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
Still unexposed over fences and back up in trip, the former pointer Flash Cummins (Warwick, 3.05) can continue to progress.
Beauchamp Twist (Warwick, 1.35) was hinting at ability at this moderate level before being brought down on his latest run.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.