Racing: Danetime gain time for Tabor

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The Independent Online
Pride came after the fall this time. Danetime, narrowly beaten in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, recouped losses here yesterday in another of the season's ferocious betting heats, the Stewards' Cup. It was by only a neck that Pat Eddery forced the three-year-old home, but it was enough to allow the owner Michael Tabor to raise both his head and his bank balance.

Danetime started 5-1 favourite and Tabor admitted to landing a shade over pounds 200,000 in bets. But the former bookmaker, now a Monaco-based tax exile whose financial wizardry includes some fearless tilting against his old colleagues, said: "It's not really the money that counts, it's being right, vindicating your judgement. Everyone has an ego and that can ruin you. But you also have your pride, and you don't like making a fool of yourself."

Danetime overcame the traditionally unfavourable low draw in the six- furlong cavalry charge, the bias against those of his age-group, the disadvantage of having nothing to race against in the final furlong and lack of cut in the ground. In a desperate finish he held off My Best Valentine, who raced down the centre of the course and whose rider Ray Cochrane raised his whip in premature triumph as the horses flashed past the post. It was equally tight for third, with Dashing Blue getting the verdict from Faraway Lass by a head.

Tabor added: "The line between winning and losing in racing is so narrow, which is the beauty of it all. But if Danetime had been drawn on the far side, and the ground had come up soft, he would have been a 6-4 shot, and won like one."

With the gamble landed, the handsome Danehill colt will now step up to Group-class sprinting. His trainer Neville Callaghan, with tears of relief and triumph in his eyes, said: "Handicaps have probably had enough of us now. He has some ambitious entries, but will need rain wherever he goes. But he is only three, and I hope this augurs well for the future."

The rest of the day belonged to Frankie Dettori, who ended a long - for him - losing run in some style with a 294-1 four-timer, and John Gosden, who notched a treble.

The trainer revealed that Dettori had been bemoaning 26 rides without a winner as the pair shared a helicopter from Newmarket yesterday morning, though the Italian's declaration that "I've lost it" could probably be judged more than a little tongue in cheek. But if there were any doubts in the jockey's mind, all were swept away by the exemplary ride he gave Cape Cross in the opening Vodafone Stakes.

A week previously Sheikh Mohammed's well-regarded three-year-old, third in the Craven Stakes before running unplaced in the Guineas, had been beaten at long odds-on under Lydia Pearce in the race for women at Ascot; yesterday, albeit back on his favoured fast ground, Dettori showed how it should be done as he nudged the colt into the lead in the penultimate furlong and then rode him clear.

The classiest runner on show yesterday was Khaled Abdullah's filly Ryafan, another who demonstrated Gosden's skill and patience as she continued her upward progress after a low-key start to the season with a comfortable win in the Nassau Stakes. Michael Hills sent her clear two out and she ran on well to hold Dettori's mount Etoile by two and a half lengths.

A holiday in June worked the oracle for the daughter of Lear Fan, who scored at the highest level last year when she took the Prix Marcel Boussac and will return to Longchamp in October for the Prix de l'Opera.

Gosden and Dettori joined forces again to take the Turf Club Rated Handicap with Liffre. Gosden's horses are in the pink, and he reported Derby hero Benny The Dip positively puce in his preparation for the Juddmonte International.

Dettori's infectious delight at being back in the winners' enclosure was evident as he was led in on Cape Cross, and he further rewarded his army of supporters by following up on Merlin's Ring in the Vodafone Nursery and Dancing Image in the closing Trundle Limited Stakes.

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