Cherokee Rose blooms

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The Independent Online
THE French raider Cherokee Rose took the Haydock Park Sprint Cup yesterday with a fine burst of speed inside the final half-furlong to beat Branston Abby and Owington. There was no doubting the winner's authority, but the shock of the race was the eclipse of the odds-on Lake Coniston, who struggled home in fourth place.

The 1-3 favourite was taken on by Mind Games from the start, but won that particular battle and was in front two furlongs out as Cherokee Rose, full of running, tried to find a way through behind them. As the leaders faded Branston Abby and Owington joined issue, but once the gap came for Cherokee Rose she needed no second invitation from Cash Asmussen to fly through and put another pounds 72,000 in Sheikh Mohammed's coffers.

Branston Abby ran a blinder on her first venture in Group 1 company to finish a length and a half adrift, with Owington three-quarters of a length behind. It was another two lengths back to Lake Coniston, who was routinely dope-tested afterwards, but his surprise defeat should take nothing away from Cherokee Rose's performance.

The four-year-old daughter of Dancing Brave, trained by John Hammond at Chantilly, is a very high-class performer who was winning her fourth successive race. She now has the Breeders' Cup on her agenda.

In the September Stakes at Kempton Sheikh Hamdan's admirable five-year- old entire Burooj held on by a short-head from Commoner and survived an objection to win the Group 3 race. The favourite, Midnight Legend, was virtually pulled up.

In Ireland there was a Pattern-race double at The Curragh for British trainers when Peter Chapple-Hyam's Woodborough won the Anglesey Stakes and Mark Johnston's Bijou d'Inde the Futurity Stakes.

The weather will be the key to next Saturday's St Leger at Doncaster, for if the ante-post favourite Presenting gets the fast ground he needs, then he should win the final Classic doing handsprings. The long-striding son of Mtoto, third in the Derby, is the classiest performer in the field and showed in last month's Geoffrey Freer Stakes that the mile and three- quarters will hold no terrors for him.

If he runs, George Strawbridge's colt would seem to have every chance of giving his trainer, John Gosden, his first Classic victory. But if the going comes up soft he is unlikely to go to post, and the options open up.

If anything, the St Leger trip will be too short for the Goodwood Cup runner-up Double Eclipse, but if this relentless galloper turns into the long Doncaster straight clear then anything that passes him will know it has had a race.

Racing results, page 27