Racing: Sabadilla bets hit the target

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The Independent Online
Royston Ffrench, the champion apprentice Flat jockey, rounded off his season with victory on Sabadilla in the November Handicap at Doncaster. Held up, the John Gosden-trained three-year-old made good headway down the centre once in line for home. Hitting the front with two furlongs left to travel, Sabadilla kept on to draw eight lengths clear of the staying- on Taunt, who, after the ground turned soft, was backed from 9-1 in the morning to 11-2 favourite, with Shaft Of Light three-quarters of a length back in third.

The winner was giving Gosden his third success in the race, following Hieroglyphic in 1991 and Turgenev in 1992. Gosden's assistant, Eoghan O'Neill, hinted that Sabadilla, backed from 14-1 with William Hill in the morning to 10-1, had been better fancied than the stable's other runner, Heritage, who was a well- beaten 18th of 24. He said: "We felt Sabadilla would go well and we're delighted with the way things have worked out. Heritage has had a hard season but the new owners wanted him to run."

Over the jumps at Chepstow, Marello put up a tenacious display to retain her unbeaten record in the Tote Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle. The Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March is a possible target for the mare but Mary Reveley, her trainer, warned: "It would have to be bottomless ground for her to run."

At Wincanton, Lively Knight, found to have been got at after being beaten at odds of 1-7 at Plumpton in the spring, showed he has suffered no ill- effects from the ministrations of the dopers with a seven-length win in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase. Ironically, because of his easy win, Lively Knight was again dope tested. The results are this time expected to be negative.

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