Racing: Hart warmed by dream ticket: A rich return for the taxman as Gisarne lands the Lupe but her rider senses a limit to her stamina and Yawl attracts more attention in the ante-post Oaks market

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LUPE STAKES victory here yesterday for a man who has supplanted Sheikh Mohammed as the most feared owner in British racing: Tony Hart, the Middlesbrough taxman.

Hart will not be persuaded to look into the mouth of Gisarne, the filly he won for a 50p ticket in a Racing Welfare raffle, particularly as she has now won him pounds 12,000 with two successes this season.

Here was evidence that the fantasy that steers punters to racecourses and into betting shops can occasionally be realised. 'I'm somewhere between heaven and nirvana,' Hart said. 'I've dreamed of having my own racehorse for 20 years, and even thought of a trainer, the colours and a name for it. I would have called it Akira, which is Japanese for 'one who does not give in'.'

This name would sit tidily on Gisarne, who showed combative qualities to repel the late challenge of Yawl yesterday. The filly was subsequently cut to 12-1 for the Oaks, but will struggle to take in the extra two furlongs of the Classic according to her jockey, Willie Carson.

The Scotsman, who was forced to pull Gisarne wide to gain a clear passage, said: 'If I had got the split I might never have found out about her, but I had to go round the outside and that gave me the answer, because she was stopping at the finish. She's a straight mile-and-a-quarter filly.'

This was Carson's fourth success in the Lupe, in which he is the leading rider, but another statistic from the race further suggests Gisarne will not be earning the laurels on 5 June.

This Classic trial, which was first run in 1972, is as appalling a guide to Epsom as Tuesday's Predominate is to the Derby. No Lupe runner has ever won the Oaks, and in the last 10 years only Game Plan, second to Salsabil three years ago, has made the frame.

At the weights yesterday, Yawl, who finished a head behind conceding 5lb, came out the better filly and she looks a stronger prospect for the Classic her dam, Bireme, won in 1980. She was cut to 6-1 by two firms to make it a family double.

Yawl, however, is by no means a certain runner at Epsom, and will be monitored over the next few days and tested on Barry Hills's gallops next Wednesday before a decision is taken. 'She was too fresh in herself and she needed the race, but I was happy with her,' Hills said. 'But I must warn that she is not a certain Oaks runner and might go for the Ribblesdale (Stakes at Royal Ascot on 17 June).

'Pat (Eddery) was very pleased with her and said she got a second wind and would have won in a few more strides. It was a good effort, particularly as my stable is not having a good run.'

Hills, in fact, is not having a run at all. He has been becalmed on eight winners for 30 days, during which time 49 of his horses have gone to post and then come back with something ahead of them.

The trainer may believe that his portion of good fortune has been allocated to Tony Hart. The revenue executive (which he prefers to the more venomous taxman) was not drunk enough on his pleasure however to contemplate stretching the luck.

'I won't be buying another horse,' he said. 'After Gisarne I would be going from the sublime to the ridiculous. I'll be putting the money somewhere the Revenue can't get their hands on it.'

Fatherland, third favourite for the Derby, has a foot abcess but his trainer, Vincent O'Brien, does not expect his Epsom preparation to be seriously affected.

THE OAKS (Epsom, 5 June): Coral: 4-1 Wemyss Bight, 5-1 Marillette, 6-1 Yawl, 7-1 Criquette & Sueboog, 8-1 Bashayer, 10-1 Intrepidity, 12-1 Gisarne & Iviza. Ladbrokes: 4-1 Wemyss Bight, 6-1 Criquette, Marillette & Yawl, 8-1 Sueboog, 10-1 others.

(Photograph omitted)