Nicholls has Pure speed for record bid

Racing would be nowhere without great lashings of naive optimism, but not even the punter who has a daily Heinz has anything on Epsom racecourse, which stages an annual assault on the world equine speed record on the Monday of the August Bank Holiday. With utter predictability, the start of the weekend saw rain across much of the country, and as a result, the 19 sprinters who will try to beat Epsom's 40-year-old five-furlong track record of 53.6 seconds this afternoon must do so on ground which, at best, will be no faster than good to firm. It is, to say the least, a shade of odds against.

Racing would be nowhere without great lashings of naive optimism, but not even the punter who has a daily Heinz has anything on Epsom racecourse, which stages an annual assault on the world equine speed record on the Monday of the August Bank Holiday. With utter predictability, the start of the weekend saw rain across much of the country, and as a result, the 19 sprinters who will try to beat Epsom's 40-year-old five-furlong track record of 53.6 seconds this afternoon must do so on ground which, at best, will be no faster than good to firm. It is, to say the least, a shade of odds against.

However, with speed machines like Repertory and Afaan in the field, they will probably get within a second or two of the record, set by Indigenous in 1960, which was in any case recorded by hand and thus probably half a second too fast. And if one of them can beat it, the winning owner will pick up a £100,000 bonus to go with the prize-money of around £15,000, which certainly adds a little spice to the otherwise humdrum Bank Holiday cards.

Stephen Wallis, Epsom's general manager, could at least offer the comfort yesterday that while Epsom got wet on Saturday, other venues were far wetter. "We didn't have the rain that they had at Lord's or at Newmarket,'' Wallis said yesterday, "and 19 runners is the biggest field for five furlongs we have had for a long time so it will certainly be a cavalry charge. It will take an exceptional effort but it is not impossible, and we have paid the insurance premium, so we want to pay out.''

One further factor which seems to suggest that a record time is unlikely is that most of the pace in the race appears to be drawn low, when it is the high numbers, against the stands rail, which are generally held to have an advantage on Epsom's straight course.

Simple, unsullied speed, though, is the essential ingredient here, and it is something which Pure Elegancia (next best 3.40) has in abundance. David Nicholls had seven runners in this race at the overnight stage, but relies on just Pure Elegancia and Anthony Mon Amour, both of whom have featherweights. He is surely tilting at the bonus, and Pure Elegancia, better drawn of the two in 10, can win the race even if the record proves beyond her.

The principal supporting race at Epsom is the Moet & Chandon Silver Magnum, the so-called Amateurs' Derby over the full Classic trip of 12 furlongs, but for all the grandeur of its title, this is a race which would not look out of place on a Tuesday afternoon at Catterick. Elie Hennau, the winner 12 months ago on a horse trained by Gary Moore, teams up with the same trainer again today, but Wasp Ranger is not the most predictable of horses, and Spirit Of Tenby (3.10), a course-and-distance winner and the mount of Edgar Byrne, is preferred.

Gold Academy (2.05), who has been racing above his class so far this year, can take advantage of a drop in grade in the opener, in which National Anthem, a beaten favourite on his last two outings, is his only realistic opponent. In the handicap which follows, MUYASSIR (nap 2.35), unlucky in a fast-run event last time out, is still on a fair mark and has a good draw near the inside rail too.

At Newcastle, meanwhile, the feature event is the Blaydon Race, which commemorates the so-called Geordie National Anthem, as well as the long extinct meeting about which it was written.

Given that allegedly inconsistent stewarding was a feature of the Ebor meeting at York last week, the officials at Newcastle this afternoon might do well to remember that the last ever Blaydon Races, held in September 1916, had to be abandoned when a riot broke out following the disqualification of a winning horse.

Assuming the natives are not too restless, though, the race they may wish to concentrate on when sizing up the main event is the seven-furlong nursery which opened proceedings on Stewards' Cup day at Goodwood. The first three home in that race, Forever My Lord, Dance On The Top and Achilles Spirit, were separated by less than two lengths, and are all in opposition again today. The revised weights imply that there will still be little to choose between them, but Dance On The Top (2.50) is more likely to appreciate the step up in trip, while Mynah (2.20) is also still improving and should win the opener at Gosforth Park.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas