Racing: Soviet Song is back to concert pitch

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The Independent Online

It was ladies first in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood yesterday, but fine manners and the gentility of her rivals were not the factors which propelled Soviet Song to victory.

It was ladies first in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood yesterday, but fine manners and the gentility of her rivals were not the factors which propelled Soviet Song to victory.

The only filly in the 11-strong field was forced to perspire somewhat as she had to borrow the fighting qualities from a brawling alehouse to beat off the harrying Nayyir in the final moments. Soviet Song proved she is not only petite and pretty, like the girl behind the bar, but also possesses the intransigence of the landlady.

"That's her sixth race this year and she came back from every race and improved for each one," James Fanshawe, the winning trainer, said. "She's really tough. She took her races badly last year, but she's had a year to mature and I'm really grateful to Elite [Racing Club, the owners] for keeping her in training. It's their 200th winner and they've done it in style.

"She's very special. Everyone seemed slightly baffled that Attraction got beaten last time [in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket], but she's come out of the race well and shown the colts how to do it today."

As scripted, the early skirmish yesterday was dominated by the last two winners of the 2,000 Guineas, Refuse To Bend and Haafhd. They duelled until Passing Glance swept around the outside and tried to dictate the shape of the race from the front. That shape though swiftly became a circle, a hole he fell into.

Le Vie Dei Colori had his moment, but then the diminutive Soviet Song, bearing the reverse domino colour double three colours, came sweeping on by. The only horse not to lay down his cape was Nayyir, who gradually ate into the lead which the filly had established, but it was Soviet Song who possessed the greater appetite on this occasion. As has become the shine or bust trend with Refuse To Bend, the Godolphin horse slipped all the way back to last. Haafhd, who at least had the excuse that he had to be reshod at the start, finished just two places in front of him.

"She showed at Newmarket how good she was," Johnny Murtagh, the winning jockey, said. "There were a lot of question marks here today but she travelled beautifully in behind. I was waiting for Darryll [Holland on Le Vie Dei Colori] to move, but I always had him covered. Mick Kinane [on Nayyir] came with a strong challenge, but she had enough in the locker. My filly's tough, she's genuine and she likes to win now." The disappointment in the Nayyir camp was tempered by the realisation that his Churn Stables can now be considered out of the cloying web which has tangled up the season this far. "We went for the July Cup but he was very unlucky, and there was an ideal 20-day gap before this," Gerard Butler, the trainer, said.

"He did a fantastic bit of work under Shane Kelly the other day and we knew we had him back, and he loves this place. He had a moment or two of interference, but the filly pulled out a touch more."

* The Jockey Club disciplinary hearing into the running of the Alan Berry-trained Hillside Girl last year will not resume for nearly seven weeks. The third and supposedly final session took place yesterday, but the weight of evidence means proceedings cannot be completed within the allotted time. The earliest date that could be arranged for the hearing to be completed is 14 September.

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