Racing: Castoret to keep Hills rolling: Richard Edmondson on the betting highlights at today's 11 Bank Holiday meetings

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The Independent Online
NINE amateur jockeys today face the journey that is considered the ultimate test by their professional counterparts, 12 furlongs around the Epsom switchback.

While the standard of steering may differ between that in the Derby and the methods on show this afternoon, there is no disparity in the heat of competition.

'This race (the Moet & Chandon Silver Magnum) is a real no- holds barred job,' John Hills, the Lambourn trainer who won the race as a jockey on Lumen, says. 'No-one takes prisoners and you don't want to be falling asleep at the top of that hill when everything starts tightening up because it's always very competitive.

'When I won I remember sneaking up the inside through a gap the size of a double-decker bus. Ray Hutchinson, who was a mate of mine, objected after finishing fifth and was trying to get fourth, the greedy little devil, but it didn't work.'

Hills, who saddles his first runner in the event today in Castoret, has an enviable record to maintain as he was not out of the first four in four attempts as a rider.

The man he entrusts at the controls today is Charlie Vigors, whose father Nick, the former trainer, bought Castoret as a yearling and trained him as a juvenile. Vigors, a pupil assistant with Nick Henderson, will be instructed to keep his nerve as the field shoots away from him today.

'We need to be sitting out of trouble on Castoret, let them do all the fighting, and then come with a nice sustained run,' Hills says. 'I'm confident Charlie will be able to do it, he's very capable and he's got a clock in his head.'

This modus operandi is dependent on Castoret enjoying better fortune than he did in the Ebor 12 days ago, when he was repeatedly baulked and then battered, by the whip of a rival jockey. If the split comes, however, Castoret (next best 3.10) should repeat his course and distance win of June.

Jdaayel (2.35) looks the best option in the first televised race on form, which none of her three rivals possess but which has just been struck by her trainer, Alec Stewart. Another filly, James Fanshawe's Clare Kerry Lass (3.40), looks good value on her most recent sixth in a competitive Newbury handicap, which followed a lengthy absence from the track.

The best bet on the card though is Rod Simpson's OLIFANTSFONTEIN (nap 4.15), who has the considerable advantages of the best form, the best draw and, for him, the best ground.

The day's most valuable event is at Ripon, the Champion Two- Year-Old Trophy, a race which is made no less perplexing by the fact that all 10 contestants have won a race this year. The most reliable selection here appears to be the horse with the most reliable form figures, Nominator (3.00), who has finished out of the frame just once in 13 starts this season.

The figures for Yours Or Mine (2.00) are less persuasive as the filly has made the frame just once in seven outings this year. That, however, was at Thirsk on Friday, when she won. She may now be worth following, especially as her trainer, David Chapman, has made his name by wringing sequences out of sprinters.

Another Yorkshire horse that last ran in his home county, Gymcrak Premiere (2.30), should take the remaining race. Peter Easterby's gelding runs off a 2lb lower mark than when a good fifth to Doulab's Image at York.

(Photograph omitted)

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