Merit makes light work of Cup
Thursday 09 May 1996
If a man sporting dark glasses and an upturned collar was seen leaving by a side-exit as Merit was led back after his six-length victory, it was probably the handicapper, who will not look back on the 1996 Chester Cup as one of his finer pieces of work. While he was aware that Merit had started to improve rapidly at the end of last season, however, he could not have known that during the winter the process had not just continued, but also accelerated. When he takes his revenge in the ratings, it may be brutal.
Jimmy Quinn, the fortunate jockey who pulled on Salman's dark green silks yesterday, has set himself a target of 1,000 rides this season, and if he rode 10,000 it is doubtful if he would find an easier winner. Merit was settled just off the pace throughout, was clearly going best with a circuit left, and strode clear two furlongs out.
"He travelled really sweetly and I haven't had an easier ride round here apart from Welshman," he said, recalling his victory in the same race four years ago. "He's a lovely horse, and he'd be a nice one to keep the ride on."
The last comment was offered with a smile, but also a hint of resignation. It is not that Quinn is in danger of falling out with Paul Cole, Merit's trainer, but his is the perennial problem of the lightweight. Merit will be asked to shoulder a more realistic burden in his next race - possibly the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting - and rather than fill the saddle with a stone and a half of lead, his connections may prefer to engage a heavier jockey.
Daraydan, top weight with two stone more to carry than the winner, ran on well into second, with Corradini, Cecil's runner, a length away in third, a position which was commendable given that every one of the other 17 runners was ahead of him with a circuit to run. Pat Eddery, his jockey, came from an impossible position to win the second race on Vasari, but it was greedy to expect such remarkable good luck to continue.
There were no such problems for Mick Kinane, who put in an exemplary performance on Tout A Coup to win the Cheshire Oaks. The winner is trained in Ireland by Gerry Cusack, a former employee of Michael Stoute, and with a Listed-race victory to show for his first runner in Britain, his future appears bright.
The success was rather less auspicious for the Oaks, however, as for the second day running a Classic trial was won by a runner without an entry for Epsom. In Tout A Coup's case, all is not lost with the supplementary stage for the Oaks still to come, a luxury denied to the connections of Tuesday's Chester Vase winner, High Baroque, who does not have a Derby entry.
Cusack, though, insisted yesterday that his filly will not be added to the list. Edmund Loder, her owner, may attempt to persuade him otherwise, but the Irish Oaks, at the Curragh on 14 July is the trainer's preferred option and only a pitifully foolish punter will take the 20-1 offered by William Hill for the original version on 7 June.
Latest in Sport
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United? 'My next move will be a surprise' says PSG striker
Ashes 2015 live: Latest score and updates with Australia on the brink of humiliating defeat after Jimmy Anderson claims David Warner wicket
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: Steve Finn claims five wickets as England close in on beating Australia in third Test inside three days at Edgbaston
Mario Balotelli told he has no future at Liverpool as striker trains away from first-team
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 As the world mourned the death of Cecil the lion, five endangered elephants were killed in Kenya
- 4 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
While we fixate on Calais, the UK Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...
£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...