It’s been a frustrating season for Newmarket trainer Marco Botti but winning a £120,000 handicap should go some way to lifting the spirits of the Italian handler.
Golden Steps hung on gamely to win a typically competitive renewal of the seven-furlong event after hitting the front over a furlong out under regular pilot Frankie Dettori.
The visibly thrilled winning trainer said: “I’m absolutely delighted, we’ve had this race in mind for him for some time so it’s a big thrill for it to pay off.
“He’s seen it out well, he loved the ground and Frankie gave him a great ride although I thought for a minute that he was just getting there too soon but he ran to the line and he’s a very solid, honest horse.
“He’s very versatile and we’ll probably go for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood now. The owner is keen to have a runner at Goodwood, he sponsors the meeting with Al Shaqab.
“He won the consolation race last year but he should get into the Stewards’ Cup this year. “
Winning jockey Frankie Dettori said: “I’m married to the horse, I ride him in all the big handicaps.
“He’s got a mind of his own but when he’s on a going day like today, he’s pretty good.
“He likes straight tracks and things worked out well for him today.”
“He’s the sort of horse that would be tailed off when sent off favourite, but he runs in all the big handicaps and he will always pop up at least once in a season.”
Richard Fahey ran a trio in the competitive sprint, with Heaven’s Guest and Jack Garritty setting for a three-quarters of a length second.
Fahey said: “I don’t think the draw in one helped us. He just loves these big mile handicaps.
“Growl was fourth and the other horse (Farlow) was sixth. Heaven’s Guest is a star, Growl could drop back to six furlongs if we wanted. I’m happy with it all… but we didn’t win!
“All three horses are back in the International at Ascot and if we got soft ground there, that would suit them all.
“Growl is in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and there are plenty of big handicaps for the others.”
Beckett doubles up on golden afternoon
It was a golden afternoon for the Ralph Beckett yard with a double at York and another brace on the Darley July Cup card.
Fresh from riding Limato to victory in the Group 1 feature for Henry Candy, Harry Bentley doubled up when steering Gold Faith to success in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap Stakes for Beckett.
Following his two and a quarter-length victory over Rock Spirit, assistant trainer Jack Knight said: “It was a good performance. He did very well over the winter, but Kempton went against him last time.
“They just crawled in a race where we concentrated on settling him and that ended up being his downfall, as they went no pace and they just got going too late.
“Today, they went a much better pace and he showed his true colours. I still think there is more to come.
“I think he will get a bit further, but he needs quick ground. He was markedly below par at Epsom on soft ground – he was completely out on his feet, so he does need quicker ground.”
Marco Botti had no complaints after Rockspirit finished second under Ryan Moore.
The Italian handler feels the son of Fastnet Rock still has a bit to learn however.
He admitted: “He ran a good race and Ryan said he did not do anything wrong in the race.
“Unfortunately, I think the handicapper has been a bit harsh with him. He won a maiden and he finished second. Then he put him up another 3lb.
“He is still learning. He stays and will get better with time, but at the moment he is not a very well handicapped horse.
“I would like to take a bit of time with him because, mentally, he is still quite a little immature. He was sweating up a little bit and needs to grow up a bit.
“The ability is there, though.”