Racing: First spark for Fierro

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The Independent Online
THEY ARE a long way from becoming the next Peter Scudamore and Martin Pipe, but Sean Lycett and Giuseppe Fierro had their moment of glory yesterday. Jockey and trainer won for the first time and chose the 35th birthday of Grandstand to do it.

The abandonment of Ascot meant that the BBC's cameras moved to Worcester for racing's contribution to the party, and opened proceedings with a selling handicap hurdle.

Seldom can such an ordinary race have had such a large audience, but it was a crucial contest for Fierro and Lycett. Peter O'Sullevan called home their horse, Homile, with as much aplomb as he did Safety First at Ascot on that sports programme in 1958.

Lycett, 21, gave Homile a perfect ride from the front to come home by 10 lengths. It made up for their experience two weeks ago at the course, when they parted company in the lead at the penultimate hurdle.

It was only the jockey's seventh ride, all of which have been for Fierro, who has been operating from Earl Jones's old yard at Hednesford. The Staffordshire mining village is hardly a hotbed of racing, but Fierro is creating a state-of- the-art training establishment complete with equine swimming pool and sauna.

Fierro has applied to the Jockey Club for a full public licence - at the moment he can train only his own horses - and hopes this step into the spotlight will help sway his cause.

There were old favourites in the winners' enclosure as well. The TV switch from the Ritz to the village hall meant armchair punters could witness the well- being of the veteran Panto Prince, who took the handicap chase by 15 lengths.

It was the 12-year-old's 24th win, and his 22nd under Brendan Powell - the thought of riding Panto Prince again had inspired the jockey's recovery from a broken leg earlier this year. Powell said: 'We're two old stagers, but I'm showing my age more than him.'

But jump racing's downs are never far from the ups. Powell's mount in the next chase, Taurus, collapsed and died after passing the post in second place.

Tomorrow's card at Leicester is in doubt because of waterlogging. The stewards inspect at 11am today.

Pat Eddery has been suspended for two days by the York stewards following an adjourned inquiry into his use of the whip at the course on Thursday. Eddery was found guilty of improper riding on Lime Street Blues, the winner of the nursery.

Ken Russell, the leading Australian jockey, died yesterday when he fell during a race at Rosehill, Sydney.

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