Hills too tough for bookies

YORK EBOR MEETING: A trainer wins pounds 35,000 in bets and Royal Appla use earns a 25-1 quote for the 1996 2,000 Guineas


reports from the Knavesmire

Barry Hills launched his training career with a punt on Frankincense in the 1968 Lincoln, but if that day still holds a special place in his affections, Ebor day 1995 must now be running it close. Within the space of 35 minutes, Hills saddled the winners of the Gimcrack Stakes and the big handicap itself, and for good measure his percentage of the prize- money will be thickly padded out by the proceeds of another tilt at the books.

Last Friday, the trainer rang William Hill and Victor Chandler and backed Sanmartino, his runner in the Ebor, to win pounds 35,000 at odds of 16-1 and 14-1. With half a furlong to run yesterday he probably wished he hadn't. Midyan Blue kicked a length clear of the field and had no intention of stopping, and though Willie Carson sent Sanmartino in pursuit, three strides from the line he was still a head in arrears.

At the post there was a nostril in it, in Sanmartino's favour, and as the spectators caught their breath, Hills's bookies reached for their cheque-books. "That will keep the wolf from the door," the trainer said with the merest hint of understatement. "They're always very sweet when you've had a bit of long odds."

The Ebor is not generally a trial for the St Leger, but Sanmartino is still among the entries for the Classic and Hills hopes that Khalid Abdullah will allow him to take his chance. "When three-year-olds start improving at this time of year, you never know what will happen," he said. "He's been progressing all through the season."

Since Sanmartino was burdened with just 7st 11lb yesterday, some may feel that the euphoria of victory was playing havoc with Hills's judgement, but he is far too shrewd for that. His colt also overcame the considerable handicap of a wide draw, and within a few weeks his odds of 8-1 for yesterday's race may look like the biggest present this side of Christmas.

On the other side of Christmas, Royal Applause, the trainer's Gimcrack winner, is available at 25-1 for the 2,000 Guineas, but this time there is little sign of gift-wrapping. Royal Applause started favourite at 4- 6, but had to work hard for victory, and like Sanmartino got up with just inches to spare.

"Were we beat?" Brett Doyle, the jockey on Tumbleweed Ridge, said incredulously as he was led into the runner-up's position afterwards. Seconds later, the judge confirmed that they were, but it was a brave performance by Tumbleweed Ridge, and his ante-post Guineas price of 50-1 (with William Hill) is much more interesting than the quotes about Royal Applause.

Still Hills had not finished, and a treble at odds of 30-1 was completed when Mubhij took the Roses Stakes by the relatively comfortable margin of a neck. He even had an influence on the Yorkshire Oaks, in which Wind In Her Hair, trained by his son John and ridden by another son Richard, finished third, but here it was Pure Grain who earned the serious attention.

Once again, there was not much in it, even though Pure Grain seemed sure to win by the better part of a furlong when she drew alongside Magical Retreat with a quarter of a mile to run. Magical Retreat, though, stayed on with a determination which mocked her 33-1 starting price, and Pure Grain was just a head ahead at the post.

Pure Grain has been busy since the spring but Michael Stoute, her trainer, will now extend her campaign until October and a run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, for which Coral's quote of 20-1 is a fair one. They could afford to be a little generous. Fortunately for them, Barry Hills bets elsewhere.

Results, page 29

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam