Who's Shirl springs 33-1 surprise for Fairhurst; PONTEFRACT.
WHO'S SHIRL sprung a 33-1 surprise in the feature pounds 15,000 fillies' handicap over 6f.
Trained by Chris Fairhurst for her owner-breeder Shirley France, the daughter of Shinko Forest, who was ridden by Kelly Harrison, scraped home by a nose from the consistent Pepper Lane to gain her fourth career success.
It was a pleasant surprise for her trainer, who reckoned she was facing a stiff task. He said: "She'd gone up 14lb for her two wins and was taking on stronger company, but she's game. She needs good, fast ground and although we'll look at the Coral Sprint at York next month, the ground might have gone by then."
Potentially the classiest filly on the card was the three-year-old Dark Promise, who is a Shamardal half-sister to Oaks winner Love Divine. She confirmed the promise of her debut run with a decisive success in the 1m2f maiden for older horses, Philip Robinson bringing her home by two and three-quarter lengths from Weathervane.
She is trained by Michael Jarvis for Trevor and Libby Harris's Lordship Stud, and the latter said: "We'll discuss it with her trainer but we'd like to keep her in training next year and try and get some black type for her."
Earlier, Daaweitza gained his 11th career success with a game win in the 1m handicap, with Dale Swift driving him out to score by two length.
Owned by Andrea Mallinson, he is trained by Brian Ellison, who said: "He'll now go for the final of the Redcar Mile series next month."
Nathan Alison, who is apprenticed to Jim Boyle, rode the ninth winner of his career when partnering Tislaam to win the 6f apprentice handicap, beating stablemate Kensington by a head.
The winner was making it two wins from two starts since joining trainer Alan McCabe, who said: "The horses are in good form, and I was delighted with them both. Tislaam doesn't get a penalty, so although he's in again at Wolverhampton on Friday, we'll see how he is."
The winning rider and Eleanor McGowan, who rode the third Bid For Gold were both given bans for whip offences. Alison received two days on September 30 and October 4 for using his with excessive frequency and McGowan three days for both excessive frequency and not giving her mount time to respond.
The 2m1f handicap went to Ultimate Guest, who was ridden by Silvestre de Sosua for trainer Sir Mark Prescott in the colours of Syndicate 2006. In a strongly run race, he got up inside the last furlong to beat the pace-setting Dan Buoy by two lengths.
Aussie Blue gained his second win of the season, and his second over course and distance when taking the 1m handicap by three and three-quarter lengths under Michael Stainton. Trainer Richard Whitaker said: "He seemed to get his confidence back when he won on the allweather."
Star performance Who's Shirl, who defied the handicapper to take the featured fillies' handicap Quote of the day "It's worth pounds 35,000 and I'll probably be running half my string in it" - Brian Ellison, nominating the final of the John Smith's Straight Mile championship for Daaweitza Results and analysis start page 90