Racing: Penny Drops storms home

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The Independent Online
THE punters were right. Penny Drops, who took over as 7-1 favourite for the Cambridgeshire just before the off, turned the normally competitive Newmarket handicap into a procession and headed a tremendous 1-2 for her trainer Lord Huntingdon.

The four-year-old filly, revelling in the mud and rain, as a daughter of Sharpo should, was in front of the main body of the field on the stands side fully three furlongs out and, once David Harrison gave her the office, she just went further and further away. Her stablemate Talent, in the Queen's colours, raced virtually alone on the far side for the last half of the race to come home six lengths behind her.

Rambo's Hall's bid for a unique three-timer in the nine-furlong cavalry charge came to naught once the winner had flown, but the gallant eight-year-old finished well to take third place ahead of Loki and Efharisto.

Harrison, last year's champion apprentice, could hardly believe how easy his task was. He said: 'Once I picked her up she took me there herself, and just kept running.' It was a second ride in the race for the 21-year-old. Lester Piggott, 57, has yet to win a Cambridgeshire and yesterday, at his 36th attempt, was sixth on Dawning Street.

The race was delayed for 13 minutes after outsider Camden's Ransom bolted before the start and was withdrawn.

Thirteen months ago Penny Drops won a lowly Haydock claimer. Yesterday the progressive little bay earned pounds 42,000 from the sponsors William Hill for her owner, retired businessman Stanley Sharp.

The filly was backed from 16-1 after running a good second over a trip too short at Ascot the previous Saturday. Lord Huntingdon said: 'She must have cut in the ground; that's why we went there and it set her just right, and we had our ground again today.'

The big-race sponsors may have been losers, but one bookmaker had a good day. The record Tote jackpot pool of pounds 704,590 paid a winning dividend of pounds 273,365, and boards layer Paul Webster was the only person at Newmarket to strike. His successful 10p line netted him pounds 27,336. A Tote credit punter is set to collect nearly pounds 400,000. The punter placed bets totalling just pounds 1.45 into the pool.

William Jarvis revealed that Grand Lodge will be supplemented, at a cost of pounds 12,500 to his owner Lord Howard de Walden, for the Dewhurst Stakes in 12 days' time.

Assessor was the ice-breaker for British horses at Longchamp's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting yesterday, as he won the Prix du Cadran for Richard Hannon in the hands of John Reid, writes Richard Edmondson from Paris.

The winning jockey reported the ground was close to a quagmire, a factor that counted against Psychobabble in the main race of the day, the Grand Criterium. The winner of that event, Lost World, is likely to stay at home next season for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).

Those looking to find the winner of today's Arc should heed the words of Psychobabble's jockey, Cash Asmussen, who has the mount on the fancied Hernando in the big race. 'I'm worried about the going, because he's got acceleration and you don't want to be driving Ferraris in the forest. He might not be so good if it turns into a truck race,' the American warned.