Racing: Rita squeaks home

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The Independent Online
THE well-backed outsider Our Rita took the William Hill Lincoln here yesterday, but the man who prepared her missed the big moment. The mare's Newmarket-based trainer Jon Scargill opted for a family wedding instead of the first feature race of the Flat season.

The five-year-old Our Rita was presented with her favourite scenario at the end of the straight mile, a wall of horses to weave and worry through. Darryll Holland, crouched American-style, produced her at the perfect moment in the last few strides to burst through between Wainwright and Just You Dare to land the pounds 37,000 spoils for her owner, Bertie Edwards, by three-quarters of a length.

The Martin Pipe-trained Just You Dare, who took over on the far rails as the favourite, Mahool, faded inside the last half-furlong, held on for second place. But the horse who swooped late from the centre of the course into third, Missed Flight, was thrown out after the stewards judged that he and George Duffield had tightened up the sixth horse to finish, Prenonamoss.

Wainright was promoted to third and the well-backed Castel Rosselo to fourth, saving the each-way punters. The stewards quicky announced that the winner and runner-up were not involved in the scrimmaging, but it took them until after the following race to sort out the placings.

Edwards bought Our Rita out of a Sandown claimer two years ago, since when she has won three times. She was saddled by Scargill's wife, Sue.

Our Rita was backed from 33-1 to 16-1 on the day, including at 25-1 by her owner. Her win meant Hills were left with just one big Spring Double liability, a pounds 100 bet coupling the mare with Master Oats for the Grand National. It could, however, cost them pounds 60,000. Duffield's steering problems on Missed Flight earned him a four-day suspension from Easter Monday.

The champion jockey, Pat Eddery, got off the mark in the last on Indian Fly on his first day back, reducing Frankie Dettori's lead to 51. At Newbury Adrian Maguire gave up his remaining mounts after aggravating a neck injury in a crashing fall in the opener. The race went to his arch-rival Richard Dunwoody, who went on to a four-timer to reduce his deficit to 18 in the jump title race.

In racing, you need luck as well as money. The Khaled Abdullah-Henry Cecil team, successful in the Derby last year with Commander In Chief, suffered an early setback when their main Classic hope, Bude, a half-brother to last year's Epsom favourite, Tenby, dropped dead from a heart attack on the Newmarket gallops yesterday morning.

Granville Again, the 1993 Champion Hurdle winner, has left Martin Pipe's stable and joined the Dumfriess-shire handler Len Lungo.

There will be a 4pm inspection at Hexham today to determine prospects for tomorrow.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Lincoln details ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1. OUR RITA D Holland 16-1 2. Just You Dare M Hills 25-1 3. Wainwright L Dettori 12-1 4. Castel Rosselo A Mackay 14-1 7-1 fav Mahool. 24 ran. 3 4 , 1, hd, nk. (Dr J Scargill). Tote: pounds 16.80; --pounds 3.20, pounds 4.60, pounds 3.40, pounds 3.30. DF: pounds 149.70. Trio: pounds 535.20. CSF: pounds 324.22. Tricast: pounds 5,751.40. -----------------------------------------------------------------