RACING : Heights makes a name for himself

Victory for a horse with a chequered history proves unpopular with punt ers at Lingfield
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A horse described by his owner as "nothing but trouble" returned to the scene of his most infamous escapade to haunt punters and bookmakers yesterday.

Crystal Heights (Fr) is the horse. The one who "won" a race at Lingfield in November when attributed with the racecard description and weight that would have been appropriate for his less talented namesake without the Gallic suffix. Eventually disqualified from that race because of the mix up, he made amends at the same track yesterday with a decisive win but hardly found favour with punters.

From an opening price of 8-1, the gelding drifted to 12-1 at the off and there was booing in the ring as he returned.

"What can I say," his trainer, Roland O'Sullivan, said as he greeted the winner. "His owner, Jack Joseph, wanted to get rid of him because he has been nothing but trouble to him in the past two years, so I had entered him in a claiming race here on Saturday at the price of £3,000."

O'Sullivan was denied another winner and a share of the Tote Jackpot when the first race was taken away from Masnun, in the stewards' room for hampering the runner-up, Perilous Plight.

"I have got a Jackpot ticket with the six horses which were first past the post on it," O'Sullivan said after the last race. "Masnun was the one that let me down." The jackpot paid £13,753.00.

Although the Flat Jockeys' Championship is to be decided on prize-money rather than races won this year, it will not have escaped Lanfranco Dettori's attention that Jason Weaver is maintaining a searching pace in the race for the title.

Perilous Plight initiated a double for Weaver yesterday, sealed an hour later by Nigel's Lad. Although Dettori responded on Spencer's Revenge, the tally for the season is now Weaver 24, Dettori 22.

Nevertheless, the reigning champion will emulate his predecessor, Pat Eddery, by missing the opening day of the turf season and ride instead in the Dubai International Jockeys' Challenge.

The four-race event, the third of its kind, takes place at the Nad Al Sheba racecourse on 23 March and features 10 jockeys representing the United Arab Emirates, Europe, Japan, Australia and the US. Dettori teams up with the French champion, Thierry Jarnet, to form the European side.

The Dubai competition will be run in the evening to enable it to be televised live by Channel 4 during its coverage of Doncaster's opening day.

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