Racing: Cape Fear stars on day bargain buys reap reward

Value is entirely relative, but recognisable at most levels. Take, for instance, the two-year-old Cape Fear, winner here of the £200,000 St Leger Yearling Stakes. Twelve months ago he cost 22,000 guineas at auction, which is a great deal of money if you are hungry but in the bloodstock world barely back-pocket change.

Value is entirely relative, but recognisable at most levels. Take, for instance, the two-year-old Cape Fear, winner here of the £200,000 St Leger Yearling Stakes. Twelve months ago he cost 22,000 guineas at auction, which is a great deal of money if you are hungry but in the bloodstock world barely back-pocket change.

The fact he went under the hammer at the sale across the road from the racecourse qualified him to run yesterday and take the £109,875 first prize, by any standards a decent return for outlay. The six-furlong contest, with its inflated purse, is no more or less than a modern marketing wheeze, but a highly successful one. There was a maximum field of 22, with 46 more of last year's sale graduates balloted out. And, with this year's market in full swing, buyers must be beating a path to the boxes containing the offerings from David Powell's Catridge Farm Stud, for Cape Fear was the third successive winner of the contest consigned from the Wiltshire nursery, after Acclamation and Somnus.

Whether Cape Fear progresses as well as those high-class operators is yet to be revealed but judging by the manner of his performance yesterday that scenario cannot be ruled out. The Brian Meehan-trained Cape Cross colt, owned by the Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds syndicate, was disadvantaged by having to race on his own, clear of the low-drawn group on the far side of the track, yet galloped home so strongly under Kieren Fallon's urgings that his three-quarter length success was rather easy. Ten strides after the finish there was clear daylight between him and the stands side pack, headed by Psychiatrist.

"We more or less laid him out for this," said Meehan. "If you have one who is qualified you have to have it in your mind because of the money. If he had been drawn high he would have won very impressively indeed."

Should Cape Fear tackle the Dewhurst Stakes, he may well meet Sabbeeh, who redeemed his reputation in the seven-furlong conditions stakes after flopping in the Coventry Stakes. And if there were some complaints that artificial watering had aggravated the ground-softening effects of overnight rain, none came from Michael Jarvis, the trainer of the Red Ransom colt, after his charge scooted home by two and a half lengths. "He had sore shins after his run on firm at Royal Ascot," said the Newmarket man, "but I think on soft ground you could take him anywhere."

Back on the value front, there is also Halmahera, who became only the fourth back-to-back winner of the Portland Handicap in 139 runnings when he burst through under Frankie Dettori to take trailblazing Corridor Creeper by half a length. The eight-year-old, an 11-1 shot, has won only twice since Kevin Ryan plucked him from Ian Balding's care at a horses-in-training sale for 40,000 guineas two years ago, but both races have been the valuable Town Moor feature sprint.

And then there is Discreet Brief, heroine of the Park Hill Stakes by a runaway seven lengths. Her owner, Sonia Rogers paid 100,000 guineas for the daughter of Darshaan as a foal, intending to sell her on, but did not achieve her asking price and elected to keep her.

That George Duffield managed to get Ticker Tape home in the opener by a neck, despite putting up 1lb overweight, spared his blushes. His wife, Ann, was fairly frank afterwards about the instructions given by the filly's trainer, Jamie Osborne, to keep the 56-year-old's weight to a minimum.

"I can't give you the precise details," she said, "but our four-poster bed was discussed. But what Jamie did not know was that George was far too tired to do anything in it, and not only did he eat fish, chips and mushy peas last night but he ate sweets all the way here."

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