Racing: Eddery poised to tip the see-saw

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The Independent Online
THE nation's backers will owe a considerable debt to Michael Roberts and Pat Eddery over the next fortnight, as their unexpectedly close contest for the jockey's championship provides one of the few points of interest before the King George. Sharp types are reminded that with the lead see- sawing almost by the week, it may yet be possible to back both riders at healthy odds against and guarantee yourself at least one Christmas present.

A bet on the title race should ultimately save you money anyway, by removing the need to take any further interest in cards such as Wolverhampton's tomorrow. Roberts should win on Santi Sana (3.30), in a race sponsored by one of those great promoters of athletic endeavour, a fag company, while Eddery can provide a swift riposte on Mamma's Too (4.00). Two Times Twelve (6.55) should give the current champion another at Windsor's evening meeting.

Anyone who would like to see at first hand what 200 years of inbreeding can do for you should head for Sandown on Wednesday night, when the Esher course holds its semi-traditional 'Sloane Ranger' meeting. Quite why they should want to honour people whose only claim to fame is that they are even thicker than their vowel sounds - shout 'Annabel' in the members' bar and 30 voices will reply 'yah' - is beyond explanation, but at least the racing is of a reasonable quality. Hebridean (8.55) has been threatening to win recently and should send Camilla and Henry home happy.

The focus of attention will return to Roberts on Saturday afternoon, when Richard Hannon's filly Lyric Fantasy is due to contest the Newbury Sales Super sprint. The race conditions make her a virtual certainty, but a repeat of her quicksilver success in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, when she became the first juvenile to cover the five-furlong course in less than a minute, will still be a joy to watch. This horse should have been born with speed stripes.