On a very valuable card at Southwell, it was the Bryan Smart trained Dubai Hills who put his best foot forward and rewarded favourite backers in the feature race to win in a tight finish with Frontier Fighter.
In a race worth £12,000 to the winner, it attracted a very strong line-up of previous winners on this surface such as the popular Aubrietia, along with Laffan and Frontier Fighter plus a few that hadn't run on the unique Fibresand surface before such as the improving Iptisam, top weight Galician and the ride of local top rider Hayley Turner, Clockmaker.
Dubai Hills raced close to the pace before he and Frontier Fighter started to pull clear of the remainder inside the final two furlongs and after six previous wins here, Dubai Hills knows exactly where the winning post is, and won by a hard fought neck to make it course win number seven.
The other feature race on the card was a 0-95 five furlong sprint run on the straight course in just less than a minute, and it was won by Bedloe's Island for local trainer Alan McCabe and in form jockey Martin Harley at odds of 33/1. He had recently moved yards from David O'Meara to Alan McCabe, who shares Averham Park Stables with David Brown. He has also had enormous stalls problems lately as well, refusing to go in twice since his last race, so that was all factored into his big price. It was a great finish with five across the track, but it was Bedloe's Island who burst through the middle of them to win by a head from Equitania, then another head to Royal Bajan in third.
Alpha Tauri recorded his sixth win here under top young rider Jack Garrity, a jockey to watch out for this winter on the all weather. It isn't often that a Southwell meeting goes by and Michael Appleby doesn't have a winner, and this one was no exception as No Win No Fee won the mile Class 6 handicap for stable jockey Andrew Mullen.
This weekend it is The Beer Festival Triple Header at the course, with Flat cards on Friday (11.50am start for 8 races), Saturday (scheduled 12.05pm start) and a Jumps meeting on Sunday which is programmed for 12.25.