Racing: Environment's healthy outlook

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The Independent Online
JAMES FANSHAWE must feel like a child who opens the best gift first on Christmas morning. After an uncommonly rewarding start to his career, the Newmarket trainer has found pleasing baubles hard to come by in this his third season with a licence.

'With luck we could have had more winners,' he said yesterday. 'But all we can do is keep plugging away until things come right.'

Fanshawe's dilemma is that he does not have the plentiful ammunition of his early days. His Chipaya, Sapieha and Radwell have gone, while the best of them all, Environment Friend, appears an impostor of the horse which won a Dante Stakes and an Eclipse.

'He was a very flat horse in the spring this year so we sent him up to a diagnostic centre,' the trainer said. 'They found scarring on his lungs and he had to have a long break as a result.'

The grey returned to action at Goodwood last month, since when he has produced evidence that his powers have not been entirely snuffed out. 'Obviously I can't be too bullish about him, but he has been working well recently,' Fanshawe said. 'I just hope he can reproduce it on the track.'

Environment Friend gets a chance to re-establish himself at Newmarket today in the Godolphin Stakes, which is only the second race of his life over 12 furlongs. 'The last time he tried it was in the Derby, and though he didn't do anything there he has always looked like a horse who would get a mile and a half,' Fanshawe said.

If the trainer's assessment of stamina and condition is correct, Environment Friend (next best 2.35) can outclass his field today.

The day's Group One race, the Middle Park Stakes, should be fought out by horses representing two trainers who have won the race before in Andre Fabre and Geoff Lewis. Fabre, who saddled Lycius two years ago, runs Zieten this time, but may be offering congratulations to Lewis, a dual winner of the race as a jockey.

Lewis today sends out Silver Wizard (3.40), who has the support of another trainer in the race, Richard Hannon.

'I would say my horse (Pips Pride) is in good form but I wouldn't have thought he could beat the big two,' the trainer said. 'I don't know that much about the French horse, but I would have to go with Silver Wizard anyway on the form of his Kempton run.'

Local Heroine (3.05) is capable of taking the nursery, while the final televised race should go to KIVETON KABOOZ (nap 4.10), who has improved since having his outlook reduced.

'We decided to try him in blinkers at home and he started working like a 10lb better horse,' Lanfranco Dettori, the colt's regular jockey, said yesterday. 'He wore them for the first time on the racecourse when he finished second at Doncaster.' He wears them for the second time today when he should finish first.