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Racing: Pasternak plan pays off well

Plan A does not always come off, but it did at York yesterday afternoon as the trainer Sir Mark Prescott produced Pasternak to win the 38th John Smith's Magnet Cup Handicap on his seasonal debut.

The four-year-old's connections viewed the brilliant sunshine with some gloom, for the belief was that Pasternak prefers easy ground, but two furlongs out it was apparent that he was running away with George Duffield in the best possible sense, and the clouds rolled away.

Duffield had his hands full on the hard-tugging colt in a slowly run race, and had to sit behind the two leaders and wait for a gap. When it came Pasternak - whose owners include the BBC betting pundit and racing journalist Graham Rock - shot readily clear, and though the pack, headed by Najm Mubeen, was closing on the line, there was half a length to spare.

Prescott paid tribute to Duffield's skills, saying: "He's a big, hard- pulling horse and you have to sit as quiet as a mouse on him or he'll be gone. I wasn`t sure he was really fit enough, but I told the owners even if the trainer didn't know what he was doing, the jockey did."

The rehabilitation of Kieren Fallon continued as he rode a double for Henry Cecil, showing particular strength and determination on the two- year-old Tracking in the seven-furlong Exclusive Cafe Bar At Wakefield Stakes.

The colt was the subject of pounds 55,000 in big bets, including one wager of pounds 9,000 to win pounds 6,000 and two of pounds 6,000 to win pounds 3,000 and, if the day was not hot enough already, his supporters were made to sweat before he squeezed home by a head.

He had looked a loser a furlong out as Prose made the best of his way home, but Fallon insisted quite firmly, and forced his chestnut head in front close home.

The Irishman followed up an hour later on Benatom n the Foster's Silver Cup Rated Handicap, wearing down the favourite Willie Conquer in the final quarter of a mile, for his 14th winner of the week.

Favourite fanciers, however, had a decent day, with the first three going in. Frankie Dettori kept the huge crowd happy in the opening Jervaulx Median Auction Maiden Stakes by steering Merlin's Ring, backed from 15- 8 to 11-8, to an easy victory, and Stackattack - who was available at 9-1 in the morning but was backed down to 9-2 when the stalls opened - back on the firm ground he loves, held on to take the John Smith's Bitter Handicap a shade comfortably by a length and a half.

Revoque, last season's champion two-year-old, will bypass Tuesday's Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud and head straight for the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood at the end of the month. His trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam will now be represented by Derby third Romanov in the Group Two event.

The two horses, both owned by Robert Sangster, had been affected by a virus earlier this season, and Revoque has a reputation to redeem after finishing only sixth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Chapple-Hyam said: "Romanov was affected slightly, but he has been perfectly clear for a long time. But he only had a head cold compared to Revoque, who was much harder hit. But I think he is near enough back to his best."