Beasley wins Great Wilfrid to continue miracle recovery

Jockey Connor Beasley has returned this season from injury

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch ( 

 By Alex Wiltshire 4:20PM 13 AUG 2016 

Report: Ripon, Saturday

William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes, (Class 2 handicap), 6f, 3y0+

NAMEITWHATYOULIKE made all to run out a well-backed winner of the competitive William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap. The Bryan Smart-trained seven-year-old scored at odds of 16-1, having been 33-1 in the morning.

The victory in the traditional Ripon sprint was a landmark one for jockey Connor Beasley, who sustained multiple injuries in a fall at Wolverhampton in July last year.

Having been sidelined for eight months, three of which were spent in a custom-fitted body brace, Beasley returned in March and this win is the biggest of his career.

In the incident at Wolverhampton Beasley suffered a fractured skull, had bleeding in his brain, lost half an ear and smashed all his teeth. However, after winning a valuable handicap at Ascot in July, Beasley is making remarkable strides in his comeback.

“I’m pleased with the way things have gone since I’ve come back this season,” said Beasley. “That’s my 24th winner. I finished a close second twice on Spinatrix in this race in 2014 and 2013 so it is great to go one better.”

The £43,575 first prize is also the largest Nameitwhatyoulike has collected in his five-year career, and he showed a dogged attitude to keep his head in front on the near side as the field split into two.

Last year trainer Bryan Smart was not in the best of moods after the winner had failed by one to get into the main race only for several of the intended runners to be withdrawn due to the ground changing to soft.

“I wasn’t happy that day especially as the soft ground was ideal for him,” he said. “He had to run with top weight in the consolation race and was beaten a head.

“This season I have trained him for the race but I was worried about the ground, he wouldn’t want it any faster than this. His owner is away in America and I will discuss things with him before making any plans but I would say that Ayr is a definite possibility. He didn’t run too well in the Silver Cup last year but he’d had a harder season.”

The first four home came from the near-side group, with Intisaab grabbing second at odds of 7-1, while 2013 winner Baccarat finished third with Pipers Note fourth.

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