Hills alive with the sound of Distant Music

Last year's Champion two-year-old recaptures top form at his happiest hunting ground in the Park Stakes

There were leaves in the swirling Yorkshire air here on Town Moor yesterday in addition to the indefinable factor which clearly agrees with Distant Music. The winter favourite for the 2,000 Guineas made his name here 12 months ago and yesterday he restored it in the Park Stakes. Applause has been the distant music for Barry Hills's colt this season. He failed on his comeback in the Greenham Stakes and again in the 2,000 Guineas. Now, however, Distant Music is a racehorse again.

There were leaves in the swirling Yorkshire air here on Town Moor yesterday in addition to the indefinable factor which clearly agrees with Distant Music. The winter favourite for the 2,000 Guineas made his name here 12 months ago and yesterday he restored it in the Park Stakes. Applause has been the distant music for Barry Hills's colt this season. He failed on his comeback in the Greenham Stakes and again in the 2,000 Guineas. Now, however, Distant Music is a racehorse again.

It has been a frustrating start to the new millennium for Hills. Just three of his horses have gone up in the handicap since the start of the season as microbes have bedded in at South Bank. But, with Distant Music in the yard, hope never died. The colt certainly looked no patient yesterday as he strode out onto the track. He was keen too in the race itself, his mouth gaping with effort as Michael Hills sought to restrain him at the rear.

In the straight, we were, once again, treated to Distant Music's trademark burst of acceleration and, then, a tussle with Valentino. John Gosden's colt got in front, but he has a problem. It hurt him again yesterday and he swerved to the right in the closing stages. That allowed the fairytale.

Hills nominated the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot as Distant View's next outing and also suggested a four-year-old career was on the cards. He said: "I always knew he was good, but it's been a long old year, a character-building one."

There was drama at the death too in the May Hill Stakes, which went to the 5-4 favourite Karasta. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained two-year-old filly started slowly, but was soon back up with the main body of the field. Her huge shape could be seen cutting through the field in the straight and a substantial advantage was soon created. That was just as well. In the chase to the line Karasta was distracted by a yellow hoarding on the infield and jinked sideways. Johnny Murtagh, her jockey, did well to keep his seat. Murtagh said: "She is sure to improve a lot. We have not seen the best of her yet. She's the biggest two-year-old filly I've ridden, she's 17 hands. I hit the front too soon and she had a lot to look at as she was in front so long. She could be a Classic filly."

Stoute now has the first three in the betting for next year's 1,000 Guineas with Karasta 8-1 joint second favourite with William Hill, Ladbrokes and Tote alongside Regal Rose. Enthused is the 6-1 favourite. Ameerat, runner-up to Karasta, is 14-1 for the 1,000 Guineas with William Hill. Karasta, 10-1 with the Tote for next year's Oaks despite being by the sprinter Lake Coniston, goes for the Fillies' Mile at Ascot.

Thirty-five minutes after the May Hill, Murtagh was the winner again, in the Doncaster Cup on Enzeli. This victory was less expected, despite his being on last year's Gold Cup winner. Enzeli sustained a stone bruise to a foot recently and John Oxx, his trainer, feared the five-year-old would need the race. Fortunately he had not transmitted these doubts to his horse and, just at the time you might have expected Enzeli to fold, he actually knuckled down and beat off the challenge of Churlish Charm. The Prix du Cadran at Longchamp now awaits.

Lord Kintyre provided trainer Rod Millman with his 25th victory of the season by landing the opening Kyoto Scarbrough Stakes, coming home a length ahead of See You Later. Millman, who now runs Lord Kintyre in the Dubai Airport World Trophy at Newbury next week, praised winning jockey Michael Roberts for staying in the centre of the track in the five-furlong event. He said: "Michael rode the perfect race. Had he come down the stands side we wouldn't have won."

David Brotherton, owner of Astonished, the 5-6 favourite who beat only one home, will now run him in the Rous Stakes at Newmarket. He said: "There was more pace in the centre and it did not help him racing down the stands rail."

The individual who lost most on the day was Richard Quinn. The Scot was suspended for three days for irresponsible riding on Cayman Sunset in the Sceptre Stakes and his jockeys' championship challenge now seems at an end.

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