Racing: Grace jumps out of favour

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The Independent Online
The nickname 'Big Three' for the country's leading bookmakers all too often seems inappropriate, with 'Unanimous One' a more credible alternative, but the Stroud Green Hurdle at Newbury yesterday threw up that rarest of commodities, a difference of opinion amoung the layers.

Beauchamp Grace went into the race as 10-1 favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but a series of poor jumps forced her to fight hard to beat Indian Quest by half a length. Hills cut the filly's Festival odds to 7-1, but Ladbrokes were less than impressed and pushed her out to 12-1, despite the claim by her jockey, Richard Dunwoody, that her particularly distracted jump at the last was due to 'half a dozen photographers leaning over the rails at the hurdle'.

David Nicholson, the winning trainer, was similarly unperturbed. 'She goes to Cheltenham with a favourite's chance, and 12-1 is good value,' he said.

Anyone taking Nicholson up on that advice would have been pleased to note that, after a series of setbacks, he and Dunwoody are winning regularly again. Beauchamp Grace completed a treble for the pair, as well as taking Nicholson to 68 winners for the season, the best total of his career.

(Photograph omitted)

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