Racing: Four fire Maguire's dreams

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The Independent Online
ADRIAN MAGUIRE won on all four of his mounts at Ascot yesterday to take his total this season to 76 successes, and his lead over the champion, Richard Dunwoody, to 31.

'I wouldn't have dared to dream about a season like this,' Maguire said and is now looking forward to two rides over the National fences today on Howe Street and Ushers Island.

King Credo, a horse on whom Maguire has won on each of the five occasions they have been in partnership, was the pick of his winning quartet, leaving Granville Again, the champion hurdler, in his wake in the Ascot Hurdle.

Defeat here would have led to a switch to chasing for King Credo, but that is now off the agenda and he is 20-1 with William Hill and Coral for the season's premier hurdle.

Steve Woodman, his trainer, had schooled King Credo over fences but said: 'Adrian stressed he is too good at this game to go chasing.'

Woodman's worry was the frosty ground. 'I dithered for a while,' he said. 'After all, I've got nothing to replace this horse. But, after walking the track, I was satisfied.'

Granville Again, who looked burly for a Pipe-trained horse, drifted in the betting and back- tracked from the final bend to finish fourth, 29 lengths behind the winner. He is now 14- 1, from 10-1, for the Champion with Sporting Index.

Baydon Star slipped into a couple of the early fences on his way to a third win over fences, but always looked master of the situation and pulled away for a 10-length win under Maguire. David Nicholson, the gelding's trainer, pin-pointed the reason for his new stable jockey's success: 'He is so positive. That sums him up. I've got total confidence in him and believe he's got the same in me. It makes for an excellent working partnership.'

Carl Llewellyn and Declan Murphy feared the ground was too slippery with frost as they went to start for the opening race and withdrew their mounts. The stewards decided to let racing continue, but allowed worried trainers to withdraw horses without penalty.

The take-off and landing positions at each jump are to be protected by a straw covering to try to ensure today's racing can take place. At Towcester, where racing would not have been possible yesterday and frost is forecast, the stewards will inspect at 7.15am.

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