Racing: Glover sets Fox on November run

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The Independent Online
By the time the clocks go back Jeremy Glover's horses are usually going forward, and quickly. The Nottinghamshire trainer has earned a reputation as a man who comes swooping into play as the nights draw in, a distinction that is exemplified by four wins in the Cambridgeshire at leaf-strewn Newmarket.

For a person of his limited artillery, Glover's record in the first leg of the Autumn Double is quite astounding.

The former professional jockey of 18 years has held a licence for only 12 seasons (and that after an application to become a Jockey Club starter in 1978 was rejected), yet his name is etched alongside Balthus (1987), Rambo's Hall (1989 and 1992) and now Clifton Fox, who won this year's race a month ago.

"We have winners right the way through the season, but my horses always seem to come to themselves, be at their best, in the autumn," Glover said yesterday. "I recognize that and if I have a handicapper we plan it from a long way out. This horse had the Cambridgeshire as his target from the start of the year and he was improving enough to beat the handicapper. I just had to get him right at the right time.''

The 52-year-old trainer now has more bookmakers' sponsorship money in the viewfinder as Clifton Fox is pointed at the November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday. Certain participation will not be confirmed until later in the week, though Glover wants to run, especially as his four-year-old gave such a good account of himself in a Listed contest at Newmarket on Friday.

"There were four of them really going at it from six furlongs out and I think he was in the van for too long," Glover said of Clifton Fox, who was beaten only two necks. "He had a harder race there than he had in the Cambridgeshire, but he's all right.''

The colt himself, it must be said, may have a different report on his well-being, as Nigel Day, Friday's partner, was suspended for two days for using his whip with unreasonable frequency.

If Clifton Fox needs recuperation this week he could have no better hostel than the Pinewood Stables at Carburton near Worksop. Next door there is a slab of National Trust territory they call Clumber Park, 20,000 acres of parkland which means the Glover string hardly ever comes across its own hoofprints.

Dato Star may be housed in the more horse-intensive environs of Malton, but he too transported a sinner last time. Malcolm Jefferson's horse, who was runner-up in the November Handicap 12 months ago, was ridden in his preparatory race at Nottingham 12 days ago by Kieren Fallon. The Irishman dropped his hands to lose second place and was subsequently himself dropped from the racecourse.

Nevertheless, Fallon will emerge from his supsension with brown-papered package under his arm before the weekend, and again rides Dato Star even though he is likely to put up 1lb overweight.

"I don't think 1lb will make a lot of difference and it's better to have him carry a little bit of overweight than to have a fresh jockey," Jefferson said yesterday. "Kieren knows him so well and I think his experience of the horse is worth more than 1lb.''

After Saturday, Dato Star, the winner of last year's Festival bumper, will return to a hurdling career which has so far been limited to two outings (and one completion).

"Depending on how he is I may even run him the following week in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham," Jefferson said. "Otherwise I might wait for the Bula. Ideally I'd like him to have about four races, nicely spaced out, so that he can get some jumping experience before the Champion Hurdle.''

n Twenty horses, headed by the David Elsworth-trained topweight Muse, have stood their ground for the Tote Silver Trophy at Chepstow on Saturday. The sponsors yesterday installed Castle Sweep as the 4-1 favourite for the extended two and a half mile hurdle race. Jenny Pitman, who trained last year's winner 40-1 Jibber The Kibber, is represented this time by Jet Rules and Arithmetic.