Racing: Romeo's faith in flashy Canadian contender

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The Independent Online
NORTH American horses have come but not yet conquered in the Nunthorpe Stakes, the Group One sprint which is the highlight of York's card on 19 August. One has tried for each of the last three years to take the pounds 120,000 five-furlong dash and now a Canadian-trained speedster, Bold N' Flashy, is set to take on Europe's best.

Surprisingly, there are few opportunities for top-class sprinters in North America, where the best races are run over distances between seven and 10 furlongs - unfortunate for stayers as well.

The four-year-old colt has Dom Romeo and Rocco Marcello as his breeders and is owned by the former, a car dealer in the Toronto area, near to Woodbine race-track where the colt is trained.

The owner has pursued an attacking policy with Bold N' Flashy, running him at the Arc meeting at Longchamp last year and recently taking him to Hollywood Park. 'We took him over for the Prix de l'Abbaye last fall, finishing sixth,' Romeo said. 'But there was a lot of rain and it was a little too tough for him.

'We are not accustomed to real soft turf here, if it gets a little soft we take the races off the turf and have them run on the dirt.'

An owner for 14 years, Romeo picked Bold N' Flashy's trainer, Deborah England, by association. 'Deborah's husband Philip has got an excellent reputation,' he said. 'I sent Bold N' Flashy to him, but he went private and Deborah qualifies next to Phil.

'It is not common to have husband and wife both as trainers, I don't know of any other. But they seem to have satisfied the racing commission that they are two separate identities when it comes to racing and they are pretty honourable people.'

Diamonds Galore, also trained in Toronto, has done best of the Nunthorpe raiders, finishing third to Lyric Fantasy last year, while Klassy Briefcase trailed the field in 1990 and Mr Nickerson, later killed in the Breeders' Cup, was seventh of nine the year before.

Deborah England believes her charge has a good chance at his best. 'He is rapid. He can go half a mile in 44 (seconds) flat. We have beaten Diamonds Galore before so that would be an indication.'