Racing: Halmahera hat-trick breaks track record

There are faster horses than Halmahera, even though he broke the track record here on Town Moor yesterday, and many better ones too, but there is no other which has won the sprinting lottery of the Portland Handicap on three occasions.

There are faster horses than Halmahera, even though he broke the track record here on Town Moor yesterday, and many better ones too, but there is no other which has won the sprinting lottery of the Portland Handicap on three occasions.

But then the raffle of the St Leger meeting's first betting extravaganza is easier to predict when the nine-year-old is in the field. For the last three years, Halmahera has ambled out of the stalls, settled himself and then produced a teeth-chattering burst down the stands side. Prediction has never been so easy.

That is not to say the gelding is easy on connections. His mode of running meant that his part-owner, the former footballer and continual nice guy Niall Quinn, was more out of breath than his property yesterday. "Kevin [Ryan, the trainer] has aimed at this race all year and Halmahera is an absolute star," Quinn said. "We were so lucky to get him and while I used to get excited scoring a few goals for Arsenal and Ireland, this was as good as any day I've had in sport. I just floated down off the steps. I thought this was impossible." Quinn came across Halmahera three years ago, when he was bought out of Ian Balding's Kingsclere yard. "I met Mick Kinane in Ireland at the time and he asked me if I'd bought any yearlings," Quinn said. "I told him I'd got a six-year-old sprinter and he looked at me as if I'd been on the beer."

It might have been Ryan who had required a consoling swig when he ended up with an expensive horse but no owner. "He cost 40,000gns and that was a lot of money for me at that stage of my training career and when the guy I bought him for told me he didn't want the horse because he thought he was too old I was devastated," the trainer explained. "Luckily, John [Duddy, the other joint owner] and Niall came to the rescue and I'll never be able to thank them enough.

"Halmahera does not have a routine in the mornings. We just let him enjoy himself. I don't need to see him go up the gallop at 35mph. I know how fast he can go. I've stopped trying to weigh him up. I just try to keep him sweet and happy. I love all my horses to death, but Halmahera is such a special character. I think I'll kick the wife out and bring him in the bedroom."

The tale of the valuable sales race, the St Leger Yearling Stakes, was veni, vidi, vici, as the ultimately impressive Caesar Beware recorded a hat-trick of his own. It was something of a surprise that the gelding did not report for duty in a sling and plaster cast, such had been the worrying reports of his condition emanating from Henry Candy's stable.

"At one time I didn't think we'd even be here," the trainer said. "He went down with the cough and then trod on a foot at exercise, so he was three weeks doing nothing and he came here off two half-speed pieces of work. I was worried at half-way, but he didn't half pick up. He is a very classy beast and if he comes out of the race okay we will have to consider the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday week." Dane O'Neill, the victorious jockey, reported: "My middle draw did not help and it took me time to get across and find a rhythm, but he flew home and I had a job to pull him up. He's a bit special."

The overall riding honours belonged to Frankie Dettori, who rattled up a four-timer, highlighted by Echoes In Eternity's success in the fillies' St Leger, the Park Hill Stakes. It may well have been her last race before retreat to the paddocks. Dettori is now within four of the beleaguered Kieren Fallon and is down to 7-4 to wrest the jockeys' championship from the Irishman.

¿ Quiff, the 7-2 second favourite, may miss Saturday's St Leger because of the fast ground at Doncaster. Final declarations are made today and Teddy Grimthorpe, the racing manager to the filly's owner Khalid Abdullah, said that a decision would be left until the last moment. Quiff is also entered in Sunday's Prix Vermeille at Longchamp and Grimthorpe admitted that is still an option.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Buddy Brown

(Doncaster 3.35)

NB: Trojan Flight

(Doncaster 4.45)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
The spider makes its break for freedom
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Concierge and Porter

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer / Front-End Designer - City of London

£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Customer Support Technician

£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Waterlooville based softwa...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot