CURRIE was the favourite dish for racegoers at Ascot on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

Apprentice jockey Nicola Currie won the Bet With Ascot Challenge Cup – a seven-furlong handicap worth more than £112,000 to the winner – on 5/1 shot Raising Sand, for Berkshire trainer Jamie Osborne.

A week earlier, Raising Sand had finished eighth of 33 in the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket, but on this occasion, the stalls draw and the softer going were more in his favour.

Despite hanging left, he quickened nicely to beat Ripp Orf, ridden by another apprentice Jason Watson, by two lengths.

Raising Sand, who finished third in the race last year, was winning for the third time at Ascot and could return for the Balmoral Handicap on British Champions Day on October 20.

This was the 24-year-old Currie’s biggest victory of her career and she was back in the winner’s enclosure on the Chris Wall-trained Erissimus Maximus (10/1) following the meeting’s final race of the day, the McGee Group Handicap over five furlongs.

For Upper Lambourn handler Osborne, Raising Sand completed a highly-successful two-day visit to Ascot, as on Friday he had sent out two winners – Lush Life (ridden by William Buick) in the first and Cliffs of Capri (Mr Alex Ferguson) in the last – on a day when all six races were won by the favourite, one of them being a joint-favourite.

On Friday, Osborne and Currie also had a third on 40/1 outsider Vegas Boy.

Saturday’s rain certainly benefited Intense Romance (11/1) as she held on well to win the opening Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Rous Stakes in the hands of Callum Rodriguez, by a neck with the 3/1 joint-favourites Mr Lupton and Spring Loaded second and third.

Owen Burrows, who also had a winner at Ascot on Friday, is a trainer bang in form these days, so it was no surprise to see his Laraaib (11/2) win the Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes by half-a-length in the hands of Jim Crowley.

Projection, owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club, won the four-runner John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes, having finished second a year ago.

The 2/1 shot, with Kieran Shoemark in the saddle, just held off odds-on favourite Dream Of Dreams by a neck.

The five-year-old could return to Ascot on Champions Day with trainer Roger Charlton commenting: “If the horse is fine, we’ll give it another shot.”

The 15-runner Neptune Investment Management British EBF October Stakes saw Ralph Beckett’s Di Fede (13/2) storm to a comfortable win in the hands of Harry Bentley, beating Red Starlight by three and a half lengths.