Racing: Power of Love to hold Norwich

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WHEN Norwich struggled home fourth in the Kiveton Park Stakes of 1990 he set in motion racing's ugliest chapter of recent years.

The colt's demise, followed by Bravefoot finishing last when favourite in the meeting's Champagne Stakes, was later explained by the presence of drugs in the bloodstream. Two years on, the perpetrators of the Town Moor dopings are still at large and neither of the colts has won another race.

Barry Hills, Norwich's trainer, believes his horse has not suffered any long-term damage, however. 'He was second in the Prix de la Foret soon afterwards and the reason he didn't run last year was because he was injured before the Lockinge,' Hills said yesterday. 'What happened to him was just like you or I having a tranquilliser. In a few days it was gone.'

Even if Norwich was back to the peak of his powers for this year's running of the Kiveton Park he would struggle though, as in Pursuit Of Love (3.10) he faces a rival who won in better company than this in France last month.

Hills should capture the card's other Group Three race, the Doncaster Cup, with Further Flight (4.10), whom he nominates as second only to his 1973 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Rheingold in a list of career favourites.

While Rheingold earned his place with efforts at the highest level, the grey's standing has come through consistency. 'You don't get many horses that go on for more than two seasons so when horses like Further Flight, Nomadic Way or Sea Pigeon come along they earn a place in the public's affection,' Hills said. 'Plus he's a super horse to have around, he's a great character and, most of all, he's won me a lot of races.'

Hills has juggled with the idea of sending Further Flight jumping in the past, only to meet resistance from perhaps the one man who values the horse more, his owner-breeder Simon Wingfield Digby. He should be rewarded by another healthy prize today.

The first televised race features six horses who ran in the Ebor, and there seems little reason why the best of them on the Knavesmire, Brier Creek (next best 2.35), should not come out on top again. John Gosden, the colt's trainer, has selected this race in preference to an event later in the week for Brier Creek.

The sprint handicap may go to a man, who, if Henry Cecil was removed from calculations, would possess the best strike-rate of any trainer in the land. Roger Charlton, whose horses are running particularly well at the moment, is represented by ARBORETUM (nap 3.40), who is 3lb lower in the handicap than when finishing just behind subsequent winners at Newmarket 12 days ago.