Carroll gets the Romantic lead as Darley accepts ban

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The Independent Online

John Carroll will replace the suspended Kevin Darley aboard the exciting two-year-old filly Romantic Myth when she attempts to maintain her unbeaten record in Saturday's £125,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury. Darley has decided not to appeal against a one-day ban he received at Doncaster last Thursday for careless riding.

John Carroll will replace the suspended Kevin Darley aboard the exciting two-year-old filly Romantic Myth when she attempts to maintain her unbeaten record in Saturday's £125,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury. Darley has decided not to appeal against a one-day ban he received at Doncaster last Thursday for careless riding.

Tim Easterby's filly, winner of all three of her races and partnered by Darley each time, including in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, is among 27 two-year-olds left in the five-furlong contest. The bad news for the other 26 entries is that Romantic Myth's connections believe their horse is better than ever.

"We were a bit rushed to get her to Ascot and she seems sharper now," the filly's owner-breeder, Terry Holdcroft, said yesterday. "I'm told she has improved from the Queen Mary."

"We'd like to keep the same partnership [with Darley] but it's not going to happen," Holdcroft said.

Darley explained that a late appeal date has ruled him out of the ride on Romantic Myth. "I will not be appealing, though I think I had a very good chance of it succeeding," the jockey said. "It is a question of circumstances really. The appeal would not be heard until Friday so I would miss rides at Carlisle on that day.

"As jockeys would have to be declared for Saturday's racing before the outcome of the appeal would be known I would not be able to take rides for that day. So in effect I would be missing two days in all, so I will just have to grin and bear it."

The presence of Romantic Myth may prevent fellow Royal Ascot winner Superstar Leo from running in the contest. The filly, winner of her last three races including the Norfolk Stakes, was sold to Lael Stables in the United States last week. Her trainer, William Haggas, said: "We'd like to go o Newbury but I'm not keen on taking on Romantic Myth and it's up to the new owners. The alternative is the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffite."

Richard Hannon, who has saddled three winners of the Newbury race and had seven other horses placed in it since it was first staged in 1990, has left in Reel Buddy, Cayman Expresso and Elsie Plunkett.

Thomas Pink was yesterday announced as the new backer of the first big race of the jumps season. The shirtmaker has taken over the sponsorship of the Murphy's (formerly Mackeson) Gold Cup at Cheltenham's November meeting. The valuable three-day meeting at the track will now be known as The Open 2000.

Thomas Pink, embarking on its first venture into racing, takes over the sponsorship from Whitbread, who in January announced their decision to pull out of the race. The brewers, who had backed the Mackeson Gold Cup from 1960 until 1995 and the Murphy's Gold Cup from 1996, said that racing's failure to attract a young audience lay behind their withdrawal, but the new sponsor has no such reservations.

Sagitta are to extend their sponsorship of the Guineas meeting at Newmarket. The London-based asset management group will back the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas and Jockey Club Stakes until 2003.

Richard Quinn missed his rides at Ayr yesterday, including Merry Merlin in the Scottish Classic, after traffic problems prevented him reaching Heathrow in time for his flight.

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