Racing: Sound so supreme on sand

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The Independent Online
A CUNNING plan considerably better than those devised by Baldrick in Blackadder came to successful fruition here yesterday as Supreme Sound, running for the first time on sand, strode to victory in the all-weather season's richest event, the pounds 50,000 Winter Derby. The winning trainer Peter Harris had taken the trouble of sending the five-year-old from his stables at Berkhamsted for a practice run on the unfamiliar surface earlier in the week and was not at all discouraged by what he saw.

"The horse goes on fast ground, which you don't usually get on grass at the start of the turf season", he said, "but this is a decent prize worth having a crack at. You never know how they'll react to all-weather tracks, but we gave him a gallop round on Tuesday and he was fine."

Gary Bardwell had Supreme Sound, normally a front runner, close to the pace throughout as the favourite Refuse To Lose cut out the running. The gap he had been waiting for came over two furlongs out and after that it was only a case of releasing the brakes. The outsiders Sick As A Parrot and Tallulah Belle filled the minor placings with White Plains best of Karl Burke's five-pronged attack in fourth. Refuse To Lose faded to seventh.

Supreme Sound, owned by Harris's wife Caryl and bred at their Pendley Farm, made marked progress last year to notch five victories and though he may not reach the heights of last year's winner Running Stag - who was subsequently Grade One-placed in the States and is a candidate for the Dubai World Cup today week - Harris feels there may be a minor Group race in him later in the year.

Simon Whitworth, on Steamroller Stanly, was banned for three days for careless riding in the race, having interfered with Yakareem rounding the top turn.

With the opening of the turf season only four days away, riding plans for Saturday's Lincoln Handicap are beginning to fall into place. Kieren Fallon, on duty for Europe in an international jockeys' challenge at Santa Anita, California, today, has been booked by Gary Moore for the 20-1 shot Chewit, Pat Eddery rides Night Of Glass for Les Eyre and Gary Carter, twice runner-up, is on Raheen. The favourite for the season's first big betting event is Captain Scott, who skipped the Winter Derby in favour of richer pickings at Doncaster.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner See More Business will not run again this season. The plan to tackle the Martell Cup at Aintree has now been shelved and Paul Nicholls' gallant charge will now rest on his laurels until December, when he will begin the defence of his crown in the Rehearsal Chase at Chepstow. "He had a hard race at Cheltenham," said the trainer, "so we will let him start his summer holiday early."

The focus was also on one of next season's big jumping prizes yesterday at Uttoxeter, where Young Kenny continued his progress through the ranks of likely Aintree types in the Midlands Grand National. Brendan Powell sent the Peter Beaumont-trained eight-year-old clear of Cavalero five fences from home in the four and a quarter-mile marathon and although the favourite's repeated right-handed jumping in the straight allowed the Irish raider Hollybank Buck to draw upsides at the last, he strode away on the run-in to take the contest by eight lengths from the Grand National entry Call It A Day, who stayed on past Hollybank Buck.

Powell, who had ridden Young Kenny to victory in the Greenalls National Trial at Haydock three weeks previously, was delighted with the bay. "The track was too sharp and the ground too fast for him," he said, "but as soon as anything came to him he pricked his ears and picked up for me. He is a lovely horse."

Given soft ground, Young Kenny's next target will be the Scottish National. Beaumont said: "The real thing next year is the long-term plan."

One of his rivals at Ayr may be the horse in the winners' enclosure 40 minutes before him yesterday, Smarty. The six-year-old, trained by Jenny Pitman, put in an exhibition round of jumping under Norman Williamson to take the Tote Novices' Handicap Chase.