Racing: Bulwark strengthened by McEvoy partnership

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The Independent Online

Few are better placed to endorse the growing reputations of both than Amanda Perrett and her husband, Mark. As it happens, their stable's winner here yesterday was ridden by Richard Hughes, who is retained by the owner of Great Plains, Khaled Abdulla. But the Perretts have used Moore or McEvoy whenever possible this season, and believe both to be gaining fresh assurance. After all, it was only in 2004 that Moore emerged from the apprentice ranks, and McEvoy from Australia.

Mark Perrett knows the Moore clan well from his own riding days. "I bashed around for years over jumps with [Ryan's father] Gary," he said. "A lovely family. It was the old man, Charlie - Gary's dad - who first got me going as a rider. And Gary has proved some sire, getting the champion conditional over jumps [Jamie Moore] in the same year that Ryan was champion apprentice. And they are all the same: down-to-earth and hard-working."

At 22, Moore reserves his self-expression for the saddle and the only way of provoking a ripple in his reserved demeanour is to use the "C-word". But his rather more garrulous agent, Tony Hind, and the bookmakers are less hesitant to talk of the championship. Indeed, the latter are now quoting Moore at a shade of odds-on after watching him hurtle to obscure evening meetings while Spencer won the garlands at Royal Ascot last week. Leaving for Kempton last night, Moore had a lead of five.

"Ryan is still gaining experience all the time, with every ride really," Perrett said. "He would probably be a bit more streetwise than a year ago. He thinks about it, he knows the form, and you can rely on him to do what he's told. He's very hungry, very keen. He's riding at two meetings a day but you still can't stop him coming down to ride work."

McEvoy, too, has evolved since his arrival, gradually adjusting nuances of his Antipodean style to the European environment, but the toughest alteration proved to be the parochial mindset of trainers. McEvoy made that breakthrough in emphatic fashion last summer, excelling during Dettori's absence through injury, though perhaps no horse has done more to advertise his talent than Bulwark, one of the favourites for the Joihn Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.

Bulwark is notorious among other jockeys. None of them has won on him. McEvoy's record is five wins from six rides. "And the other time was in the Chester Cup, when he was drawn in the railway arches," Perrett said. "He had a dreadful run and was nearly last on the home turn, in that big field, but still managed to finish sixth. Thank God Kerrin's free on Saturday, because we were worried he might be claimed by Godolphin.

"There's a few riders that have tried, but none has clicked with this horse. Kerrin just gets a tune out of him. Maybe it's because he doesn't try to bully him. But then he's a very talented rider. A good judge of pace, and he always talks sense when he gets off them, too - which is a bit of a rarity."

Bulwark is by Montjeu out of a talented but quirky mare and resumed his progress after Chester by winning at Haydock. "He has come out of that race in great shape," Perrett said. "With that pedigree, and that running style - he'll never be the type to go clear - you never know quite good he could be."

The same is true of Enticing, who made a stylish debut in the juvenile maiden. She is by Pivotal out of Superstar Leo, who beat the colts in the Norfolk Stakes, and carries the colours of the stricken American champion, Barbaro. She is trained by William Haggas, whose wife, Maureen, said: "She has got a lot of speed, but she's fiery with it. It's just a case of keeping a lid on her."

Hyperion's Selections

LEICESTER: 6.45 Indian Lady 7.15 Victory Spirit 7.45 Soviet Promise 8.15 Days Of My Life 8.45 Pagan Crest 9.15 Richtee

Chris McGrath

Nap: Just Observing

(Lingfield 4.30)

NB: Reem Three

(Newcastle 3.50)