Racing: Bell in a keen pursuit of a Princely purse: Big stables attempt to repel smaller yards in search of a share in Redcar's substantial prize

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The Independent Online
RACING'S annual attempt to spread its riches a little more widely is poised to succeed once again this afternoon, when a maximum field of 26 - the remainder of an initial entry of 542 - will compete for the guaranteed purse of pounds 100,000 in the Tote Two- Year-Old Trophy at Redcar.

This is the contest in which weights are allocated according to the average sale price of a sire's yearlings: the more expensive his offspring, the greater the burden a runner must carry. It is a system which can produce some apparent anomalies: Pastel, by the blue-blooded Miswaki, was beaten off an official mark of 88 in a nursery last time out, but must give 16lb to Musical Season, rated just 7lb lower on his most recent run in a handicap, because the latter colt is by the positively plebian Merdon Melody.

The weighting system is intricate, but in the years since the race's inauguration it has certainly had the desired effect. Pip Payne and Alf Smith have both picked up not just the robust winner's cheque, but a pounds 100,000 bonus if the successful stable's muster of juveniles is three or less. Just two of today's runners would qualify for the maximum bonus, Brief Glimpse, who has a serious chance, and Saltz, who has practically none, though yards with fewer than 10 two-year-olds are eligible for smaller additions to the prize-money.

The betting, however, implies that the organisers will not have to dig any deeper into its pocket. The market is dominated by two runners from powerful Newmarket yards, Princely Hush (Michael Bell) and Maid For Walking (David Loder), and the former, in particular, has a strong claim at his current odds of around 5-1. 'I think that's probably a realistic price for his chance,' Bell said yesterday. 'At the end of the day he's a Group Two winner who's beaten Gay Gallanta, Fallow and Sri Pekan. He's got some pretty impressive scalps.'

Princely Hush must carry an 8lb penalty as a result of his recent success in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, but is still hardly overburdened. The going at Redcar will also be in his favour. 'When there's ease in the ground he's a very good horse,' Bell said. Neutrals, though, will be hoping for a success by a smaller yard. An outsider worth considering is In Good Faith, the only two-year-old in training with John Quinn, who has held a licence only since 1 August (and is thus, sadly, ineligible for the bonus scheme.) In Good Faith's best form is at around a mile, though as Quinn pointed out yesterday, 'he won his maiden in June over five furlongs, and the one thing he will really like is the ground.' The colt also has what could prove to be an excellent draw, against the stands' rail in 26, with most of the major contenders nearby. At 20-1, his chance of redistributing a little wealth from bookies to punters is considerable.

Wagon Master, winner of the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot last month, has suffered a tendon injury which is expected to end his racing career. Alec Stewart's colt had been expected to stay in training next season with the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as his major objective.

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