Racing: Hannon puts Lyric's emphasis on speed

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The Independent Online
THIS season's unlikeliest trend which has allowed last year's top two- year-olds to maintain their dominance into a second term could be extended on Saturday when Lyric Fantasy returns to her rightful occupation as a sprinter.

With Zafonic, Sayyedati and Tenby having already extended their hegemony, the pattern will be maintained if Lyric Fantasy shows a glimmer of the speed with which she scorched past older horses in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August.

Her trainer, Richard Hannon, yesterday entered her for listed six-furlong events at both Newmarket and Lingfield on Saturday, with Headquarters providing the easier opportunity as she has a lighter penalty for her successes last year.

Lyric Fantasy, who did well to finish sixth to Sayyedati in the 1,000 Guineas on her seasonal debut after seemingly running out of stamina in the closing stages, is being prepared for the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Among 16 possible rivals at Newmarket is the highly regarded Felucca, trained by Henry Cecil and owned by Khalid Abdullah. The filly missed the 1,000 Guineas owing to a slight injury.

Chris Grant is to ride for Michael Hammond's Middleham stable from the start of the next jumps season. For the past four years, Grant 36, had been stable jockey to the highly successful Co Durham yard run by Arthur Stephenson, who died late last year.