Leger winner’s Mastery returns at Doncaster

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Ted Durcan, who landed the St Leger on Mastery in 2007, enjoyed another winning ride at Doncaster when steering the lightly-raced Exosphere to a clear-cut victory in the Ladbrokes Classified Stakes.

Successful at Lingfield at the end of April just two weeks after making a promising debut at Newmarket, Exosphere (4-1) took another step forward over an extended mile and a quarter.

Never par off the pace, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt was urged by Durcan to get the better of long-time leader Subcontinent just over a furlong out and he went on to pull two and a quarter lengths clear.

“Sir Michael has always liked him a lot. He’s been a bit weak and racing is helping him mentally. He’s certainly going the right way,” said Durcan.

“The ground is as lively as he would want it, but he handled it well enough. He’s got a lot of scope and hopefully he’ll strengthen up.

“It’s hard out there with a big, strong headwind, so I wanted a lead for as long as I could.”

Raaqy (9-2 joint-favourite), a daughter of 2008 1000 Guineas winner Natagora, made a highly-pleasing debut to win the Ladbrokes British Stallions EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

The Barry Hills-trained filly looked trapped on the near side rail but Paul Hanagan, who took the Investec Oaks 12 months ago on Taghrooda, managed to wriggle her through in the final furlong and she got up to deny Alsaaden and give owner the first and second.

“I didn’t expect them to come over to the stands side. I thought they might have gone up the middle, but she was very brave, especially for first time out,” said Hanagan.