Racing: Classic Route

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The Independent Online
RED ROUTE earned his place in the St Leger field at Doncaster next month with a convincing display of galloping and staying in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes here yesterday. The only three-year-old in the mile-and- five furlongs contest, he made five older rivals look very slow indeed as he drew away from Shareek from the three-furlong marker to win by six lengths.

His trainer Henry Cecil, eyeing a fifth Doncaster Classic with the son of Polish Precedent, was very pleased. He said: 'We came here to see if he was good enough to tackle Group One company, and he has told us he is. He has the temperament for the job, and is improving all the time, and will be better still, as we have not been hard on him so far.'

Red Route tracked Shareek into the straight, where Willie Ryan sent him about his business. The colt quickened readily, then put his head down and lengthened in the style of a genuine racehorse and the further he went the further he won.

And if his trainer was pleased with the way Red Route came through his trial, his owner-breeder, Louis Freedman, was delighted. Freedman, a great traditionalist, regards the St Leger, the oldest and longest Classic, as the greatest test of a colt.

When he won it seven years ago with Reference Point - to whom Red Route in action bears more than a passing resemblance - the race was that colt's principal target after the Epsom Derby, with Longchamp's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, more beloved by the modern generation, an afterthought.

Bookmakers will not offer odds on the St Leger until more challengers emerge. At this week's three-day York Festival Broadway Flyer stakes his claim in the Great Voltigeur Stakes on Tuesday and Bolas hers in the Yorkshire Oaks on Wednesday.

The Yattendon Stakes is usually one of the hottest maidens of Newbury's year; former winners have included Nashwan and, last year, Pencader beat Hawajiss with Derby winner Erhaab among the also-rans. In the 1992 renewal four newcomers fought out the finish, with Varnishing Day justifying favouritism by a short-head from Bahri to give Robert Sangster and Peter Chapple-Hyam some joy after the injury that knocked Turtle Island out of today's prestigious Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Lester Piggott's mount Bin Ajwaad was yesterday awarded the Group Three Desmond Stakes at The Curragh following a stewards' inquiry.

Heart Lake, ridden by John Murtagh, passed the winning post half a length in front of the Ben Hanbury-trained Bin Ajwaad but was disqualfied for diving to his left less than two furlongs out, badly interfering with two unplaced rivals and then hanging again close home.

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