Dr Simpson bags Mercury Stakes


Dascombe filly leads British domination at Dundalk

Dr Simpson sprang a surprise as British raiders dominated the Al Basti Equiworld Mercury Stakes at Dundalk.

The visiting contingent were minus their apparent best hope even before the five-furlong Group Three got under way – when El Astronaute broke through the front of the stalls and had to be withdrawn.

Hit The Bid was therefore sent off an odds-on favourite, as he sought victory in the race for the second successive year in the absence of his original market rival.

But instead it was to be Tom Dascombe’s juvenile filly who prevailed by three-quarters of a length at 16-1 under Rory Cleary – chased home by her fellow two-year-old Dream Shot, with the staying-on Corinthia Knight a further head back in third and Hit The Bid fading into fourth.

Dr Simpson took advantage of a significant weight-for-age concession from her elders – breaking well to lead early, before being passed mid-race by Hit The Bid but then producing another burst of speed to move clear in the final furlong.

She had won just one of her previous seven career starts in a busy campaign but could boast placed form in Listed company at York and Newbury, and was fourth on her previous outing in Ayr’s Harry Rosebery Stakes.

After his successful first ride for Dascombe’s Cheshire yard, Cleary said: “She’s very straightforward and simple.

“She hit the gates well, travelled strongly all the way and picked up nice and smart.

“Tom rang me before the race and told me she was straightforward and to keep it simple.

I hope it’ll be the first of many rides for him.

” After John Quinn’s El Astronaute had provided his dramatic preface to the race, unable therefore to add to his two mid-summer wins on trips to Ireland, Cleary soon had reason to be confident he was getting the better of Hit The Bid.

He added: “It’s a chunky weight allowance, and a great opportunity.

“She shows loads of pace, and it’s hard to peg them back with just 8-4 on their back – it’s a big help.

“Hit The Bid is a speedy horse, but he came off it before I did, and I was confident that I had plenty there to get me all the way to the line.

“That’s brilliant – and thank God it was 8-4, because I probably wouldn’t have been riding otherwise.”

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