Racing: Dunlop can foil Hannon four: The big stables may maintain their grip on the Super Sprint, but a small yard could also chalk up success

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EXPECTATIONS are high that Richard Hannon can take Newbury's valuable two- year-old sprint prize for the third successive year today. But the trainer lines up four in the race, and a shock result at the same track yesterday gave a warning to punters trying to find the fastest.

Hannon's foursome this

afternoon consists of: Dimes (ridden by Pat Eddery), Femme Savante (Michael Roberts), Options Open (Brent Thomson) and Veuve Hoornaert (Richard Perham).

In the betting lists Femme Savante holds the most prominent place of these. But at Newbury yesterday, in another two-year-old race, the Roberts-ridden Rosebud, a warm 5-2 favourite, was beaten into second by Hannon stablemate Doctor's Glory, a 20-1 outsider partnered by Walter Swinburn.

'We got the result the wrong way round.' a rueful Hannon said later.

Newbury's Weatherbys Super Sprint Trophy was devised to give the smaller owner and trainer the opportunity to land a big prize with a cheaply-bought two-year- old. But the first three runnings were dominated by powerful yards. The trend may well continue.

Jack Berry took the inaugural race in 1991 with Paris House, the 5-4 favourite. Hannon has won the two most recent runnings with Risky last year and Lyric Fantasy in 1992. This latest pair were odds-on favourites at 8-11 and 2-5 respectively.

Today's contest is far more open and, despite saddling a quarter of the 16-runner field, the Marlborough handler will find it harder to farm this lucrative event.

John Dunlop's is another stable which has done well in this type of event, notably winning the Tattersalls Houghton Sales Stakes at Newmarket last September with Fumo Di Londra. From the same ownership, Gerecon Italia, Dunlop runs Malafemmena this afternoon.

Malafemmena has never raced outside Italy before. Last time, she won by three- and-a-quarter lengths in a Listed event at San Siro. On her debut, in Rome back in April, she lost 50 yards through a slow exit from the stalls, running on to finish a four-length third to Bruttina.

Marcus Hosgood, Dunlop's secretary, said yesterday: 'She's done very well. Her win was achieved very comfortably, and the horse that beat her in Rome has since turned out to be the best juvenile seen in Italy so far this season.'

An hour later on the Newbury card, Paddy Chalk lines up in the Shrivenham Handicap. There have been valid reasons for the eight- year-old's lack of success this year, notably when he had to be snatched up at Tattenham Corner at Epsom, and then looking a little unlucky to be caught on the line on this course last month.

His favoured fast ground looks assured this afternoon and Jack Holt, a sprint specialist whose Tunworth, Hampshire, stable has hit form recently, was adamant last night that a good run could be expected from the grey today. 'He'll run very well, I'm sure,' Holt said.

Paddy Chalk's supporters should not be put off by the fact that just before the race John Reid, his regular partner, leaves for Newmarket. The principal purpose of Reid's hurried flight, it should be noted, is to ride Paonic in the pounds 30,000 Food Brokers Trophy.

(Photograph omitted)

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