Fortune favours the Ferneley

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The Independent Online

Jimmy Fortune finally had a change of luck in the Lincoln at Doncaster yesterday afternoon. The jockey, narrowly beaten into second place both on Hawksley Hill in 1997 and Captain Scott last year, partnered John Ferneley, the heavily-backed 7-1 joint favourite, to victory in the big mile handicap on Town Moor.

Fortune said: "I've beaten half a length and a short-head in this race - so it's third time lucky. Thank God - the rain came just in time for my fella."

The early pace in the 24-runner contest was made by Culzean in the centre of the track and River Times on the far side. But, with John Ferneley travelling well, Fortune could hold back no longer and sent him on with one and a half furlongs to travel. John Ferneley passed the post three-quarters of a length ahead of King Priam (25-1) Right Wing (9-1), with last year's winner, a neck further back. Pantar (16-1) was fourth. Fortune said: "I was always going well and my only worry came when they all fell away in front of me and I had to commit. But the post came in good time.

John Ferneley had enjoyed a similar preparation to that of his trainer Paul Cole's winner Kuala Lipis three years ago with a pipe-opener on the all-weather. Cole said: "This is a fantastic race to win - it's just so difficult. I'm certainly pleased I'm here rather than going to Dubai. The owner [Richard Green] wanted to go for the race. I thought it was a good idea so it's been the plan all along. It's all worked out well but it was a help that John Ferneley is the right type of horse with a touch of class."

Trainer Mark Polglase was delighted at the performance of King Priam who may now seek recompense in the Spring Cup at Newbury. He said: "It is frustrating as it was so near yet so far. Our horse ran very well up against a very good horse. He just wanted slightly further. He picked up amazingly well as two furlongs out I thought he was going to be 10th."

Right Wing's jockey Pat Eddery insisted a more favourable stalls position would have aided his mount's cause. He said: "I was bumped at the start but it didn't make any difference. But if we had been drawn on the other side we would have won."

Tayseer, the long-time ante-post favourite, trained by handicap specialist David Nicholls and owned by the notorious gambling duo of Henry Rix and Jonothan Ramsden, son/stepson of Jack and Lynda of Top Cees fame, took a walk in the betting from 9-2 out to 8-1. And after seemingly travelling well for for the first half mile found nothing off the bridle and was unplaced.

Largesse has his sights on Pattern races again after he turned the clock back a year to make a winning return to the Flat. The six-year-old showed no ill effects from an abortive spell over hurdles with Oliver Sherwood in the winter as he repeated his 1999 victory in the Doncaster Shield.

He had been aimed at this contest ever since rejoining John Berry and fulfilled the hopes of his original trainer. The entire could be called the winner as soon as he hit the front two furlongs out, eventually scoring by five lengths and six from Murghem and Rain In Spain. Berry's charge, who has now won on the Flat in each of his five seasons in training, will be aimed at the Yorkshire Cup, in which he was beaten just a neck by Churlish Charm last year. Berry is also looking forward to introducing a potential replacement for his stable-star. He said: "We've got his two-year-old half-sister Brunhilde and she could be out within six weeks. She is very nice, as nice as Largesse was at that age."

Eau de Cologne remains on course for the Whitbread Gold Cup after his victory at Newbury. Lydia Richards' eight-year-old will be having only his fourth run over fences in the big handicap chase at Sandown next month, but he jumped with the poise of a seasoned performer when winning the Victor Chandler Handicap Chase.