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David Nicholls reached a half century for the season when apprentice Iona Wands coaxed the best out of Benzoe in the Manchester Evening News Handicap at Haydock Park today.

Benzoe, now a 10-year-old, burst through to lead inside the final furlong and then just held off the fast-finishing Mungo Park, who had lost a lot of ground at the start, by three quarters of a length.

Nicholls was represented by his wife Alex Greaves who said: 'Benzoe came to us this season and it is his first win for us - he is so well handicapped that he kept being balloted out early in the season!'

Last year Nicholls enjoyed his best campaign with 75 winners on the home front plus a couple of Group winners abroad, and Greaves went on: 'We have also had a Group winner in Ireland this year.

'Obviously we would like to beat 75, and we are hoping we will do, but there is an awful long way to go. Some of our horses were low on copper and iron, but we have not had the virus and they are running well now.'

With her husband Richard on duty in Ireland where Inforapenny ran well to finish third in the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks Leila Fahey was another wife doing the Sunday honours here and Xipe Totec completed a good day for the stable by winning the Channel M Maiden Stakes.

She said: 'Richard bought this horse for Mrs Brigitte Pollard and we have always thought he was all right, but just did not know how good he was.'

Xipe Totec was given a fine ride by Seb Sanders and he was seen to good effect again when completing a double on Sir Mark Precott's super game Principle.

John Carroll, who rode two winners at Chester yesterday, was also in double form, taking the mile handicap on Lady Helen before getting the John Gosden-trained Stage Direction home in the manchesteronline Maiden Stakes.

Lady Helen's trainer Tim Easterby said: 'I thought she would win, she has taken time to come to herself and is still improving. She was given a good ride.'

Michael Tebbutt who was cautioned after being found guilty of careless riding on Helen's Day had a better time of it 30 minutes later when he brought the Ed Dunlop-trained Far Impression home a one and three quarter lengths winner of the M.E.N. Summer Pink Classified Stakes.

Neil Callan who picked up a two-day suspension (July 24-25) for using his whip with excessive frequency at Salisbury yesterday was found guilty of a similar offence on Xaloc Bay in the Channel M Maiden Stakes and was stood down for a further two days (July 26-27).