Torito records notable ‘Lester Piggott’ triumph at Epsom
Torito ran out a stylish winner of the first-ever Betfred Lester Piggott Handicap at Epsom on Saturday.
Epsom announced earlier this week the 10-furlong contest would be renamed to permanently honour one of the track’s greatest sons, and John and Thady Gosden’s colt triumphed in the manner of a smart operator.
Second to Ralph Beckett’s Derby runner Artistic Star at Sandown last time and holding an entry for the blue riband himself throughout the spring, the son of Kingman was given a fine ride by Benoit De La Sayette on his handicap bow.
Despite only hitting the front entering the final furlong, he had long looked the winner travelling smoothly in the hands of De La Sayette – who was happy to just keep the momentum going aboard the three-year-old and steering him in the right direction – with the 4-1 joint second favourite scoring by the best part of three lengths to book a possible trip to Royal Ascot.
John Gosden said: “It was nice ride and he had him in the perfect position where Lester (Piggott) would have told you to be, which is fourth or fifth with one horse inside you and only two wide to save ground so you could move where you want to. It was the perfect Piggott ride.
“They all get put in (the Derby) as yearlings so you can never read into a Derby entry as they are put in for £600 as a yearling, but look I like him and we will see if we can go to Royal Ascot. He will get bumped up a few pounds for that, but hopefully it won’t be mad.
“It was good form (he had coming into the race), but he has handled the ground well and I’m very pleased.”
Earlier, 8-1 shot Tatterstall was to the fore from the moment the stalls opened when landing the Aston Martin 3YO “Dash” Handicap for Michael Dods.
The son of Bungle Inthejungle was ridden by Conor Beasley, who said: “He had good speed and we had a good draw so we put that to good use. He’s won really nicely and it’s nice to get a winner on Derby day.”
Chloe Dods, representing her father added: “We thought he had a nice chance. He hung when winning on his first run at Wolverhampton, and then at York he was only beaten about two and three-quarter lengths.
“This was the obvious race to come for, and he likes the ground. Connor (Beasley) said he got headed, but he battled back.”
Eve Johnson Houghton’s Sheer Rocks (11-2) followed up his win at Ascot to down track specialist and 9-4 favourite Caius Chorister in the Rio Ferdinand Foundation Northern Dancer Handicap, while Hollie Doyle and Ruth Carr’s Badri (10-1) combined to claim the concluding JRA Tokyo Trophy Handicap.