Riberac's progress earns prosperity

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The Independent Online

Riberac took took her earnings over the last 10 days to £85,000 with an emphatic success in the Listed Valiant Stakes at Ascot yesterday, to mark herself as probably the fastest-improving five-year-old in training.

Gary Middlebrook, Riberac's owner, was tempted to retire her to the paddocks at the end of last year, but took the advice of Mark Johnston, her trainer, to give her one more season of racing.

That decision has already been richly rewarded, while yesterday's six-length defeat of Got To Go and Coyote hinted at further successes to come before Riberac finally goes to stud. "She was one of the first we bred ourselves and I can't wait to breed from her," Middlebrook said after yesterday's race. "She will be worth a bit now, too."

Riberac has improved from handicapper to Pattern class so quickly, however, that openings are becoming more limited. "It is very difficult to find suitable races for her," the mare's owner said. "There is a Group race at the Curragh for which she would have to be supplemented, and there is a Listed race at York which is also a possibility."

Salviati continued Milton Bradley's remarkable season by winning at Ascot yesterday and is likely to reappear in a £12,000 race at Beverley next week. "We only used to dream of having a winner at Ascot," the Chepstow trainer said. "This is all down to Liz Batchelor, who looks after this horse. Liz joined me from school 20 years ago and she does everything. She even drives the box, and she tells me exactly how the horses are doing."

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