Racing: Moscow recovers after retreat

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The Independent Online

Moscow Flyer has already defied considerable odds to win three times at the Cheltenham Festival, but none as high as were available yesterday against him winning for a fourth time in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday.

Though he is still quoted around 4-1 second favourite by bookmakers, the betting exchanges tend to be a more sensitive barometer and at one stage he briefly touched 20-1 on Betfair. By last night he was back down to 10-1, but that could not stem a tide of rumours that he would not be travelling from Ireland.

Jessica Harrington, his trainer, was unavailable last night but Barry Geraghty, his jockey, insisted that this was a case of smoke without fire after speaking to the head groom of her Co Kildare stables. "People have been ringing me and telling me the horse is out, that he's out to 15-1 on Betfair," he said. "But I have spoken to Eamon Leigh at the yard this evening and he said that anyone who's interested should be taking that price, because all is well with the horse."

This could certainly prove one of those self-fulfilling scares, in that many people have written off the horse after a sluggish public gallop at Leopardstown on Sunday. But Harrington has always said that he is not a flamboyant worker, and vowed that he would take his chance despite disappointing in his only two starts this season.