Racing: Johnston confident of Attraction's return

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The Independent Online

When attraction and Three Valleys demolished all opposition to win the top juvenile prizes at Royal Ascot in June a glorious future seemed certain for both. They were instantly thrust to the top of the heap in the two-year-old rankings and scribbled in at the head of the bookmakers' lists for the 2004 Guineas races.

Three Valleys is almost back on that vaunted perch, having redeemed a reputation that took a battering from illness and defeat by Aidan O'Brien's One Cool Cat. He goes into this week of championship races at Newmarket as favourite for what is still regarded as the most important and informative two-year-old event of the season, the Dewhurst Stakes.

Attraction is not going anywhere and is still confined to her box with a fracture of a pedal bone that had seemed to have ended her career. Crucially, though, her trainer, Mark Johnston, yesterday issued an upbeat report on the filly that makes it clear the bookmakers were premature in wiping her name from their ledgers.

"I think it's 50-50 [that she will resume her career], or maybe better than that perhaps. The pedal bone, I'm confident, will heal 100 per cent," he said.

"She's on six weeks' box rest at the Duke of Roxburghe's stud, then we're going up there to have a look and x-ray her. Then we think she'll come back into training in mid-November. We are making assumptions that the horse is going to be in training and go for the Guineas."

Attraction is unbeaten in five starts, winning four times over five furlongs before recording a hugely impressive win in the Cherry Hinton Stakes over six furlongs on the last occasion she appeared on a racecourse back in July.

The Guineas, at a mile, would be a huge step up in distance for the filly, who is by the sire Efisio and has shown a sprinter's speed. "Obviously there are a lot of variables in the Guineas," Johnston added, "as she would be jumping up to a mile. We were also thinking that we had some problems with her knees and we are not sure how they'll develop over the winter.

"It's a bit crazy how she went from favourite for the Guineas to not even being in the betting. I am sure there are many others that are not guaranteed to be there."

The elimination programme for the 2,000 Guineas will continue on Saturday in the Dewhurst Stakes, for which Three Valleys has been installed as the 5-2 favourite. He is to be taken on by Johnston's Lucky Story and the favourite for the 2004 Derby, Snow Ridge, who was so impressive in the Royal Lodge Stakes last time.

"This promises to be the most competitive Dewhurst in living memory and a win for Three Valleys could see him leap-frog One Cool Cat into Guineas favouritism," Simon Clare, Coral's spokesman, said.

Sindapour has been the subject of ante-post money ahead of this Saturday's Cesarewitch. William Hill have cut the five-year-old from 14-1 into 10-1 for the marathon event, while easing the former 7-1 favourite No Refuge out to 8-1 co-favourite. Sindapour's trainer, Martin Pipe, took the race last year with Miss Fara, who is also quoted, as a 25-1 chance with Hills, and 33-1 with Ladbrokes.

DEWHURST STAKES (Newmarket, Saturday) Coral: 5-2 Three Valleys, 100-30 Lucky Story, 4-1 Snow Ridge, 13-2 Antonius Pius, 8-1 Duke Of Venice, 12-1 Imperial Stride, Balmont, 14-1 Sabbeeh, 16-1 others.

CESAREWITCH (Newmarket, Saturday) William Hill: 8-1 Distant Prospect, Inglis Drever, No Refuge (from 7-1), 9-1 Shabernak, 10-1 Numitas, Sindapour, 12-1 Direct Bearing, 14-1 Ten Carat, 16-1 Landing Light, 20-1 others. Labrokes: 8-1 Distant Prospect, 9-1 Shabernak, 10-1 Inglis Drever, No Refuge, Numitas, 12-1 Direct Bearing, Sindapour, Ten Carat, 16-1 Landing Light, 20-1 others.

Racing in brief: Bailey's riding role puts six perfections in pole position

Six Perfections has been made 5-1 joint favourite for the Breeders' Cup Mile after the announcement that Jerry Bailey will partner the filly instead of Thierry Thulliez, the filly's regular partner Coral have now made her 5-1 for the race along with John Gosden's Oasis Dream. "Six Perfections has the perfect profile for the Breeders' Cup Mile and with Jerry Bailey on board she deserves to head the market," Simon Clare, Coral's spokesman, said.

Pat Eddery has added John Dunlop, for whom he has ridden successfully for many years, to the list of trainers who will take charge of runners for his new racing club. He has also recruited Richard Hannon, Sylvester Kirk, David Loder, Jeremy Noseda, Jamie Osborne and Amanda Perrett.

Newmarket will show England's Rugby World Cup match with South Africa live on a giant screen during racing on Saturday.