ANIMAL-LOVER Pat Downes struck lucky when he went out to buy a puppy – and ended up splashing out on two racehorses.
One of his impulse buys was Scottish Summit who won the feature race, the William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Stakes, at Redcar today.
The other horse, Mambila, also trained by Geoff Harker at Thirsk, won at Redcar last year at 33-1.
After watching Scottish Summit swoop late under Sam James, Mr Downes recalled: “Geoff was advertising some German Shepherd puppies and I didn't even know I was going to a racing stables when I set off to buy one. As soon as I walked in and saw the horses, I said 'Hey up, this is going to be an expensive day'. The rest is history."
The puppy, called Sabre, is now three-years-old and living with the property developer near Selby in North Yorkshire.
Mr Downes owns Scottish Summit with best pals Tony Banerjee, a London GP, and Noj Mather, a public relations consultant.
Geoff Harker said: "He hasn't been finishing his races for some reason, but he's always shown promise at home.
“We stepped him down to seven furlongs at Chester, but the jockey said he was being run off his feet, so we went back to Plan A and the mile and a quarter proved the key today.
"He's always run well on fast ground, so I was a bit dubious about the going today but he's done it well."
There was also a heart-warming tale behind Be Kool’s victory in the Follow @williamhillracing On Twitter Selling Stakes in the hands of Ben Robinson. Vets warned Malton trainer Brian Ellison at the start of the season that the gelding might never run again but he’s found a new lease of life since a joint operation.
"The surgery did the trick and he’s bounced back. He wouldn't have run today if it hadn't rained because he likes a bit of cut but he was a class above the others.”
The Tim Easterby-David Allan combination scored a quick-fire double with Grimsdyke and Kenny The Captain.
After Grimsdyke had stayed on well to win the Watch Race Replays At racingtv.com Handicap Stakes, Assistant Trainer William Easterby said: "He was unlucky last time at Southwell when he tripped coming out of the stalls and we thought he'd run well today because he likes the track."
Kenny The Captain hadn’t won for two years but led from start to finish for an easy win in the Watch Race Replays At racingtv.com Handicap Stakes.
High-flying Danny Tudhope also notched a double with Hard Solution, trained at Helmsley by David O'Meara, and Convict for the powerful William Haggas yard at Newmarket
Hard Solution was made to fight all the way by Lydiate Lady but had a neck to spare on the line.
Ian Williams, representing the Haggas stable, said: "He did it nicely and will be better over a mile. He's bred to stay so there should be some improvement to come."
A driving finish to the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Nursery Handicap saw Breguet Boy win in the hands of Callum Rodriguez for trainer Keith Dalgleish.
The meeting opened with a win for the Karl Burke-trained Solemn Pledge in the Best Flat Races Live On Racing TV Nursery Handicap.
Confidently ridden by three-pound claimer Harrison Shaw, the filly showed a good attitude and Assistant Trainer Joe O'Gorman said: "She enjoyed the cut in the ground but she’s still a bit green so there's still some improvement to come."
Main picture: Scottish Summit swoops late under Sam James