Racing: Albert gamble causes stir

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The Independent Online
LESS than a week after being at the centre of an investigation by the Lingfield stewards, Albert returned to the same track yesterday to pull off a gamble. Backed from 9-2 to 3-1 favourite in the last race, the six-year-old won easily by two and a half lengths.

'Is that the same horse that ran here on Saturday?' shouted one racegoer as Albert and jockey Jimmy Quinn returned to the winner's enclosure.

Six days ago the gelding's trainer David Wilson and former champion amateur rider Elaine Bronson were each fined pounds 500 by the stewards after Albert, a market drifter from 7-4 to 7-2, trailed in almost last, beaten 19 lengths by the winner Master Hyde.

Albert is described as 'thoroughly unreliable' by Timeform, and both Wilson and Bronson were incensed at the fines. Yesterday's race was over an extra half- mile and Torquil Riley-Smith, the horse's owner, said: 'It was only in the final four furlongs he started to get going. There's no doubt the previous race was too short for him,' he said.

'I had pounds 500 on him on Saturday - the bet is in Ladbrokes' book - and I've had a little bit on again. Initially, I wanted to appeal against the fines, but the Jockey Club rarely overturns a decision.'

Very Very Ordinary and Le Piccolage, who had been among the favourites for tomorrow's Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster, have been taken out of the betting for the race. John Upson, trainer of Very Very Ordinary walked the course yesterday and decided that conditions were too fast. Nick Henderson's Le Piccolage is lame but the stable's Parsons Green will run, with John Kavanagh in the saddle.