Racing: Gamut looks primed for Eddery's last hurrah
Thursday 06 November 2003
Soon, at the latest on Saturday, the winners will stop pouring out of Pat Eddery's ears. At the age of 51, the 11-times champion jockey pulls the plug out of the wall on Doncaster's Town Moor after the most glorious of careers.
This week there has been much flowery discussion about Eddery's undoubted contribution to the sport, but an unworthy and less romantic question still lingers. The Irishman may have ridden over 4,600 winners, but the important one, the one that many will remember, may still be the one to come.
Racing is not unknown for supplying the apparently perfect result. There are still those who question whether Eddery himself was at his purposeful best when pointing Northern Fleet at Fujiyama Crest at Ascot in 1986, at the completion of Frankie Dettori's magnificent seven. That is perhaps to underestimate Eddery's competitiveness.
Yet there have been the convenient results. Declan Murphy's victorious return from near-death at Chepstow, the neat career sign-offs of Joe Mercer and Geoff Lewis are among them. So what have the fates, or more prosaically, connections got in store for us at Doncaster.
Eddery is not yet booked for the last sizeable betting race of the campaign, the November Handicap, but there is still time. There are already plans to ride a Barry Hills juvenile in a maiden contest, plus Colourful Life for Mary Reveley. Also of much intrigue is Eddery's link up in the 2.00, for Martin Pipe in a nursery, a queerer juxtaposition it would be hard to imagine.
The big one though, according to both the form-book and inside camp Eddery itself, is Gamut in the Listed Serlby Stakes. The trip might be on the short side, but the same cannot be said of Gamut's ability. Sir Michael Stoute's colt has already split Vinnie Roe and Powerscourt in the Irish St Leger and was earlier third to Millenary and Bandari in the Princess Of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket in July. And they say there are no certainties in racing.
The current champion jockey was hors de combat from Musselburgh yesterday. Kieren Fallon missed his five rides at the Scottish course due to ill health and is not expected to return until Saturday.
Fallon's absence left the stage open for Eddie Ahern, who combined with trainer Gerard Butler to record a treble on Disengage, Rydal and Compton Drake. Rydal's success provided Ahern with the landmark of the first century of his career.
"It is a fantastic achievement by Eddie to get a century in only his second season over here," Butler said. "He will be riding for me next year as long as Chelsea don't come along with an offer."
The Martin Pipe pairing of Seebald and Cyfor Malta head the weights for Saturday week's Paddy Power Gold Cup after yesterday's publication, and the Wellington trainer is mob-handed, just like another goliath of National Hunt. J P McManus has five in the race, but is most likely to be represented by Master Tern and Risk Accessor.
"We're very, very pleased with Master Tern, he's in good form and looks well," Frank Berry, the owner's racing manager, said. "Risk Accessor won a two-horse chase the other day at Thurles - it was a nice bit of work for him and he won easily there. It was good to get the run into him."
* Misternando won his 10th race of the season at Musselburgh yesterday and his trainer, Mick Channon, may run the three-year-old again at Doncaster on Saturday.
* The Cross Country Chase scheduled for Cheltenham on Friday 14 November has been abandoned because the ground on the cross country track is too firm, it was announced yesterday.
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