he had 20lb in hand when he won the Cesarewitch, Silvestre (de Sousa) had to ask him to go a mile down.

“It was a slight drop in grade and that will have got his confidence back up. He has really been a star and is one of the good stories in racing.”

A return to Pattern company is likely to be on the cards for Withhold ahead of a potential trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, from which he was late absentee in 2018 after breaking a blood vessel.

Charlton added: “We could go and have a look at the Lonsdale Cup at York, but the race at Doncaster which is over two and a quarter miles might be more suitable. We will have a discussion with the owner as he may want to go to Australia again afterwards.”

Katara in charge at Newmarket

Plenty of big days look to be ahead for the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Katara judging by her facile four-length success under Murphy in the British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes.

Murphy said of the 6-5 winner: “Sir Michael liked her coming into the race and she is progressing. Her dam stayed a mile and six, but this filly is not short of gears.

“We will see what Sir Michael wants to do, but she could stay at a mile and a half for the moment. I’m sure Sir Michael will go step by step with her. She could end up getting to a high level.”

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