Racing: Risky the reliable solution to Sprint: Hannon can extend his hegemony in a race where the rules aim to establish a spirit of equality

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THE RACE could have been created with Richard Hannon in mind, and as it was conceived by one of his owners, perhaps it was. Today's Weatherbys And Sales Super Sprint was designed by Lord Carnarvon to give trainers of speedy but cheap youngsters the opportunity to win a big prize, pounds 57,000 in this case.

The conditions of entry exclude animals which cost more than 30,000 guineas and the weights favour those that attracted least attention in the sales ring - 1lb off their back for every 2,000 guineas under 30,000. Hannon's ability to spot a bargain is demonstrated by the fact that the three horses he saddles in today's race bring his representation in the event, which takes place at his local track, Newbury, to 10 runners in three years.

Any idea that Lord Carnarvon's plan is a case of the aristocracy coming to the aid of the disadvantaged can quickly be dispelled. Carnarvon himself won the race last year with the Hannon-trained Lyric Fantasy and this time the prize looks destined to swell the wad of David Sullivan, publisher of the sort of magazines you would not want to be caught reading and a man consistently on the list of leading British-based owners.

He owns Risky (2.30), the fastest juvenile seen this season with a breathtaking 5-length win in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot to her credit. That success was achieved on soft ground and if you are looking for an excuse to oppose what will be a tightly-priced favourite, it is today's faster going. Bear in mind though that Risky's connections were prepared to switch her to tomorrow's Prix Robert Papin at Maisons- Laffitte if the underfoot conditions did not meet their expectations so it can be surmised that the going has enough give.

Finding an alternative is tricky too. Turtle Island also won at the royal meeting but bears the burden for that success, while most of the others have been operating in a much lower grade. For those that insist on having a bet, Straight Arrow, from a stable that tends to keep horses in reserve for special occasions like this, might be the one.

Peter Chapple-Hyam, the trainer of Turtle Island, can do little wrong with juveniles this season - Barossa Valley yesterday lifted his strike-rate in that department to virtually 50 per cent - and he looks certain to collect again through State Performer (3.00) in a two-horse race for the Manton Rose Bowl which he took with Rodrigo De Triano in 1991.

Chapple-Hyam has also thrown a newcomer, Cult Hero, into the deep water of the Donnington Castle Stakes. The colt's entry in the Group One Racing Post Trophy indicates he has been impressing in his work, but the experience of Classic Sky (1.30) might just have the edge this time. He hails from the stable that won the race last year and comes here primed by an impressive run at York last Saturday.

Lofty expectations are also entertained for several of the runners in the Primula Maiden Stakes at Newmarket, despite the fact that it has hardly produced a top prospect since 1975. Wollow made his debut that year and cantered to the start to the sound of his name being chanted by locals who knew they were about to collect on a good thing. It may be worth taking on today's local favourite, Diesan, with Dynamic Deluxe (3.45), who boasts Dewhurst Stakes and Racing Post Trophy entries.

In the handicaps, Jura Forest (next best 4.15) is heavily penalised for his recent course win but is lightly raced and may have a lot more to show, while Peerage Prince (4.45) is well exposed but on a handy mark. More reliable though is RISE UP SINGING (nap 2.45), who has recorded five of his six successes at Newmarket and ran well for a long way in the Bunbury Cup last month.

(Photograph omitted)