Racing: Jones to keep up appearance

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The Independent Online
THERE ARE some interesting races and some televised races at Ascot this afternoon. The demands of scheduling mean that two graduation events featuring aspirants to next year's Classics will be run when the cameras are shrouded in canvas and viewers will have to content themselves with three handicaps.

Thus there will be no opportunity for the deskbound to assess Thawakib, the favourite for the 1993 1,000 Guineas before she even appeared on the racecourse, or the meeting earlier of Emperor Jones and Inchinor.

Inchinor goes into competition with the credential of having won a Newmarket race which has spawned several subsequent winners. Emperor Jones has a similar record, having won his sole outing at Headquarters, a performance which convinced almost all but his trainer, John Gosden.

'Admittedly he did that well, but we've no idea how good the horses were behind him,' Gosden said yesterday. 'I think he's better than Pembroke (the stable's recent Newbury winner) but he is still an immature horse and one who will be better next year.

'I find the attitude in this country to maiden winners very strange. Anywhere else in the world a horse has to prove himself before people start taking notice.' Emperor Jones (2.00) should continue the process today.

The search for soft-ground performers is the key to winners on the card. Courtline Jester (next best 2.30) has been waiting for this going, while SHERINGA (nap 3.35) has both the surface and trainer-confidence in her favour. 'She's got a winner's chance,' Toby Balding said yesterday.

Olifantsfontein (3.05) also has prospects if he can shrug off the disadvantage of having missed pieces of work with a cut recently. Rod Simpson, the gelding's trainer, says: 'I'm not sure what he's like inside but he does look a million dollars.'

The trainer seldom looks otherwise either.