There were plenty of bright prospects on show as the William Hill St Leger Festival kicked off with a bang on Wednesday at Doncaster racecourse.
Shabaaby (13-8) confirmed he was a two-year-old on the up with a comfortable win in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes for trainer Owen Burrows and jockey Jim Crowley.
The colt was a class apart from his rivals as he drew clear of the field, coming home seven lengths in front of John Kirkup (9-2).
Burrows said: “That was very smooth, he’s done it very nicely. He’s improving with every run which is great. He settles well and then when you pull him out he’s got a fair amount of gears.
“He’s still a frame really, with a winter on his back and some time to strengthen up he’s one to look forward to.”
Nobleman’s Nest (5-2f) bounced back to form in the Owlerton Greyhound Stadium Nursery Handicap after disappointing in the Gimcrack at York on his last start.
He readily put the race to bed under Silvestre De Sousa with Crownthorpe (4-1) coming home second and Placebo Effect (8-1) in third.
Winning trainer Simon Crisford said: “York was a massive disappointment, we couldn’t work out why he ran so badly and nothing came to light after it.
“But he’s put that race to bed very quickly there and travelled well. He’s a nice, uncomplicated and straightforward colt.
“We came here still having lots of belief in him and we fancied him to win. We’ll see what’s round the corner for him.”
Encore D’Or (13-2) won in good style in the Pepsi Max Scarbrough Stakes under Ryan Moore as he gained his first win on turf.
Robert Cowell’s sprinter picked up late to score by a length from Clive Cox’s 33-1 outsider Razzmatazz.
Greg Chung, assistant to Robert Cowell said: “It worked out well, we got into the race nicely and Ryan gave him a great ride.”
Silvestre De Sousa completed a double on the day as he rode Lahore (7-2f) to an impressive victory in the William Hill Get The App On Google Play Handicap Stakes for trainer Roger Varian.
The three-year-old readily drew clear of his rivals and came home four lengths in front of Bengal Lancer (9-2).
Sam Freedman, representing Varian, said: “The question mark today was would he get the trip as he’s quite keen but he settled well and travelled into the race nicely.
“He’s still learning about it all so whether Roger throws him in the deep end in a higher grade just yet I’m not sure. He’s always shown us plenty at home and he’s a nice one for the future.”
Atzeni added: “He won well and I think the conditions possibly slowed down the rest of the field a bit which made his job easier.
“Maybe next year he can step back up to Group company, he’s still a bit immature.”
Varian sent out a quick double at Doncaster as Mount Logan (2-1) stuck on gamely to win the Sports ID – Strength In Sport Conditions Stakes
The six-year-old battled well to hold off the challenge of Red Verdon (5-1).
Freedman added: “He won the race last year and he’s been a good old horse for Roger. He’s been in the mix every race this year so it’s good to see him get his head back in front.”
Trainer Michael Mullineaux struck gold in the last as his Somewhere Secret (11-1) stuck his neck out to win the 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Handicap Stakes.
Ridden by Phil Dennis, the three-year-old was winning the first race of his career as he narrowly held off the late challenge of Suwaan (16-1).
A delighted Mullineaux said: “He really battled well there, they’ve gone very quick up front and he’s picked them off.
“The trip takes some getting today but it’s great to come to my home town and have a winner!”