Racing: Something Exciting stirs Elsworth's ambitions

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The Independent Online

He has won anything worth having over jumps and David Elsworth's Flat curriculum vitae is stuffed with prestigious prizes. The greatest omission for the newly achieved pensioner though is the realm of British Classics. Not a one has come his way.

He has won anything worth having over jumps and David Elsworth's Flat curriculum vitae is stuffed with prestigious prizes. The greatest omission for the newly achieved pensioner though is the realm of British Classics. Not a one has come his way.

There have been minor excitements along the road at Whitsbury and Elsworth will again at least be able to carry hope in his heart on both days of the Epsom meeting early next month.

The Geezer is a blue-collar name for the the sort of proletarian horse the trainer is used to fielding on the Surrey Downs. If anything goes wrong with Motivator, his conqueror in the Dante Stakes at York last week, it is not inconceivable to see The Geezer having some sort of Derby chance. A similar price, of around 12-1, and similar prospects surround the rather more ambitiously titled Something Exciting, Elsworth's winner yesterday here of the Lupe Stakes.

The Listed contest carries the cachet of being an Oaks trial, and lived up to its billing in 2000 when Love Divine collected both races. The Lupe is also a race in which Elsworth excels. His previous two runners in Napoleon's Sister and Foodbroker Fancy both won at extravagant odds, while Something Exciting was a rather more transparent 2-1 favourite. After the filly came scooting around the outside of her field in the hands of Richard Quinn it was surprising to learn she had been lame the night before with a shoe problem. It may not have been a rocket burst she delivered after striking the front, but one and a half lengths was a comfortable margin of victory.

Now Tattenham Corner beckons. "She is a well balanced filly and handled the undulations well enough here so I'm sure she'll handle the course at Epsom," Elsworth said. "I have no doubts about her getting the trip. There is bags of stamina in the pedigree.

"I've won plenty of Group Ones, but I've also got a bit of an ego and it would be great fun to win a Classic. But you could train for 100 years and never get a Classic winner. With the horses I get you could anyway."

The supposed Derby trial was less convincing. The Predominate Stakes must now be regarded as only a professed trial as the finger has to go down to Troy in 1979 to find a colt who last accomplished the double.

Nevertheless, there was interest yesterday as the Listed race had attracted Belenus, a son of the awesome Dubai Millennium, winner here in 1999. His owner, Sheikh Mohammed, was in attendance and so, it appeared, some sort of pyrotechnics were anticipated. In the event, Belenus, Godolphin's alleged Blue Riband horse, fizzled out without a bang.

It was an odd encounter, between four maiden winners. Belenus was last early on and detached, but soon got on to the Indian file led by Tragedian from Unfurled and Indigo Cat. The last-named is the beast of Ballydoyle, a colt so savage that a danger sign hangs on his box.

But while Indigo Cat may know a little about hand-to-hand combat he is immature in the art of racing. The chestnut received a smack from Kieren Fallon even before he had reached the straight yesterday as he weaved around in adolescent style. At this stage another colour should dominate his name - green.

Belenus flattered on the outside but dropped away, and the Predominate ultimately fell to the colt which stayed the distance best, Unfurled, who ensured a red letter day for Quinn.

Frankie Dettori's pursuit of a first Derby continues, and Belenus's rider did not have the demeanour of a man who could see the terminus. "He'd done some nice bits of work, but work and a race are two different things," the jockey said. "He had sore shins a month ago. He changed his legs three or four times and he was never comfortable."

John Dunlop, Unfurled's trainer, now has twin prospects of landing a third Blue Riband, as he also has the Lingfield Derby Trial winner, Kong. Yesterday's victor, who is available at 25-1, is fashioned in the trainer's image. "He is a sensible, relaxed, straightforward horse, but in no way flamboyant," Dunlop said. "He's a charming horse, but how good he is only time will tell."

Hyperion'S Selections For Today'S Other Meetings:

Wetherby: 2.00 Tensile 2.30 Ungaro 3.00 Giorgio 3.35 What's A Filly 4.05 Celtic Legend 4.40 Jaoka Du Gord 5.15 Our Tees Component

Doncaster: 6.15 John Keats 6.45 Velvet Waters 7.15 Porthcawl 7.45 Dixieanna 8.15 Chance For Romance 8.45 Pianoforte

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