The Middleton Stakes at York and the Lockinge at Newbury are among the races likely to come under consideration for Nashwa following her creditable comeback run in Dubai last weekend.

John and Thady Gosden’s filly has struck gold three times in Group One company, landing the French Oaks and the Nassau Stakes in 2022 before adding the Falmouth Stakes to her CV last summer.

She was also placed against the colts in both the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes last season and headed for the Middle East to make her five-year-old debut on Dubai World Cup night.

Drawn widest of all at Meydan in stall 16, Nashwa managed to get into a prominent early position in the Dubai Turf and was not beaten far in the end – and connections are taking the positives out of her performance.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner-breeder Imad Alsagar, said: “Her chance was certainly compromised by the draw, but it is what it is. She’s run a super race and got a great ride and everything pretty much went to plan.

“She just had to use herself up a little too much, but she was beaten just over four lengths, so overall we were very encouraged really.

“We’d hope she’ll improve, as she did last season. She’s due back tomorrow and we’ll see how she is, but I think we’ll probably look at the mile, mile and a quarter races.”

Nashwa is entered in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes at York on May 16 and the Al Shaqab Lockinge at Newbury two days later. The daughter of Frankel appears likely to contest one or the other on her next appearance.

“Of course, it depends how she comes out of the race. She recovered fine, but we’ll see how she takes the trip home etc, and then we’ll make a plan,” Grimthorpe added

“She’s in the Middleton and the Lockinge and I think those would be the most likely potential targets.”

Bluestocking will have “unfinished business” to take care of when she returns to the track for her four-year-old season, with York’s Middleton Stakes or the Tattersalls Gold Cup possible early-season options.

Trained by Ralph Beckett, the Juddmonte-owned filly acquitted herself with real credit during her three-year-old campaign and although she failed to add to her Salisbury juvenile success, she finished outside the top three only once in six starts, rattling the crossbar in some of the biggest races of the season.

She had the misfortune of bumping into Aidan O’Brien’s Warm Heart on three occasions, including when placed at Royal Ascot, while it was another Ballydoyle filly, Savethelastdance, that thwarted her Irish Oaks bid in the dying strides.

The daughter of Camelot was last seen going down valiantly by a neck in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and connections are desperate to see if she can finally get her hands on a major middle-distance prize this term.

“Bluestocking is back and looks great. I’ve just seen her and we feel like we have a bit of unfinished business with her,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for Juddmonte.

“She’s gone close on a few occasions; her Irish Oaks run was obviously a big run and her Champions Day run was also huge.

“She looks great and she could start in the Middleton Stakes perhaps and there’s also the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland – she likes the Curragh, so that’s a possibility – and we will aim her at all those high-class middle-distance fillies’ races throughout the year.

“I think she has got a little stronger from three to four and she’s grown, so I think there is definitely some more to come from her.”

Kimpton Down handler Beckett may be without Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Westover this season, but he could be the man responsible for Juddmonte’s main Classic hopes in both the colts and fillies’ divisions.

Frankel colt Task Force found just Vandeek too good when second in the Middle Park Stakes as a two-year-old and is being prepared to head straight to Newmarket for the Qipco 2000 Guineas, where he is as short as 12-1 to emulate his sire.

Mahon continued: “Ralph says we have some lovely horses and I’m not sure we will have much for the trials – Ralph is indicating Task Force is going to go straight to the 2000 Guineas without going to a trial.

“Task Force is in great shape and I’ve just seen him and he looks to have wintered well. We’re very happy with him and if his work is good then he will go straight to Newmarket.”

Beckett and Juddmonte could also be represented in the following day’s Qipco 1000 Guineas by Oh So Sharp Stakes runner-up Skellet and Lingfield maiden winner Indelible, with both fillies pleasing their handler in the early parts of the spring.

Kingman filly Skellet is another who could head straight to Newmarket on the first weekend of May, with Indelible the most likely of the duo to take in one of the key trial races over the coming month.

“It’s a little bit of the same as Task Force with Skellet and we have two nice fillies there, as we also have a nice one called Indelible, who is a Shamardal out of Midday,” added Mahon.

“Indelible won her maiden nicely at the backend of last season and one or the other might run in a trial, with the other probably going straight to Newmarket.

“It’s just a case of working out over the next four weeks how they are training and see. They look well and Ralph is happy with where they are at.

“With every week that goes by, they will keep on improving and maybe if we were to run one, it might be Indelible who goes for a trial. But we’re not hung up on it either and if they both need a bit more time they can go straight to Classics from where they are.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui will roll back the years when they square off in the UK Snooker Championship final in York on Sunday.

Their clash comes 30 years after O’Sullivan reached his first UK final as a 17-year-old in 1993, while Ding’s first taste of UK glory came in 2005 when he saw off four-time winner Steve Davis at the age of 18.

The pair came through their respective semi-finals in contrasting circumstances on Saturday, with O’Sullivan easing past Hossein Vafaei 6-2, while Ding held his nerve to deny Judd Trump with a 6-4 win in the evening session.

O’Sullivan and Ding – still the two youngest winners of the prestigious trophy – boast 10 UK titles between them and the world number one quipped that he was motivated by the desire to deny his rivals the chance of more silverware.

“I’m just hanging around so people don’t get as good as a career as me,” joked O’Sullivan, who ruthlessly exploited a series of costly errors from his Iranian opponent to seal by far his most comfortable victory of a gruelling week.

“If I could stop (Mark) Selby winning a few and Judd winning a few, and Ding and (Neil) Robertson winning a few – just ruin their careers a little bit – that would be great. Sometimes that’s just a nice motivation to play.”

O’Sullivan, who had previously laboured through final-frame deciders against Robert Milkins and Zhou Yuelong, was still far from his best but managed to ruthlessly exploit a string of errors by Vafaei, who spurned a good chance in five of the six frames won by his opponent.

“I feel as fresh as a daisy,” added a revitalised O’Sullivan afterwards.

“These tournaments are not a problem. I can do it quite comfortably. I’m still happy to have got this far, it’s great and I have enjoyed my week.”

Sunday’s clash will also see a repeat of last year’s quarter-final when Ding dealt out a rare 6-0 whitewash to O’Sullivan before going on to the final, where he surrendered a 6-1 lead to fall 10-7 to Mark Allen.

The Chinese 36-year-old, who also won the tournament in 2009 and 2019, had arrived in York considering withdrawal due to a serious bout of ‘flu, but like O’Sullivan, had managed to chisel out final-frame wins over Allen, then Mark Williams in Friday’s last eight.

Trump, also clearly still feeling the effects of illness, had reached the last four despite playing far from his best and will have been motivated by the possibility of facing O’Sullivan in the final with the title and the world number one ranking also at stake.

Trump started well with two centuries in the first eight frames but he could not shake off the dogged Ding, with the pair locked together at 4-4 before Ding nudged through a tense ninth to put himself one frame from victory.

Trump had the first chance to stretch the tie into another decider but jawed a relatively-simple red to middle and Ding stepped in with a nerveless 84 clearance to black, including a stunning long red after straying out of position, to seal his swift return in the final.

Ding, who routinely saves his best form for York, admitted such a scenario had seemed impossible when he was ailing midway through his first-round match against Allen.

“A lot of fans were watching and I just wanted to finish it – it didn’t matter how well I played, maybe I lost and would go home, I’d just try my best,” he admitted.

Of his win over Trump, Ding added: “It was a very tough match and the last few reds were a bit scrappy, but to pot that long red and go on to win the frame is saying something to myself.

“I hadn’t seen myself playing like that for a long time.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is motivated by the opportunity to “ruin the careers” of his major rivals after he breezed into the ninth UK Championship final of his career with a 6-2 win over Hossein Vafaei in York.

Thirty years after he first won the title as a 17-year-old in 1993, O’Sullivan will face either Judd Trump or Ding Junhui on Sunday seeking to win a record-extending eighth crown and shut out one of the pair from building their own collection of silverware.

“I’m just hanging around so people don’t get as good as a career as me,” quipped O’Sullivan, who ruthlessly exploited a series of costly errors from his Iranian opponent to seal by far his most comfortable victory of a gruelling week.

“If I could stop (Mark) Selby winning a few, and Judd winning a few, and Ding and (Neil) Robertson winning a few – just ruin their careers a little bit – that would be great. Sometimes that’s just a nice motivation to play.”

O’Sullivan was hardly an underdog heading into his first meeting with Vafaei since their controversial Crucible clash in August, but the Iranian was certainly the man in form after rifling seven centuries across the tournament’s three previous rounds.

In contrast the 47-year-old O’Sullivan had laboured through consecutive final-frame deciders against Robert Milkins and Zhou Yuelong, often appearing wayward and unfocused for periods despite booking his place back in the last four.

While O’Sullivan looked more clear-headed throughout their quarter-final clash, his dominance was due in part to an underwhelming performance from Vafaei, for whom errors in five of the six frames won by his opponent served up a disappointingly one-sided encounter.

Vafaei ran aground on a break of 30 in the opener and O’Sullivan swept up with a break of 54 before a 113 in the second frame put him firmly in command.

Vafaei showed a glimmer of fight as his eighth century of the tournament started the charge back level, but O’Sullivan took an error-strewn fifth and restored his two-frame lead after Vafaei missed a shockingly easy red to the middle.

O’Sullivan jawed a shot to the same pocket in the next, but a missed black off its spot brought more pain for Vafaei and when he missed the same colour to the top pocket in the eighth frame, the Iranian’s hopes of reaching a first major career final were over.

“I feel as fresh as a daisy,” added a revitalised O’Sullivan afterwards. “These tournaments are not a problem. I can do it quite comfortably. I’m still happy to have got this far, it’s great and I have enjoyed my week.

Wigan manager Shaun Maloney admitted he was determined to reach the third round of the FA Cup for chairman Mike Danson following a 1-0 win at York.

Maloney, who was a member of the Latics’ 2013 FA Cup final-winning team, is desperate to repay Danson with a money-spinning run in this season’s competition after he saved the club from financial ruin when he took over in the summer.

The Latics had to start their League One campaign with an eight-point deduction due to the off-pitch issues Danson inherited, meaning a good cup run would prove a perfect fillip given the handicap they were given in the league.

After Stephen Humphrys’ goal sealed victory at the National League outfit, Maloney said: “I am very happy to be in the third-round draw.

“The chairman literally saved the club so I want to repay him for that and I know, with what happened in the summer, how important the finance you can get from this competition can be.

“We wanted to be at our best in this tie which I showed with my team selection,” added the former Scotland forward, who picked an unchanged starting XI following Tuesday’s 3-0 home win against Fleetwood, “and I was reasonably happy with the performance, although the last three or four minutes were a bit nervy.

“It was a brilliant finish by Stephen, though, to win the game and he’s got so much talent in one-on-one situations with his speed.

“I’m always confident that our attacking players will take a chance at some point in a game. The only criticism I would have in this game is that we could have been more clinical but, to be fair to York, they had a couple of good chances as well.”

York boss Neal Ardley was left to reflect on what might have been after a mistake by defender Tyler Cordner led to Humphrys’ goal and captain Lenell John-Lewis missed two great chances to force a replay late on.

“I thought our game-plan went really well,” Ardley said. “We wanted to still be in the tie after 70 minutes and then look to bring the two wingers off the bench.

“But the outcome has been settled by one mistimed header. It just came down to that one moment and, then, Lenny (John-Lewis) had two great chances that haven’t gone in and, if we were going to get through tonight, we had to be mistake free and take our chances when they came.

“But the effort of the players and their execution of the game-plan was really good because a team who are causing problems for a lot of teams in League One struggled to break us down.

“We nearly nicked an equaliser after throwing caution to the wind and people will say why didn’t you start like that? But it doesn’t work like that.”

Stephen Humphrys’ ninth goal of the season secured 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan’s place in this year’s third round following a 1-0 win at Vanarama National League side York.

During a cagey first half, Humphrys had carried the greatest threat.

Just before the half-hour mark, good skills from the former Fulham forward took him past home defenders Callum Howe and Tyler Cordner before his 15-yard drive was parried to safety by David Stockdale, who raced off his line to deny the same player moments later.

But Humphrys was not to be denied in the 61st minute when he charged clear on goal again – after Cordner had misjudged Omar Rekik’s ball down the middle of the pitch – and showed immaculate composure to round Stockdale and roll the ball into an inviting net.

A late rally by the hosts saw Olly Dyson hook wide, substitute Maz Kouhyar force a fingertip save from Sam Tickle and Lenell John-Lewis head off target with the goal at his mercy from three yards at the death.

Downbeat Ronnie O’Sullivan has warned he will continue “stinking out gaffes” after he limped into the quarter-finals of the UK Snooker Championship with a 6-5 win over Robert Milkins in York.

O’Sullivan, who is playing in trainers due to suffering from the heel injury plantar fasciitis, made his frustration clear as he almost blew a 5-3 lead before rallying to earn a last-eight slot against Zhou Yuelong.

“I don’t understand how this game works,” shrugged O’Sullivan. “I gave up a long time ago. I just keep turning up and stinking out gaffes. I stunk it out today and I’ll stink it out tomorrow. You’ll have to get a mask to watch me play.”

Despite hitting a 142 in frame five, O’Sullivan, who is aiming for a record eighth UK crown, was far from his best, and expressed his irritation after serving up one of three glorious opportunities for Milkins in the decider by dropping his cue onto the table.

But Milkins, whose solitary win over O’Sullivan in 11 previous attempts had come at the single-frame Shoot-Out in 2002, failed to capitalise, missing a pink then a simple red to middle, before finally dangling a red over the bottom pocket that effectively sealed his fate.

The win extended O’Sullivan’s stay in the city for at least one more day, ring-fencing enough ranking points to give him hope of preserving his status prior to the festive period, when he intends to skip the Scottish Open then jet off for a Christmas Day exhibition in Macau.

“I just don’t want it bad enough any more,” added O’Sullivan. “I’m having to dig deep. When I was younger I didn’t have to dig deep, I was so hungry, and now I’m just thinking I don’t really care.

“It’s nice if I get through but I don’t actually want to work that hard. That’s why I like doing my exhibitions, my own shows in China. It’s still competitive but it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you can have a drink after and a bite to eat.

“Competitive sport is hard, it’s not just about how good you are but how much you want it. I still want to play, I still like the lifestyle and the travelling. But I’m not going to kill myself out there, it’s not worth it.”

O’Sullivan’s judgement was off from the start, allowing Milkins, whose career has been revitalised since his first ranking title win at the Welsh Open in February which sent him into the world’s top 16 for the first time, to capitalise and establish a 2-0 lead.

It should have got even better for Milkins, who had a glorious chance to go 3-0 in front before a simple missed red allowed O’Sullivan to produce a quickfire response of 86, followed by a 53 in the fourth frame which took him into the interval level at 2-2.

A brilliant 142 total clearance sent O’Sullivan in front for the first time, and another Milkins error in the next, when he broken down on a black on 52, allowed O’Sullivan to sweep up to go 4-2 in front.

The game’s momentum continued to swing, as Milkins reduced the deficit with a coolly-dispatched 91, then O’Sullivan responded with an 83 to edge one frame from victory.

Milkins hit back again, with a superb 120 before O’Sullivan missed a simple missed blue in the next, showing more frustration with a rash attempt to escape from a snooker that served up his opponent with the simplest of chances to pull level.

Milkins could hardly have hoped for a better chance to end his career-long drought over multi-frame matches, but the nerves clearly got the better of him, and he was inevitably made to pay for his misses as O’Sullivan rallied to clinch a thoroughly underwhelming win.

John Higgins’ hopes of setting up another showdown with his long-time rival were dashed when he fell 6-3 to Zhou in another erratic affair, sending the Chinese player into the quarter-finals for only the second time in his career.

Zhou was whitewashed in both previous meetings with O’Sullivan in York, in 2018 and in last year’s last 16, but said: “I have beaten some good players this week and it has given me confidence that this time against Ronnie it will be different.”

Judd Trump stormed into the quarter-finals of the UK Championship with a 6-0 win over Jamie Jones in York.

The 34-year-old had been suffering the apparent effects of flu as he arrived at the tournament, but followed up his opening 6-1 victory win over Pang Junxu with another convincing display.

Trump – who became only the fifth player in history to win three back-to-back ranking tournaments last month – never looked back after starting with a break of 100, for a 950th career century.

Welshman Jones continued to be punished for mistakes, with Trump capitalising to take the third frame with a break of 59 before another half-century saw him heading into the interval with a commanding 4-0 lead.

Although Jones built a potential frame-winning chance when back on the table, his run ended at 44 which allowed Trump to close out the fifth before sealing victory in the next by 84-0.

Trump has reached the final of the UK Championship three times, winning his solitary title in 2011, and on current form looks a strong contender for this year’s trophy.

“I feel like if I can get through those first couple of rounds then I’m playing amazing and it takes something really special to beat me,” Trump said to BBC Sport following his win over Jones.

“A lot of other players perform the same in all conditions, but my cue action, where I come across the ball and hit with a little bit of side at impact, I have to get used to how the table is playing with side a lot more than other players.

“The first game I am really nervous, but when I know how I am playing on the table it just becomes easy for me.”

Trump will face either Mark Selby or Barry Hawkins in the last eight.

“I am full of confidence, but also the opposition hasn’t stood up to me, which sometimes I don’t really like because you get through too easy and you’re not pushed,” Trump said.

“I know in the next game whoever I play, I am going to have to up my standard.”

On the other table during Wednesday’s afternoon session at the Barbican, Ding Junhui saw off Tom Ford 6-3 to reach the last eight.

Ding opened with breaks of 126 and 110, but Ford hit back with runs of 118 and 98 to level the match.

It remained a close contest as Ford battled to stay in touch, before Ding edged the eighth frame and then closed out victory with a break of 106, which should secure his place in next year’s Masters.

Ding Junhui clambered off his sickbed to sink defending champion Mark Allen in a final frame decider in a dramatic opening match of this year’s UK Championship in York.

The former three-time winner revealed he was on the verge of pulling out of the tournament on Saturday morning after waking with a soaring temperature and spells of dizziness.

But Ding somehow steadied himself to haul back a 4-2 deficit then summon a nerveless 102 clearance to chisel a 6-5 victory in a first-round repeat of last year’s final, in which the Chinese player blew a sizeable lead to lose 10-7.

“In the morning I thought about pulling out because I couldn’t get out of bed,” said Ding. “My alarm was calling me to wake up but I couldn’t.

“My temperature was up to 39 and I couldn’t walk straight, I couldn’t walk over (to the venue). But I think I wanted to play because I am here for the tournament, so I will just try to play well.”

It was another remarkable chapter in Ding’s relationship with the sport’s second biggest tournament, which began when he came from nowhere to reel off a string of big wins and become the first overseas winner of the Championship in 2005.

A dramatic match had been slow to catch fire, with both players making mistakes as they shared the first four frames prior to the mid-session interval.

Allen was first to step up his game when he seized on a second chance in the fifth frame with a clearance to black of 106, and he extended his advantage to two after a messy sixth in which both players spurned golden chances.

But just when Ding was beginning to look down and out he drew on all his UK experience to reel off three counter-attacking frames in a row to move within one of an unlikely victory.

The Chinese player was first to show some nerves, a missed black off the spot gifting Allen the chance to pull level, which the Antrim man duly took with a decisive break of 70.

Allen had the first chance in the decider but missed an easy red to the middle and Ding held his illness at bay long enough to summon his first century of the match and seal his place in the last 16 – much to Allen’s surprise.

“It’s definitely one that got away, and not just because of the red in the last frame,” said Allen.

“I felt like I did all the hard stuff well today, and I honestly felt like I did all right. I felt in control of the match completely, and I think if Ding is honest in his assessment he’ll wonder how he won it.

“It’s a hard one to take because I’ve just lost in the UK Championships but I’ve played a lot worse. Maybe this is one that I’ll watch back to see what happened, because I felt in control at all times until I lost.”

Mark Williams admitted he never got out of second gear but still did enough to see off Fan Zhengyi 6-4 and join Ding in the last 16.

The Welshman, whose best break was an 86 to nudge over the line, is a two-time UK champion and keen to avoid the mishaps which hampered his chances of making it a trio of successes in recent years.

“This tournament hasn’t really been good for me in the last few years,” admitted Williams. “Once during Covid I fell asleep live on TV, then last year I had to run out every couple of frames.

“But I’ll go home in between matches this time and try to change the jinx of the UK. The reception was unbelievable, the conditions were perfect – everything was perfect except my play. I was struggling a bit, but I loved it.”

Neil Robertson is unconcerned by the prospect of plunging out of the world’s top 16 as he aims to resurrect a challenging campaign by clinching a fourth UK Snooker Championship title in York.

The 41-year-old Australian heads into the sport’s second biggest tournament – which starts on Saturday at the city’s Barbican Centre – having failed to get beyond the last 64 in any of his six ranking events so far this season.

In recent months, Robertson has spoken candidly about suffering from homesickness and will take a short break from the game when he jets home next month to spend the festive season with his family for the first time since prior to his solitary world title win in 2010.

Falling out of the sport’s elite is unthinkable for a player of Robertson’s calibre, but he remains upbeat about his prospects of turning his season around ahead of his return to one of his most profitable venues.

Robertson told the PA news agency: “I’ve been through similar things a couple of times before and it doesn’t really bother me.

“I’ve struggled to get up for some matches and my opponents have been on a roll and punished me for a few mistakes. I haven’t put in too many shocker performances. It’s just part of sport and you go through it now and again.

“I dropped out of the top 16 briefly before (in 2017), then I won the Scottish Open and went on to have quite a dominant spell for the next two years.

“When I dropped out, I remember it actually being a bit of a relief because you feel like you’ve experienced the worst of it. It wouldn’t bother me at all if I had to qualify for the Crucible, it’s not really in my thinking.”

Robertson had cut a forlorn figure when he lost to Jak Jones in the second round of this year’s World Championship, a defeat that stretched his winless streak at the Crucible to 13 years and shortly afterwards he realised it was time to take drastic action.

“When it really hit me was when I was watching my AFL team, Collingwood, win the Grand Final and all my family was watching it together back home and close friends I hadn’t really seen in the last 20-odd years,” added Robertson.

“I was Facetiming the people back home, they were having a barbecue on the day, there were my nephews who I hadn’t really seen much of and I thought, jeez it’s been 20 years of missing out on those moments. I found it really hard.”

Before his overdue return home, Robertson begins his quest to become only the fourth player to win four or more UK titles when he faces Zhou Yuelong – whom he beat in the semi-finals when he last triumphed three years ago – in the first round on Tuesday.

Defending champion Mark Allen gets the tournament under way on Saturday in a repeat of last year’s final against Ding Junhui, while Ronnie O’Sullivan – looking for a record eighth crown – also starts on Tuesday against Anthony McGill.

For Robertson, the return to a stand-alone last 32 event is a welcome development in the history of the prestigious tournament and one he believes will motivate the best players to bring out their best on the day.

“It’s a tournament that everyone gets up for,” added Robertson.

“It’s got a great history, it gets great coverage and it all adds up to the type of tournament that when you’re used to playing at the top of the game, you really want to win.”

York manager Neal Ardley admitted his team rode their luck to “hang on” for a 2-1 FA Cup first round replay victory over Chester.

Captain Lenell John-Lewis bagged a brace to put the hosts in the ascendancy midway through the second period but David Stockdale was required to make two fine saves either side of a 71st-minute George Glendon reply.

York survived to book a televised Friday night home clash with 2013 cup winners Wigan on December 1 but Ardley said: “We started the game really well and could have been a couple up but, at half-time, their manager had a shout at them and we knew they would up their game because it was a cup tie and they hadn’t laid a glove on us.

“We then didn’t adapt to their intensity and they came out on the front foot while we came out on the back foot.

“It became a proper cup tie and one team’s mentality was ‘let’s go for it’ and the other was ‘can we hang on?’, but we found a way to win, even though we didn’t manage the game well enough.”

Chester boss Calum McIntyre had mixed feelings at the final whistle – pride in his team’s efforts on the night and throughout this season’s competition, but disappointment at not progressing further and
pocketing a £100,000 windfall in prize money and TV revenue.

He said: “There were big rewards on offer and I am gutted we’ve missed out on that but very proud of my football team in this game and the whole cup run we’ve been on.

“We had York on the ropes and there was a moment at the end that we shared with the supporters that was special, when the effort of the players was recognised.

“In the end, It has taken two brilliant saves from a former Premier League keeper in both the original tie and this game to get York through to the next round.”

York reached the FA Cup second round for the first time since 2010 as captain Lenell John-Lewis bagged a brace to see off Chester 2-1.

Visiting skipper George Glendon reduced the deficit for the National League North side, but it is the Minstermen who now go on to entertain 2013 Cup winners Wigan in a televised Friday night clash on December 1.

York started with purpose as Dipo Akinyemi fired past the near post just six seconds into the contest before John-Lewis opened the scoring in the fifth minute.

Poor away defending saw John-Lewis afforded the space to collect Scott Burgess’ right-wing corner at the near post before turning and firing past an exposed Will Stanway from two yards.

Chester only managed one effort during the opening 45 minutes, with David Stockdale keeping out a diagonal Adam Thomas drive.

After the break, ex-York midfielder Elliott Whitehouse stabbed wide of a gaping goal following a goalmouth scramble.

But the Minstermen doubled their advantage midway through the second period when Stanway misjudged a bouncing ball, leaving John-Lewis with an empty net to grab his second goal of the night.

The visitors rallied, though, with Declan Weeks forcing a fine save from Stockdale before Glendon went on to grab his team’s consolation, beating the ex-Fulham keeper with a composed 10-yard finish after 71

Ayr Gold Cup winner Significantly is likely to sidestep a rise in grade at Ascot this weekend and instead wait for the Coral Sprint Trophy at York on Saturday week.

Revitalised by the Julie Camacho team, Significantly was agonisingly beaten in the Portland Handicap over five and a half furlongs at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, but gained compensation seven days later at Ayr.

He almost missed out again there with Joe Fanning looking for a run with a furlong to go, but when the gap came he quickened up smartly.

While connections were tempted by a crack at the John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes, the fact he would be getting only 3lb from the likes of 113-rated Commanche Falls and the 110-rated Garrus leaves Significantly, still only on a handicap mark of 98, with plenty to find.

“He’s fit and well but I would imagine that unless the race cuts up badly, we’d wait a week and go to York,” said Steve Brown, Camacho’s husband and assistant.

“It just makes more sense to run in a handicap off his current mark. There are some good solid performers in at Ascot. We were entitled to enter and have a look but realistically we might just wait a week – and it’s worth more money.

“The other thing we might have been tempted to go to Ascot had the ground been softer but at the minute it looks like being a decent week weather-wise whereas he thrives when the ground is softer.

“I know there were one or two unlucky horses at Ayr but I think if we’d have got a run earlier he would have been a bit more of a clear-cut winner than he was.

“He’s thriving at home, his confidence levels are high. Karl (Burke, former trainer) always said he had a high level of ability and was a decent horse when he was younger, they are clever people and ran him in some big races, they don’t do that unless they think they are worthy.

“Last season was a quiet one for him, as any horse can havem but I think he’s back to the level he showed for Karl.”

Marco Botti has expressed his pride in Giavellotto’s brave run in defeat at York, with connections now mulling over a possible tilt at the Melbourne Cup later in the year.

The Yorkshire Cup champion was returning to the scene of his finest hour when lining-up in the Lonsdale Cup and lost little in defeat as he fought out the finish with the Ascot Gold Cup first and second, Courage Mon Ami and Coltrane.

It was Andrew Balding’s consistent performer who came out on top on the Knavesmire, with Botti’s four-year-old giving way to the stronger stayers late in the day as he finished two lengths adrift in third.

However, the Newmarket-based handler was far from despondent as his long distance star showed his qualities once again.

Botti said: “It was a good run and he was beaten by two proper stayers who finished first and second in the Gold Cup. They are the best stayers around and maybe they just outstayed him.

“I always thought one-mile-six would be Giavellotto’s optimum trip. He gets the two miles but when he runs against the proper stayers, maybe the final furlong gets a bit hard work.

“It was no disgrace to finish third behind two proper stayers and he is a horse who has been consistent and tries his best all the time. For sure he handles York quite well.”

Giavellotto holds entries in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger (Curragh, September 10) and the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on British Champions Day (October 21).

However, Botti is hoping to get the go-ahead from owner Francesca Franchini of Scuderia La Tesa Limited to travel to Australia for the ‘race that stops a nation’ at Flemington on November 7.

“He’s a horse who wouldn’t want the ground too soft. He is in the Irish St Leger, but we thought by then you don’t know what the ground will be,” explained Botti.

“We are still discussing about the Melbourne Cup and I’m pretty sure we will enter him and then finalise the plans. Otherwise in England it will just be Champions Day as the only goal left for him.”

He went on: “I would be in favour (of going for the Melbourne Cup). The fact he went to Dubai and is a horse who travels well and I also think the track will suit him – it is similar to York, a left-handed track.

“I think he will get in. He won a Group Two so he should make the cut for the Melbourne Cup, but then it is up to the owners as it is quite an expensive trip to take on and as we know the rules are quite strict before the race. The vetting can be tricky but he is a sound horse.

“If we take that route, hopefully all goes to plan, and I would be in favour if the owner wanted to go.”

If a trip to the Southern Hemisphere doesn’t come to fruition, Botti hopes to explore other options overseas for Giavellotto during his five-year-old campaign as he envisages his stable star improving further with experience.

“He’s a nice horse to still have in the yard and we have been able to win a Group Two this year,” he added.

“He’s a nice horse to have and maybe campaign abroad next year, whether that be Dubai or Saudi Arabia. We’re not planning too far ahead but he’s definitely a horse who has scope to get even better.”

Connections of Gregory remain positive about his chances of victory in the Betfred St Leger, despite his short-priced defeat at York last week.

Having maintained his unbeaten record in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, John and Thady Gosden’s colt was a warm order to cement his Classic claims with Group Two success in the Great Voltigeur Stakes.

But having cut out much of the running on the Knavesmire under Frankie Dettori, Gregory ultimately had to settle for third place, although he was staying on again at the line.

The son of Golden Horn remains at the head of ante-post lists for the Doncaster showpiece with some bookmakers and hopes remain high within his camp.

Richard Brown, racing adviser to Gregory’s owners Wathnan Racing, said: “We said after Ascot that his main target would be the Leger and that this (Great Voltigeur) was the obvious race to take en route.

“We’d love to have won it, but they went pretty hard up front – those early fractions were pretty fierce. We were initially disappointed, but then you see where the two horses that went with him finished and where he finished.

“Frankie looked after him when his winning chance had gone and actually when he stood up on him, the horse ran on again on his own.

“Back up to a mile and six (furlongs) in the Leger is going to be much more his game. I’ve been in racing long enough not to be overly optimistic as things go wrong and maybe he’s not good enough, but I think he’s going to go there with a big chance.”

Gregory is the 3-1 market leader for the Leger with Paddy Power, with his York conqueror Continuous a 4-1 shot and Desert Hero, who carries the colours of the King and Queen, next in line at 11-2.

Brown added: “He’s come out of the race in great shape, John and Thady are very happy with him, it’s all systems go and we’re looking forward to it.

“It looks like it could be a very good renewal and with the royal runner as well, it’s exciting for racing.”

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