Hunter on Ayr trail

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The Independent Online

Peter Easterby saddled three winners of the Ayr Gold Cup in the 1980s and now his successor at Habton Grange stables, his son Tim, believes he has a solid chance of lifting the prize with Guinea Hunter.

Last Saturday's Stewards' Cup winner at Goodwood, Guinea Hunter is being aimed at the big-race double and will run in the Ayr contest on 22 September, it was confirmed yesterday.

Tim Easterby said: "The horse is fine and he will go for the Ayr Gold Cup. It is doubtful he will have a run first and the softer the ground the better. All being well, Jamie Spencer will be able to ride him again."

Easterby's father never won the Stewards' Cup but took the Ayr showpiece with Able Albert, Final Shot and Polly's Brother.

The Easterby stable was on the mark at Pontefract yesterday with White Rabbit, the 20-1 winner of the six-furlong maiden stakes for two-year-olds. The filly was making her debut and Tim said: "I'm delighted with that. She has had a few problems at the stalls but she is a very nice filly."

Earlier on the same card, Spencer made the most of a rare ride for Sir Michael Stoute to land the mile maiden stakes on Lake Kinneret. His mount was sent off 8-11 favourite.

But at Newcastle the Stoute stable suffered a shock reverse when Fraternize, the 1-6 fav-ourite in a three-horse maiden event, was beaten by Danton, trained by Mark Johnston.

Bonnie shows the flag

Richard Quinn will miss Newbury's Geoffrey Freer meeting after he picked up a three-day ban, on 17, 18 and 19 August, for irresponsible riding of a minor nature in the Cour-age Best Handicap at Brighton yesterday. He finished second on Miss Moselle, beaten half a length by Bonnie Flora, but the stewards found that Miss Moselle had interfered with Porak, who in turn interfered with The Student Prince.

Elsewhere, however, the flags were flying after Bonnie Flora's victory. The five-year-old mare, trained by Kevin Bishop and ridden by Chris Catlin, led at halfway and held on bravely at odds of 12-1.

Bishop said: "She is owned by a real old character, Wilma Protheroe-Beynon, who is well into her 80s, and when one of her horses wins she runs up the Union Jack on a flag pole at the bottom of her garden.

"Bonnie Flora is as hard as nails and looks like a jumping type. We tried her over a mile and a half, but she stopped, and this 10 furlongs suits her."

Paul Goode is set for extra opportunities following the departure of South African jockey Basil Marcus from Rod Millman's yard and celebrated with a win on Last Gesture in the seller. Goode, an apprentice attached to Millman's Cullompton stable, sent the 20-1 shot ahead at halfway and Last Gesture ran on gamely to win a little cleverly by three-parts of a length.