10.06.2006 International


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Brazilian apprentice Silvestre de Sousa stole the limelight when he booted Handsome Cross home a narrow winner of the £50,000 GNER Scottish Cup at Musselburgh.

The 25-year-old came to Britain last year to ride for 'sprint king' David Nicholls and the move clearly proved worthwhile as he enjoyed his biggest success in the afternoon's feature event.

The finish was dominated by Nicholls' horses, with the Thirsk-based trainer saddling first, second and fourth in the 16-runner contest.

De Sousa, riding with all the dash associated with his more experienced colleagues, had Handsome Cross up with the leaders from the start before taking control inside the final furlong.

The 20-1 chance was strongly pressed by Peace Offering (25-1) but held on for a deserved neck verdict, with half a length back to Judd Street, the 6-1 favourite, and Merlin's Dancer (16-1) fourth.

"I was leading apprentice along with Nelson de Sousa - he's no relation we are just friends - back home. I've ridden 82 winners in Brazil and this was my fourth winner here," the jockey said after weighing in.

"I came to England last year to work for Dandy (Nicholls) and I rode on the all-weather for him.

"I was told to jump Handsome Cross out and keep him handy and wait until the last furlong. He's a nice horse to ride and I just gave him every chance today and I was always confident.

"I rode big winners in Brazil but this is my biggest winner."

Pat Cosgrave was banned for one day (June 25) for careless riding on the unplaced Peopleton Brook.

It took Milton Bradley 10-and-a-half hours to get to the course from his Chepstow base on Friday but it was worth it in the end when Bluebok recorded a comfortable success for his yard in the GNER Sprint Trophy.

The 14-1 chance was soon up with the leaders from his outside draw and quickening well for Tony Culhane he hit the front two furlongs out. Bradley's charge quickly had the race in safe keeping and ran on to win by two lengths from Glencairn Star.

"Tony said this horse bounced off the fast ground and he said he didn't get a flyer either," Bradley said. "He's won well from a bad stall and Tony was really impressed."

Northern Boy took the Balfour Kilpatrick Supply Chain Maiden Stakes to continue the fine run of form enjoyed by Thirsk trainer David Barron.

The heavily-backed 4-7 shot (including one bet of £25,000 at 8-11) had little difficulty landing the money as he drew readily clear for Phillip Makin to score unchallenged by six lengths from Penzo.

Barron has now saddled 30 winners this season, eight of which have come in the last 15 days.

"This is a nice horse," the handler said. "He's rated 78 and in theory they shouldn't put him up because he had nothing to do but win it.

"He's gradually learning his job and you'd like to think he could go for a decent handicap in time."

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