Racing: Roberts stays idle

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MICHAEL ROBERTS spent a second afternoon on the sidelines yesterday, following a minor neck injury while riding work on Tuesday morning, but the defending champion, Pat Eddery, could make little impression on Roberts's lead in the race for the jockeys' title, partnering just one winner from four rides at Salisbury.

'My neck has not got any worse,' Roberts said yesterday, 'but the physio warned I might risk more serious injury if I rode today. I will try to ride work tomorrow morning to see how I feel and then make up my mind about whether to go to Salisbury in the afternoon. I hope to be back because it is quite boring sitting at home after such a busy time.'

Roberts's fellow South African, Jeff Lloyd, produced one of the best rides of the day at Salisbury, bringing Face North to beat Very Dicey in the final stride of the Freshwater Handicap. The stewards inquired into the improvement in the winner's form, but accepted that a drop back in distance and an easing of the going had prompted the transformation.