Sunday 7 May

Northern Express lives up to name as Dods strikes again in Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup

Northern Express provided trainer Michael Dods with his third victory in the Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup this afternoon, the feature race of the Thirsk Hunt Cup Coronation Celebration Raceday.

The County Durham handler landed the historic mile handicap with Osteopathic Remedy in 2010 and was on the scoresheet again with Finn Class in 2016.

Ridden handily by Callum Rodriguez from stall two, 11/2 chance Northern Express travelled sweetly into contention off the home turn and opened up a length advantage entering the final furlong.

Last year’s third Pisanello emerged as a big danger from the rear of the field, with the veteran Safe Voyage also looking a threat, but Northern Express asserted close home to win by three-quarters of a length. Pisanello was second, with Safe Voyage a half-length further back in third.

Dods said: “I was worried about the ground once I saw the rain coming. We rode Northern Express slightly differently as a result and had him a lot handier because we were drawn low – I did not want him making up a lot of ground on this going. He has done it well and, to be fair, he probably got to the front too soon but, when the second came to him, he picked up again.

“He won at York last year but one of his best performances was down at Ascot in the seven-furlong handicap. Graham Lee rode him that day and just said that they did not go quick enough. You would not think that in a big runner handicap at Ascot but he is a horse with a massive engine if things go right for him.”

Northern Express wins the Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup (credit: Hannah Ali)