Racing: Fantasy win is a dream for Hannon

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RICHARD HANNON expressed concern before yesterday's Newbury Sales Super Sprint Trophy that his unbeaten juvenile filly Lyric Fantasy may struggle to cope with the rain-softened ground. When she jinked to her right on leaving the stalls, losing a length, supporters of the 2-5 favourite must surely have contemplated the folly of taking such a short price. Their fears were quickly dispelled.

Just as in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, Lyric Fantasy showed blistering early speed to take up the running on the stands rail, and from that point on the rest were racing for second. For the record, that position was filled six lengths back by Aradanza, with another Hannon- trained runner, Princely Favour, a head away in third.

Hannon said of his winner: 'She's only tiny, but her speed is breathtaking and she improves from race to race.'

The result was particularly satisfying for Lord Carnarvon, who bought Lyric Fantasy for 12,500 guineas specifically to run in this race, which he devised in his capacity as chairman of Newbury racecourse.

Her next appearance will be in York's Nunthorpe Stakes on 20 August. As a juvenile filly against older horses she will carry just 7st 7lb, but Lord Carnarvon will allow Michael Roberts to put up one pound overweight. 'After all, I always allowed Sir Gordon Richards one over,' the winning owner said.

Roberts normally rides at no lower than 7st 13lb, but is confident of making the weight: 'I'll do it on a crash course, and will not eat for 48 hours before the race - that's the best way.'

Judged on Lyric Fantasy's stunning performance yesterday, Roberts's appetite for winners should be satisfied on the Knavesmire.

By the time the judge at Newbury had sorted out the photo finish in the first race, which resulted in a dead-heat between between Adam Smith and Peto, Lanfranco Dettori, who rode Adam Smith, had arrived in Newmarket. By doing so, he incurred the displeasure of the stewards, who fined him pounds 200 for leaving the course before the weighed-in signal.

Stung into action, Dettori went on to complete a four-timer, winning on Masad for his boss Luca Cumani, together with a double for Mohammed Moubarak with Rose Indien and Big Leap.

This represented a welcome change of fortune for Moubarak, whose stable has been under a cloud for most of the season. 'We fancied two horses yesterday, but both finished last,' he said. 'Some are coming back and some aren't. I don't know if the good ones will come back - Made Of Gold has lost 60 kilos.' Michael Roberts must be green with envy.