Racing; Magic one to conjure with, minus the hype

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The Independent Online
Twelve months ago, a stocky son of Damister called Celtic Swing offered the first hint of the brilliance which would captivate Flat racing and keep it warm through the winter. He won the Hyperion Stakes at Ascot, beating Singspiel by eight lengths, but if one of the runners in today's renewal does something similar, it may pass the bulk of the nation's punters by.

Both the Hyperion Stakes and, even more surprisingly, the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes, are deemed unworthy of live transmission by the BBC, which only a week ago seemed finally to be taking racing seriously with its extensive coverage of Arc weekend. The fields for both events may appear to be a little below their normal standard, but an easing of the ground and the advantage of experience can improve juveniles dramatically. If the winner of the Hyperion enters the betting for the 2,000 Guineas, we will all deserve a rebate on the licence fee.

The most likely candidate for elevation is Brandon Magic (4.25), whose last two appearances have propelled him towards the higher divisions of his generation. Kuantan, his principal rival, won on his debut at the Royal meeting, but has an antipathy to stalls which may lose him the race before the starter presses his button.

Mubhij (3.20) is an obvious choice for the Cornwallis, while the card's other Group Three event, the Princess Royal Stakes, provides an interesting test of the reliability of the form book. Five of the six runners met over the identical course, distance and ground conditions, and at almost identical weights, in the Harvest Stakes just 13 days ago. If form means anything, you have to feel, the finishing order then - Spout (2.15), Saxon Maid, Snowtown, Royal Circle, Hagwah - will be repeated this afternoon.

A winner would not go amiss for Henry Cecil just now, and Storm Trooper, one of his better juveniles, goes to post with a good chance in the Autumn Stakes. Sadly for those who enjoy a good spat, Sheikh Mohammed's Committal did not make it past the overnight stage, but Cecil may find yet another disappointment at the end of a disastrous week. RAMOOZ (nap 1.45) treated a good nursery field with thorough contempt last time, and is a horse to follow until he is beaten. It may be some time.

Smart Generation (2.50) finished down the field in the Cambridgeshire seven days ago, but ran well none the less, and is returned to a more suitable trip today. At York, only two of the four televised events make any appeal for betting purposes. The genuine and admirable Guesstimation (next best 3.15) is in the best form of his long career and can follow up a recent win at Newmarket, while Resounder (3.45), last in the Middle Park Stakes, has now found a more realistic opening.

The second half of the Channel 4 transmission will illustrate a useful rule of punting. If there is one thing more dangerous than a handicap sponsored by a bookie, it is a handicap sponsored by a casino.