Racing: Ageless Duffield adds dash of steel to Chivalry

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The Independent Online

As cunning plans go, the plot that succeeded when Chivalry landed the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket yesterday perhaps owed less to the age from which the victor takes his name than the era of Machiavelli. But practised in the art of winning big handicaps as trainer Sir Mark Prescott and jockey George Duffield might be, this may well have been their masterpiece.

Chivalry, who had not run for 343 days, made his move as the joint-favourite, Akshar, who raced too freely in front, had no more to give after halfway in the nine-furlong contest. But Duffield required all his strength and poise to see off the relentless challenge of Adiemus as the five-year-old inched ever closer up the final hill, failing by a short-head in the shadow of the post. They were followed by Checkit two lengths away third and Lady Bear in fourth. The other joint-favourite, Jazz Messenger, was never happy on the fast ground.

The victory was the 800th shared by Prescott and Duffield since their partnership was established in days of yore, and was their third joint Cambridgeshire success, following Quinlan Terry in 1988 and the almighty gamble landed by Pasternak in 1997.

Chivalry was a 14-1 chance after an ante-post plunge. "The horse has been working very well," said Duffield, at 56 the senior jockey in the weighing room. "Sir Mark is a master at producing horses to run - there's no one better."

Prescott repaid the compliment, saying: "He got a wonderful ride. The second did too, but it's marvellous to see someone who's been at it so long riding so wonderfully well. It's a marvellous feat and I suppose one day the Science Museum will want his body to find out why he can keep on going so long."

The second, Adiemus, just failed to complete a feature race double for his trainer, Jeremy Noseda, whose Peak To Creek left it just that bit less late than his stablemate in snatching victory from Local Poet in Redcar's £150,000 Two-Year-Old Trophy.

Local Poet, racing virtually alone on the far side, set up a clear lead until collared in the last stride, leaving his owner, John Fretwell, to rue what might have been. "I backed him each-way to win £500,000 at 66-1 and I thought he had it won," he said.