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.
“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.”
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.”