Racing: Fingers burnt as Fire Top triumphs

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FIRE TOP, who was undone by the stealthy challenge of You Know The Rules in the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy last year, saw them coming yesterday at Sandown to go one better in the most valuable handicap of the season so far.

Reg Akehurst, Fire Top's trainer, considers his horse's greatest attribute to be a refusal to be overtaken when in front. Twelve months ago, the seven- year-old was beaten by a horse challenging from outside his field of vision, but there was no repetition yesterday as the main body of the field, led by hot favourite Charlo, got to Fire Top's flanks and no further.

Akehurst is always a man to consider in valuable handicaps - his Sky Cloud captured both the Victoria Cup and Golden Mile last season - and the jockeys who rewarded consideration yesterday were Fire Top's rider, Richard Quinn, and the claimer David Harrison.

Quinn went on to record a double with Peter Makin's Noble Pet, a feat that was matched by Harrison. The young jockey, whose most important victory this season was on The Queen's Colour Sergeant in the Royal Hunt Cup, took his total for the campaign to 23 with wins on Bodari and Plan Ahead, for the Epsom trainers David Wilson and Geoff Lewis respectively.