It was quite a low-key week for the yard at York with just Molatham bringing back one of the winners' prizes, but several of the yard favourites ran solid races during what was a high-class few days on the Knavesmire.
There's usually a fair bit of attention on the most valuable maiden run on these shores anyway, but after Mums Tipple dismantled a numerically strong field by 11 lengths in the Sales race the previous day there was even more focus drawn to how Molatham would perform in Thursday's £70,000 Convivial, the Shadwell-owned horse having finished a close second to Mums Tipple on debut. The step up to seven furlongs promised to suit the son of Night Of Thunder and he put in a very professional performance, travelling well and holding off the more experienced Celtic Art by a more-comfortable-than-it-sounds neck when he got into a battle. He has a few options at pattern level to consider now and will hopefully make up into a nice prospect as a three-year-old.
Either side of Molatham breaking his maiden there were likeable performances from several other yard inmates. On the same day both Gibbs Hill and Salayel finished fourth in very competitive handicaps, the former cutting through the pack in some style before just not quite having enough in reserve to get to the winner. It was great to see him bounce back after his Northumberland Plate run and justify all of the work that went into getting him back on the track after nearly two years off. Salayel didn't quite travel as well as she can (see Newmarket run!) but showed she can battle when not completely at her best and she remains a horse with potential to rate higher.
Saturday was another day of solid performances with Cape Byron, Barsanti and Stylistique all thereabouts in good-quality events. Cape Byron bounced back well from a low-key July Cup run to be placed at Group level for the first time, with a well-run race suiting a horse whose best performances have come in those big-field handicaps with an end-to-end gallop. He has a fair few options on the horizon. Barsanti has been a fantastic performer for us over the years and went close to picking up the big one when looking a little unlucky in the first £1m Ebor. Whether he would have picked up the pretty decisive winner is of course questionable, but being stopped in his run at a crucial time almost certainly cost him a couple of places at least. It was great to see him run more like himself and relish going by horses having run in a lot of small-field Listed races that haven't brought out the best in him.
It would've been difficult to pick out the maiden in the field two furlongs from home in the G3 Supreme Stakes with Stylistique going as well as anything. Yvonne Jacques' filly has now shown a good level of ability on each of her three starts and was a little unfortunate not to pick up black type on this occasion.
Last but by no means least it was a very welcome sight seeing Spanish City get his head in front again on Sunday at Yarmouth. With Spanish City's sights lowered slightly from the hugely competitive handicaps he typically plies his trade in, Jack Mitchell always looked confident that he'd get there and the winning margin was eventually a tidy 3/4L. A horse who rarely runs a bad race, it was a deserved return to the winners' enclosure.