Racing: Buster to win a battle of minds: Richard Edmondson on this afternoon's televised racing

Click to follow
The Independent Online
AMONG racing's lexicon of euphemisms, the terminology for a horse liable to lead punters down the path to poverty is 'a thinker'. Today, at Haydock, two of these equine Einsteins in Desert Sun and Young Buster meet to swap thoughts in the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes.

Of the complex duo, the former is undoubtedly the more unfathomable. For long the subject of glowing reports from his trainer, Henry Cecil, Desert Sun's inability to apply himself on the racecourse has meant he has won just once in 10 efforts over the last two seasons. In all probability, he will never win again.

On the other hand, there are growing signs that Young Buster may have discarded philosophy. After four defeats this season, the colt was galvanised by Geoff Wragg, the Newmarket trainer, into producing his Sunday best at Doncaster's inaugural meeting.

Wragg, who had previously tried his horse in blinkers, revealed the key to rehabilitation after the race. Young Buster needs to be in a small field and without blinkers. Desert Sun may need to be in a big field and without the worry of being in training.

Young Buster (2.45) should again be free of crowding this afternoon and provide Wragg with his second victory in the Group Three event, following Braiswick's win three years ago.

Perhaps the most inappropriately named horse on the card is Never In The Red, whose trainer Jack Berry is always in a red shirt at the racecourse. The four-year- old recorded a hat-trick as a juvenile before suffering a barren campaign last year.

Berry believes his gelding may fall into the bracket of promising two-year-olds who need a season to consolidate, and if this assertion is to be vindicated Never In The Red (2.15) will have to take advantage of an attractive handicap mark.

John Gosden, who was at Portman Square during the week supporting Steve Cauthen's case against a whip ban, is now back to having his horses on trial and should succeed in the opening race with Badawi (1.45), who looks the best treated animal following a win on Ascot's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes card.

Another member of Cauthen's defence, Gosden's solicitor wife Rachel Hood, has an interest at Newmarket, where her Deprecator runs in the seven-furlong handicap. This event, though, looks destined for the well-drawn Crystal Heights (next best 4.20), who can kick-start what has been a disappointing season for the Newmarket trainer Bill O'Gorman.

Another man from Headquarters, Michael Stoute, should initiate a double with Mystic Goddess (3.45), whose form suggests she should be giving her rivals in the Listed Sweet Solera Stakes a start.

A second inmate of Freemason Lodge, Emir Albadou, is likely to take a maiden which has the flavour of a family's Christmas games. Five of the seven participants are distributed among the Maktoum brothers, with three of those the property of Sheikh Hamdan. However, if gallops form is reproduced, eldest brother Maktoum Al Maktoum should succeed with Emir Albadou (4.50).

An owner-breeder with a rather shallower well of resources, Brian Gubby, can take the remaining televised race. At first glance, this handicap looks like a contest to make Hercule Poirot's moustache droop, but there are small clues offered by Gubby's USA Dollar.

One of the few contestants to have performed at a decent level, he enjoyed his finest moment over course and distance in 1990. USA DOLLAR (nap 3.15) may have slipped since, but surely not to the extent of the 20lb he has been dropped in the meantime.