Racing: Punters hit after favourite defects

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SEREN HILL, the sponsor's 11-2 favourite for the Tote Scoop6 November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday, will miss the last big race of the Flat season, according to her trainer Gerard Butler.

The filly will run in the Pertemps Handicap over an extended two miles at Town Moor the same afternoon rather than the 12-furlong feature.

Butler said yesterday: "A decision has been made, she's not going to run in the November Handicap. It's a shade too short for her. She will run in the two-mile race instead."

Seren Hill had won over a mile and three-quarters at Haydock in September on her last appearance and Butler warned on Monday that he had to consult with the three-year-old's owners, the Fairy Story Partnership, before deciding which of her two engagements she would take.

However, the top-weight Abyaan, another leading fancy for the race, will take her place as long as she pleases on the gallops today. John Gosden, Abyaan's trainer, said last night: "If I'm happy with her, then she'll run in the November Handicap. She seems fine at the moment."

Kieren Fallon got his stint in Hong Kong off to a flying start with success aboard Gaylord in the Adelaide Handicap at Happy Valley yesterday.

John Moore's charge gave 19lb and a neck beating to Team Honour. But it was downhill from then on for the jockey, with four subsequent rides yielding no better than a fourth on Beas Glory in the finale.

Fallon had six booked mounts in total but he ended up being deputised by Brett Doyle on Energy Power after putting up excessive overweight.

The stewards fined Fallon HK$4,000 (over pounds 300) for his pains. Energy Power subsequently beat only one home but Doyle was later successful on Mr Magic.

At Exeter yesterday, Flagship Uberalles took another step towards emulating the feats of his half-brother Viking Flagship with a stirring victory in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup.

He climbed a further few rungs up the ladder towards the top of the two- mile division as he denied Direct Route and five other talented rivals. By the second-last fence the 7-4 favourite, ridden by Joe Tizzard, had only Direct Route to worry about.

But the eventual runner-up was not going to be brushed aside easily and after a tight tussle from the last Flagship Uberalles prevailed by half a length. Super Trucker was four lengths back in third place.

Coral, the only bookmakers to quote odds on the Queen Mother Champion Chase, now make the first two home the 5-1 joint-favourites.

Flagship Uberalles was in receipt of 10lb from the runner-up and still has a considerable way to go before he can be compared to Viking Flagship, who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase twice.

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