Draw talks down Singspiel

Richard Edmondson reports from Toronto on the Breeders' Cup build- up
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They quoted Ricks Natural Star at 99-1 on the Morning Line yesterday for the Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday. They don't do a price bigger. The worst horse the Breeders' Cup has ever seen overcame one hurdle, though, yesterday when Dr William Livinston, his New Mexico trainer, was able to convince series organisers that the seven-year-old gelding would not make a complete fool of himself at the weekend. "They were worried he might finish 60 lengths behind or just fall down," Livingston said.

Self-mockery, it must be said, is not a large mountain in North America and just about everyone views the presence of the lumpy chestnut as a stain on the credibility of the event.

While Livingston was being interviewed yesterday, Ricks Natural Star singularly failed to impress in some low key work.

The team of horses from Godolphin also underwent little more than reconnaissance missions. Saeed bin Suroor's team, which is still in quarantine, emerged on to the track after the other horses had worked, but this morning will be out and exercising in the darkness by 6.30. When he imparted this information bin Suroor at a stroke silenced the surrounding press pack.

The trainer revealed that Team Godolphin will be even stronger in 1997 as he will be preparing 100 horses in the Gulf this winter. The number that return to Britain next Spring will consequently also increase and extra boxes are soon expected to sprout at the operation's Moulton Paddocks base in Newmarket. One horse who will not be returning though is Charnwood Forest, who has been snapped up for stallion purposes by Ireland's Rath Barry Stud for pounds 3 million. This may give a pointer to his chances for when the same stud last purchased a Sheikh Mohammed horse on Breeders' Cup eve, it was Barathea, who went on to collect the Mile two years ago.

Charnwood Forest was allotted the seven gate in yesterday's draw ceremony at Woodbine Park, which made our own lottery fiesta on a Saturday night appear concise and unfrilly by comparison. Some of the balls were pulled by John Forsythe, formerly Blake Carrington and the chap who used to hide under the table and speak through a box when Charlie's Angels needed their instructions.

Charnwood Forest is 16-1 with Ladbrokes for the Mile after the draw and much less fancied than the team's No 1 shot, Mark Of Esteem at 5-6.

The logic that Ladbrokes have used for the Turf has it that high numbers will be inconvenienced going the long way round on the soft surface. Singspiel is subsequently shoved out to 11-2 from 9-2, and is no longer the best fancied of Sheikh Mohammed's four-strong entry, which is completed by Shantou (5-1), Swain (8-1) and Wall Street (20-1).

In this contest, the Sheikh's battery will have to contend with a horse called Diplomatic Jet, who is owned by Fred Hooper. When Fred when was born in Cleveland, Georgia, nobody had heard of the 20th century. In 1945 he won the Kentucky Derby with the first horse he bought, Hoop Jnr, and Eddie Arcaro, who rode the victory, said: ``That is the most expensive race you'll ever win because you'll spend the rest of your life trying to win it again." Fred is still trying after three subsequent abortive attempts, but his limbs are tired and he is 99. A bit like Ricks Natural Star.


Breeders' Cup Sprint: Appealing Skier (1), Boundless Moment (8), Capote Belle (3), Criollito (9), Friendly Lover (11), Honour and Glory (10), Iktamal (4), Jess C's Whirl (13), Lakota Brave (6), Langfuhr (12), Lit de Justice (5), Lord Carson (2 Paying Dues (7).

Distaff: Clear Mandate (7), Different (2), Jewel Princess (1), My Flag (5), Mysteriously (3), Serena's Song (4), Top Secret (6).

Mile: Chaposa Springs (5), Charnwood Forest (7), Da Hoss (6), Dumaani (12), Helmsman -1), Kiridashi (2), Mark of Esteem (11), Memories of Silver (4), Mighty Forum (10), Same Old Wish (13), Smooth Runner (14), Spinning World (9), Urgent Request (8), Volochine (3).

Juvenile: Acceptable (10), Boston Harbor (2), Cash Deposit (1), Falkenham (11), Gold Tribute (3), Gun Fight (5), His Honor (4), Michelle'sallhands (9), Ordway (6), Sal's Driver (8), Zippersup (7).

Turf: Awad (12), Chief Bearhart (14), Diplomatic Jet (1), Dushyantor (2), Luna Wells (5), Marlin (11), Pilsudski (9), Ricks Natural Star (4), Shantou (7), Singspiel (10), Swain (3), Talloires (6), Wall Street (8), Windsharp (13).

Classic: Alphabet Soup (13), Atticus (12), Cigar (7), Dare and Go (1), Dramatic Gold (6), Editor's Note (10), Formal Gold (2), Louis Quatorze (11), Mahogany Hall (9), Mt. Sassafras (4), Taiki Blizzard (3), Tamayaz (14), Will's Way (5), Yanks Music (8).