South Central On Track in Norfolk Stakes
1st (11) South Central 11-4 Fav
Trainer Howard Johnson celebrated a second Norfolk Stakes success when his 11/4 favourite South Central prevailed by a head from Spin Cycle.
The Forest Camp colt made every yard to emulate Masta Plasta who struck in the Group 2 in 2005.
This victory will have significantly enhanced the value of South Central who remains for sale.
Co.Durham-based Johnson said: “I would like to sell him and I think he would be great in America with an American pedigree.That would be the plan and then we would restock.
“I nearly had him sold a fortnight ago - then it went quiet and we took the chance to run him.
“He did a bit of work the other day on the equitrack and he got Tombi off the bridle and he’s nearly the favourite for the Wokingham. I thought that will do me!
“He would actually not want the ground as fast as that and he wants six furlongs rather than five.
“This is a great result for the North. We had two winners at Cheltenham, one at Liverpool and one here. It’s lovely - hopefully we can keep it going.
“I couldn’t do it without (owner) Graham (Wylie). He’s the top man. When I die, I will take him with me!”
For winning jockey Robert Winston it was a first Royal Ascot winner since returning from a lengthy ban.
He said: “Howard said he is the best two-year-old that he’s ever had and the class he showed me when winning (a maiden) at Carlisle, there was only going to be one way he was going - that was Royal Ascot.
“We’ve been comparing this horse to Masta Plasta and he(South Central) has got a lot more talent and a lot more speed.”
Winston added: “I didn’t have a point to prove. It’s great to be here and it’s a great bonus to win but there’s other meetings and I’m still happy to ride at them. Listen, I’ve had a year off and it’s great to be back riding. It doesn’t make any difference where I’m riding.”
SO NEAR FOR SMART COLT
Bryan Smart continued his excellent record with juveniles at Royal Ascot when Spin Cycle lost out by a head to South Central in the Norfolk Stakes.
“Almost but not quite. It’s not a bad record - three two-year-old wins and a second here in the last four years,” said Smart. “He did hit the front at one stage and really proved himself today. He’ll be sticking to five furlongs and go for the Molecomb and things like that.”
Third-placed Prolific is likely to be stepping up in distance. “It will definitely be six furlongs next time,” said Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.
“They’ve gone off very fast and he was just having to do too much to hold his position and he’ll be better at six. He has got such a long stride and was catching them at the end. We’ll see what Richard Hannon thinks but maybe he’ll go for the July Stakes and then definitely the Gimcrack.”
John Best, who saddled Flashmans Papers and Elegant Cad to finish fourth and fifth, added: “Steve (Drowne) said possibly the run the other day took the edge off Flashmans Papers in the closing stages and Liam (Keniry) said the ground went against the other. I’m lucky to have two good horses like that at the same times and I have some better ones still to run.”
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