Benoit De La Sayette claimed his second victory in the Pertemps Network Lincoln at Doncaster, riding top-weighted Migration to success in a perfectly-timed challenge.
De La Sayette, who won the traditional feature race on the first day of the British Flat season in 2021 aboard Haqeeqy, was crowned champion apprentice last term. Migration, trained by David Menuisier, had won valuable handicaps at Goodwood and York in the summer of 2021, but only raced three times last season.
The seven-year-old, who was an 18/1 chance for his Town Moor return, was ridden at the rear of the field for much of the straight-mile contest before powering home against the stands’ rail, finishing a length-and-a-quarter in front of Awaal.
De La Sayette said: “He’s a horse that likes to come from off the pace. He came from off the pace in the Balmoral on Champions Day but I could never find the gaps. He finished off that race really strong, so we thought we’d try the same tactics today.
“The Lincoln is the Lincoln and it is very hard to find the gaps, so I’m very happy I found them at the right time. He really ran on in the last furlong and hit the line strong.
“To carry top-weight in that ground, it was a great performance. I ride a lot for Mr Menuisier, we have a good connection, and he told me to just do the same as at Ascot, as he just loves to come from off the pace. Luckily he was right.
“Last year went so well for me and to win this again, two years after winning on Haqeeqy right at the start of my career, is a fairytale.”
Menuisier said: “Not many top weights who are seven win the Lincoln but he’s so lightly raced, he doesn’t have much mileage.
“He’s been giving us the right signals all the way through so we were actually quite confident. He flies on this ground, anything from good to soft to heavy is absolutely fine.
“We’ll have to go into Pattern races now. He’s won that off 107 with a 3lb claim, he’ll be around 110 now, so I think that’s the end of handicaps and we’ll look at black type races – hopefully he can handle it.
“We’ll be patient anyway, because he’s very good fresh. He’s already made his money for this year and next – it’s a great way to start the season.”
Trainer Menuisier said he was confident of the horse’s abilities and plans to move him into Pattern races.
Runner-up Awaal also performed well, with trainer Simon Crisford expressing satisfaction with his performance and considering a step up in distance: “He’s run really well, I’m very happy with him. We’ve got a lovely horse for the rest of the season ahead of us and he likes that ground.
“It’s the name of the game and you’ve got to take it (defeat) on the chin.
“We might step him up in distance.”
Third-placed Baradar’s trainer George Boughey was also pleased with the horse’s performance: “I’m very happy, he’s run a big race and I think seven furlongs is his ideal trip.
“He bolted up here over seven on this ground. Kevin (Stott) said he just didn’t quite see it out as well as possibly stouter-bred horses.”