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.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Warehouse Developer / Analyst (SQL, SSIS, stored procedures)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures (an SThree br...

Year 6 Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + D.O.E - Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone:...

March On Cancer™ - Local Marketing and Promotions Volunteer

This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week