Betfair Jockey Club Stakes
|Group 2, Newmarket 15:00
1m 4f, Class 1
|Saturday 1st May 2021|
1 Sir Ron Priestley 15/8JF
2 Pyledriver 15/8JF
3 Thunderous 14/1
5 ran Distances: 2¼l, 2l, 3½l
Time: 2m 32.54s (slow by 2.44s)
Sir Ron Priestley takes the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes under Franny Norton 🏆 pic.twitter.com/hnh6y77Icl— Racing Tales (@Racing_Tales) May 1, 2021
Second in the 2019 St Leger to Logician, Mark Johnston’s entire Sir Ron Priestley was forced to miss the whole of 2020 through injury.
He returned to action at Nottingham recently with a good win at Listed level and bounded into an early lead under Franny Norton, where he was tracked by stablemate Thunderous.
Pyledriver – third in last year’s Leger – was sent off the 15-8 joint-favourite along with the winner and emerged as the biggest threat in the closing stages.
Martin Dwyer pulled him out to challenge and he briefly looked like making Sir Ron Priestley fight for it, but when Pyledriver began to run around under pressure, the Johnston raider kicked on again to win by two and a quarter lengths in impressive fashion.
Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: “Given what he did as a three-year-old, and largely because of who his brother (Subjectivist) is, we spent most of the winter thinking he was going to be a Cup horse this year.
“The Further Flight was a stepping-stone to the Yorkshire Cup and the Ascot Gold Cup – that is certainly the plan we had in our heads going to Nottingham.
“The way he travelled and picked up at Nottingham made us think a little bit and off the back of that we made the entry here and in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot.
“Today was a great opportunity to find out what we should be aiming for for the rest of the year.
“In a small field on a track like this there were going to be no excuses and we were going to come out of here either knowing he wasn’t good enough at this trip and we were going to have to go back to Plan A of being a stayer, or the result we have had.
“This result means that certainly in the short-term he can stay away from his brother. I wouldn’t rule them out meeting at Goodwood further down the line.”
On his injury problems, he added: “He had a suspensory ligament issue in the spring of last year and we were trying to get him back for the Long Distance Cup at Ascot at the backend.
“Then he fractured pelvis around September time. They were two unrelated injuries, but combined, it kept him off the track for over 18 months.
“The next 24 hours are always nerve-racking with a horse with a history like that, so fingers crossed.”
Jockey Club Stakes
£90,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 4f, Class 1
Going: Good to Firm
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (5) Sir Ron Priestley 5 9-1 Mark Johnston Franny Norton 15/8F
2 (2) 2¼ Pyledriver 4 9-1 William Muir & Chris Grassick Martin Dwyer 15/8F
3 (3) 2 Thunderous 4 9-1 Mark Johnston Ryan Moore 14/1
4 (1) 3½ Al Zaraqaan 4 9-1 William Haggas Jim Crowley 7/2
5 (4) 7 Pablo Escobarr 5 9-1 William Haggas Tom Marquand 10/1