Racing: Pole Star hopes go west

Two trainers with the same name are forced to suffer very different fortunes

Magnanimity in adversity is priceless in the world of the fragile equine physique, as trainer Evan Williams demonstrated yesterday. The Welshman, something of a wizard with crocks, swallowed his disappointment with grace after Pole Star, whom he had thought not only a certainty here in the novices' chase but also a genuine Cheltenham Festival prospect, trailed home a well-beaten second and walked off the track sore.

The eight-year-old, once third in an Ascot Gold Cup in his palmy days on the Flat, has had his share of physical vicissitudes and seemed, after five years in a Newmarket yard, to have lost the plot mentally as well. But the transfer during the close season to the wide-open spaces of Llancarfan, Glamorgan, and a change of regime appeared to have worked the oracle after a sparkling success at Exeter.

But any dreams are now on hold after Paul Green's classy little gelding limped away, accompanied by the course vet, after being unsaddled. "The bubble has burst," Williams said. "I knew we might be in trouble when the other one went past us so quickly but you just have to take this sort of thing on the chin and get on with it. Winning is good, it's what we all want to do, but first and foremost we want the horses to come home safe. I'd rather he'd gone down a short-head and finished sound than for this to have happened. I don't like to say he was beaten only because he seems to have gone wrong behind because it sounds disrespectful to the winner, but he did come here in absolutely terrific form."

Williams had positive news of his most famous revitalised charge, the Hennessy winner State Of Play. "He's well and happy and we're just chipping away with him," he said. "I've no regrets about not taking on Kauto Star round Kempton. I expect we'd have got blasted off the park like everything else."

Last month's Newbury victory elevated Williams to the big-time. His New Year resolution is level-headed, though. "Just to keep surviving," he said. "That's the hardest part."

The horse who finished 19 lengths to the good yesterday, Flying Enterprise, prompted a double for Venetia Williams. Tony McCoy, in the saddle, pressed 4-6 shot Pole Star throughout the final circuit, eventually pulling clear from three out. "It was his plan to ride like that, to take on the favourite," said Williams (NYR: "to lose the overweight I put on over Christmas."). "The horse is not very big, but he's very brave." The Williams double, completed by handicap chaser Fast Forward, was nearly a three from three here, her third runner Kelrev going down to Lord Of Beauty in the handicap hurdle. Limerick Boy, though, did bring up a treble for the yard at Haydock.

Lord Of Beauty's trainer Noel Chance (NYR: "To give up drinking... no, make it to have as many more winners as possible!") performed a fine feat of conditioning with the six-year-old, whose outings since running on Grand National day last year have been restricted to two recent preps on Wolverhampton's all-weather. "He has legs of glass," said Chance of the chestnut. "But we knew if they held up the handicapper had given him a chance. He may have one more run over hurdles but then he'll go chasing. His legs have been fine, and those runs on the all-weather have stood them in good stead, but you never know when they might go again."

Nicky Henderson's hopes for 2007 were clear after Amaretto Rose became his ninth winner in six racing days in the novices' hurdle. "To keep going like they are running at the moment," he said. "It's been a jolly good Christmas." Amaretto Rose, making her hurdling debut, looked smart as she quickened 13 lengths clear of trailblazing Hobbs Hill. The nursery at Lingfield achieved its place in the history books by dint of all five declared runners hailing from the same stable, a first on the Flat. The contest became a match when trainer Peter Grayson withdrew three, leaving 2-11 favourite Grange Lili to beat Foxy Music a neck.

BETS OF THE DAY

Best shortshot
Still unexposed over fences and back up in trip, the former pointer Flash Cummins (Warwick, 3.05) can continue to progress.

Best longshot
Beauchamp Twist (Warwick, 1.35) was hinting at ability at this moderate level before being brought down on his latest run.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower