Racing: Hugs Dancer defies the odds in Ebor to make Given's name

York Ebor meeting: 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner Kazzia suffers first defeat in Yorkshire Oaks and may miss next month's St Leger

According to the statisticians, yesterday's Ebor was not a race for exposed handicappers, nor penalised horses, or the highly drawn. But then the statisticians went home from the Knavesmire considerably poorer than they arrived.

According to the statisticians, yesterday's Ebor was not a race for exposed handicappers, nor penalised horses, or the highly drawn. But then the statisticians went home from the Knavesmire considerably poorer than they arrived.

Hugs Dancer overcame not only his 25-1 outsiders' price but also a great pile of supposed disadvantages to collect Europe's most valuable Flat handicap, not for Yorkshire but at least for neighbouring Lincolnshire and the coming Gainsborough yard of James Given.

It was also perhaps the day when Given emerged from the chrysalis as a trainer in his own right. No longer does he have to labour under the label as Mark Johnston's former assistant.

That suits Given handsomely, particularly as the two qualified vets are not exactly on the same terms as the Farnhams. "An ambition this year was to be known for me and not for what I once was," he said. Mission accomplished.

It was supposedly mission impossible for Hugs Dancer when the gelding was drawn box No 20, with just two outside him. One of those to his right, the favourite Charley Bates, certainly made it look an impediment as he bolted from the gate and took Frankie Dettori on the scenic tour round the outside of the course.

Hugs Dancer, on the other hand, was charted to the inner by Dean McKeown and the partnership was never out of the front echelon. They were in the lead over one furlong out and even the devil on horseback would have struggled to overhaul them after that. "He just switched off, saved his energy and then wound it up as we planned," Given said. "These days when he gets to the track he starts grinding his teeth and he knows what he's here for. He wasn't going to let anything past him today. He had that gritty determination and wasn't going to let them through."

It was also a day which ensured that McKeown can put off the time when the riding boots go up to the attic. The 42-year-old was selling mortgages two years ago when the lean days seemed to be stringing together, but he continues to pay his own with yet another resurgence in his career.

"I've thought of packing up every year recently," he said, "but things like this keep you going. Things are going well again this year. In the last couple of seasons I haven't been winning too many big races."

Two discordant notes have to be recorded. McKeown received a two-day suspension for overuse of the whip, but lives to fight another day. That is not the case though for Mick Easterby's Sarangani, who broke a fetlock six furlongs out and had to be destroyed.

There was sorrow too in the Yorkshire Oaks, despite another warming performance from Sir Michael Stoute's Islington. Her victory meant a first defeat for the mighty Kazzia, the winner of both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks. There is always something saddening about a good horse losing an unbeaten record, the first sign of fallibility. The Triple Crown dream if not in pieces, is now showing signs of considerable fissures. Connections of the Godolphin filly are even talking about the Prix Vermeille as an alternative to the St Leger.

"She's had an easy time of it since the Oaks with a view to running in the big autumn races," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said. "Clearly we have been a little bit too easy with her. Once you get beat like that you're slightly back to the drawing board really."

Kazzia looked a different animal from Oaks day yesterday, soft as putty, vincible and weak. It was Islington who struck for home from over the horizon on this occasion, forging on from well over two furlongs out.

"I decided to ride her positively, but I took a chance when I did go, probably a bit too soon, but I didn't like to disappoint her when she was going so easy," Kieren Fallon reported. "She's got the speed for a mile and she stays a mile and a half and I think there's more to come."

Stoute, the great warder on the information cell, would not confirm where Islington will run next, but a rough guess seems to be that Golan will contest the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Islington the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeders' Cup. "That's a distinct possibility," he said. And that's as positive as he gets.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee