Racing: Eyre on cloud nine as Far Ahead steals show

YORK EBOR MEETING: A 33-1 shot keeps a top prize in Yorkshire while today's Lowther Stakes can fall to the Chesham runner-up
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The Independent Online
"I told my wife when I left this morning that I'd be back at six o'clock," Les Eyre said in the winners' enclosure here yesterday, "but if we won the Ebor, she could expect me next Tuesday." Last night, you suspect, Mrs Eyre did not bother to wait up.

Born in Barnsley and based at Hambleton, Eyre is as Yorkshire as they come, and as Far Ahead, a 33-1 outsider, was led in after beating Media Star in the last strides of the Ebor Handicap, he was a trembling, teary mixture of pride and delight. "We had a winner last year here at the Ebor meeting and I thought that was the dream come true," Eyre said, "but to win this, it's the pinnacle, it will never be surpassed."

For the tens of thousands of punters crammed on to the Knavesmire, there was rather less to celebrate. Media Star, who set off as the 5-1 favourite, and Puce, who finished third at 11-2, were their most popular choices, and the latter in particular was unfortunate not to find a gap when he needed one with less than a furlong to run. Far Ahead, though, more than deserved to win thanks to a beautifully-judged ride by Tyrone Williams.

"He's a very difficult horse to ride." Eyre said. "When he gets to the front, he thinks he's done enough, so I told Tyrone, when you think you want to go, count to 10 first." It is a good job he did not tell him to count to either eight or 12, for Far Ahead arrived at precisely the right moment, leaving Media Star no time to recover.

Media Star runs in the pink, green and white of Khalid Abdullah, who owned the favourites for the three principal events on Ebor day but watched as all three were beaten. Most disappointing of all was Reams Of Verse, the Oaks winner, who was long odds-on for the Yorkshire Oaks but was unplaced behind My Emma, who became a credible contender for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the process.

Rae Guest's filly is 20-1 with Hills and Coral to win at Longchamp in October. Given that she has already won at Group One level over the same course and distance in last year's Prix Vermeille, her odds should contract. "We always said that she only had two targets this year, this race and the Arc," Guest said. "The only thing gets her beaten is if there's no pace on, but there was plenty of that today."

There will be no trip to the Arc for Reams Of Verse, however, and while Eyre and Guest enjoyed their success yesterday, the most familiar figure in British winners' enclosures was in full retreat. Reams Of Verse was Henry Cecil's second odds-on loser of the week, following Bosra Sham's defeat in the International Stakes, and her trainer will not ask her to travel 12 furlongs again.

An Oaks winner who does not stay a mile and a half is a rarity, but Cecil believes 10 furlongs to be Reams Of Verse's maximum trip. "She was cantering two out but then she hit a stone wall," Cecil said. "I think it was only her class that got her through in the Oaks." Bosra Sham, meanwhile, emerged relatively unscathed from her race two days ago, but will need time to recover from a bruised foot. The Champion Stakes at Newmarket in November is her objective. A little over an hour later, Cecil decided he had had enough. Bold Fact, his runner in the Gimcrack, started favourite at 6- 4, and while his habit of veering to his right in the closing stages appears - partly, at least - to have been cured, he could not pass Carrowkeel.

There are plenty of trainers who would throw a party to celebrate finishing second in the Gimcrack, but for the master of Warren Place, this was a disappointment too far. "That's it," he said. "I'm going home."