Racing: Averti can silence Stravinsky

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The Independent Online
IT IS 12 months to the day since the legend was born on the Knavesmire. Word had come from Ireland of a winged animal on the Ballydoyle gallops, a horse already being talked up for a stud career. And Stravinsky did not disappoint.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt produced an outstanding turn of foot to win going away. Talk of the following year's 2,000 Guineas came easily. After that, though, the script did not run so truly. Stravinsky did not win again as a two-year-old and was beaten at odds-on on his seasonal reappearance at the Curragh in soft ground. When he was also defeated in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot it all looked to be over.

But then the July Cup and resurrection. Stravinsky beat a Group One field by four lengths and was once again a wonderhorse. It is a standing he will be expected to cement in today's Nunthorpe Stakes. Those who witnessed his Newmarket slaughter will find it difficult to desert Stravinsky, yet conditions are different from those at the July Meeting. The son of Nureyev runs over five furlongs for the first time and competes on the softish ground that has blunted his speed in the past. Stravinsky will again sport the visor which transformed him at Newmarket, and we will discover if it has the same marked effect on a second occasion.

The pattern of the Nunthorpe seems clear. Lochangel and Sainte Marine, first and second last year, will blast off in front as they did 12 months ago on bullet hard ground. Whether that tactic will work on this terrain is open to question. The manner of the race may set up an unusual result and a plausible outsider is Averti (next best 3.55).

Willie Muir's veteran was beaten a head by the dead-heaters Coastal Bluff and Ya Malak in this race two years ago after encountering trouble in running. He had been off for 10 months on stud duty before returning to action recently to finish seventh to Rudi's Pet at Goodwood, beaten four and a half lengths. He had hardly been trained in the run-up to that race.

Mick Channon seems to be getting over the loss of Bint Allayl by producing another filly in her image. Rowaasi (2.10), by the same sire in Green Desert, is also linked to her predecessor by owner and jockey. Rowaasi won the Listed National Stakes at Sandown, just as Bint Allayl had done, in June and now attempts to replicate a further victory in the Group Two Lowther Stakes.

The big handicap features a horse with a striking York record. SUGARFOOT (nap 2.45) has run three times over course and distance and has won three times. The five-year-old is 13lb higher than when successful in this race last year, but only a pound higher than when winning a Listed handicap on this course in May.

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