Racing: Prevalence has power to prevail in Trophy

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WHETHER or not York is, as those associated with the track tend to style it, the Ascot of the North, or Ascot is merely the York of the South depends on whether or not you were born in God's own county. But even the most fervent afficionados of the Knavesmire would acknowledge that today's card is nobbut a canape between the champagne of the Epsom Classics and next week's Royal feast.

It is, however, as the annual Timeform Charity Day, a taster with positive purpose. Over the past 27 years good causes have benefited by more than pounds 2.25m, but that is still probably less than has been spent on hats over the same period at the other place.

With five handicaps available for perusal today - four of them televised - one of the day's certainties is that, despite munificent donations, the bookmaking fraternity will not end up much out of pocket. The feature, the pounds 50,000 William Hill Trophy, is one of its tried-and-tested earners, a six-furlong large-field cavalry charge.

The race, for three-year-olds, occasionally spotlights a horse destined for better things. The excellent Roman Warrior won it 24 years ago; more recently Cadeaux Genereux (1988) and Sheikh Albadou (1991) used it as a stepping stone to champion status.

Prevalence (3.45), a big, strong son of Cadeaux Genereux, will be bidding to prove himself a chip off the old block in ability as well as looks. The chestnut landed a touch over seven furlongs at Kempton two weekends ago and should be inconvenienced by neither today's shorter trip nor softer ground, and can give his trainer, Jeremy Noseda, his best moment in Britain since he left the Godolphin operation. He has been favourite - backed from 7-1 to 5-1 - so to do in the sponsors' ante-post list this week, and those looking for a longer shot in a field of 23 could consider Atlantic Viking, who was outpaced on his seasonal debut in decent handicap company over the minimum trip at Epsom on Derby Day but should find today's conditions more to his liking, or Ruzen, like Prevalence, on a hat-trick.

The man with the best numerical record at York in the past five years is Michael Stoute, who sends Lonesome Dude (3.10) for the Cadogan Silver Salver Handicap. The lightly raced but most progressive Canadian-bred colt had only a short-head to spare on his last outing at Goodwood, but that was entirely because John Reid failed to spot Wuxi Venture's challenge. Lonesome Dude got his jockey out of trouble with the minimum of fuss and should maintain his unbeaten record this season.

Wuxi Venture (4.45) has declined to take him on again, opting instead for the later Daniel Prenn Rated Stakes and can gain a deserved reward after three good second places this term.

Eastern Purple's eight-length romp last time out at Haydock may have attracted too much notice from the handicapper for him to repeat the performance in the day's big race, but his young stablemate Princely Dream (2.40) can put the experience he gained at Ripon last month to good use by disposing of some fancied debutants in the two-year-old contest.