Racing: Repertory ready to stage repeat

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The Independent Online
THE MOST interesting punting medium so far this week has been Ladbrokes' share price, as speculation continues as to whether the company will be allowed to keep the Coral chain which it acquired a few months ago. Not so today, however, as Newbury stages three Listed events, all of them worth pounds 50,000, and though it may be optimistic to describe one of them as an Arc Trial, this is still about as competitive as this level of racing ever gets.

Then again, since this is just the second running of the Doubleprint Arc Trial, it is probably too early to judge, and it is only fair to the admirable Posidonas to point out that Swain, the finest middle-distance horse in Europe, was among his victims when he won the inaugural race 12 months ago. Of more immediate concern is the implication that Posidonas is a good thing today, since there is nothing of similar calibre among his rivals. As ever, the reality is more complicated. Swain was giving away half a stone last year, whereas this time it is Posidonas who must give 5lb or more to most of the field.

With the likes of the lightly-raced Italian Oaks winner Zomaradah in the field, this will not be easy, although Luca Cumani's filly did not distinguish herself in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out and is best watched today. One runner who is in good form, though, is Scorned (3.10), who was second in a German Group Three last time out and before that just a length behind Nedawi, the subsequent St Leger winner, in an unusually strong Listed race at Haydock.

This is a difficult one, though, and the supporting events offer better opportunities. The Dubai Airport World Trophy is a fascinating contest, and offers a chance of a Listed-race win for one of Britain's smallest yards. Malcolm Saunders will travel up from Somerset with Repertory, and the horse that can catch him will deserve to win.

Repertory, you may recall, was within a fraction of a second of breaking the world equine speed record at Epsom a few weeks ago, when he bolted from the stalls at astonishing speed and was never in any danger of being caught. Had he not been drawn towards the outside, from where he was forced to tack across to the rail, the record might have been broken, which would have earned his connections a five-figure bonus.

If the draw was unkind then, though, it could hardly have been more friendly today. Repertory will set out from stall 11, with only Proud Native, who is usually slowly away, between him and the stands' rail.

"Obviously this is his biggest test," Saunders said yesterday, "but he's got bags of early speed and from that draw we can do our usual jump-and- run. He's a big, strong horse too, so he'll be able to stay on. It's hard to assess John Gosden's filly [Zelanda, the winner of her last three races], but I always think that three-year-olds have to be really good to beat older horses. He's in good form, which is the thing with sprinters, and it certainly makes a change from Nottingham and Bath."

Zelanda is also drawn on the outside, in two, which is hardly ideal. Coral will lay you 10-1 about REPERTORY (nap 3.40) this morning, and that is a price worth having.

There is a decent bet at good odds in the Dubai Duty Free Cup too, in the shape of Danish Rhapsody (next best 2.40) at 8-1 (Ladbrokes). Lady Herries' runner was unimpressive in Germany last time, but had previously finished an outstanding second to Muhtathir this course and distance. In the stayers' handicap, Life Of Riley (4.10) could take a great deal of passing.