Racing: Royal attraction

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The Independent Online
ROYAL DERBI was the horse to attract punters' interest yesterday for Saturday's Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury. The booking of the season's leading rider, Richard Dunwoody, for Neville Callaghan's eight-year-old may have sparked the move, but more likely it was the realisation that with Ruling likely to take his chance off top weight only a handful of contenders will be running off their true handicap mark, including Royal Derbi who is set to shoulder 10st 8lb.

All the major firms reported interest in the gelding who returned to form in the Irish Champion Hurdle 10 days ago. The best price left on the horse who started the day at around the 12-1 mark, is odds of 8-1 with the sponsors.

With Declan Murphy, who rode Royal Derbi to his Leopardstown win, ruled out by a 14-day suspension, Dunwoody has been called up to pursue the pounds 56,000 prize on a horse who is running from an 8lb lower handicap mark than when last winning in that grade.

'Declan has been lucky for me and gets on well with Royal Derbi,' Callaghan said. 'But I can't complain. I have the man of the moment instead. It's always a tough race, but the horse won't be that well in again.'

Dunwoody has a powerful band of mounts for Ascot's televised, lucrative, but weakly contested card today. His best chances lie with Wonder Man, who is unbeaten since switching to David Nicholson from Jenny Pitman, and Tyrone Bridge who contests a race that should have been switched to Martin Pipe's home gallops. The Wellington trainer supplies three of the four runners.

TOTE GOLD TROPHY (Newbury, Saturday): Coral: 11-2 Balasani, Native Mission, 7-1 Royal Derbi, 8-1 Bitofabanter, Flakey Dove, 10-1 Glencloud, 11-1 Valfinet, 12-1 Lift And Load, Rodeo Star & Tomahawk, 14-1 others.

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