Racing: Spear on target for Elsworth

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DAVID ELSWORTH, the man who trained Desert Orchid to win four King George VI Chases and the Cheltenham Gold Cup over jumps and In The Groove to win the Champion Stakes on the Flat, made a dramatic return to the big time when saddling Lear Spear to win the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket yesterday.

Backed from 28-1 with Ladbrokes in the morning to 20-1 at the off, the jockey Neil Pollard produced Lear Spear to assert on the far side and he stuck on well to repel the challenge of the 28-1 chance Consort by a length. Pantar, 40-1, finished third, with 33-1 shot Premier Generation fourth.

The first four were drawn 33, 35, 29 and 22 with the near-side group, where the well-fancied Dokos threatened briefly, clearly unfavoured. Last year's winner, Pasternak, had a good berth in stall 32 and looked dangerous at one stage but faded to finish out of the money as his big weight took its toll. There was a stewards' inquiry into possible interference by the winner, but it was soon announced that the result was unaffected.

Elsworth, who snapped up Lear Spear for just pounds 25,000 at the Keeneland Sales in America, was set to withdraw the colt from the Cambridgeshire earlier in the week. He said: "I told the owner on Monday that he couldn't run as he was stiff when he was walking round the paddock. But then suddenly he came right again and we quickly reconsidered."

Elsworth, who is trying to re-establish himself after returning to his old base at Whitsbury, added: "It's not been too bad a season for us and this horse will be a help to us next year."

James Fanshawe put the seal on the best week of his eight-year long training career with the victories of Arctic Owl and Family Man. He had earlier secured a Group One race, the Prix du Cadran, at Longchamp with Invermark. Fanshawe has had a winner on each day racing day at Newmarket this week and Family Man's success took his tally to 50 in this country.

Arctic Owl took his total to four winners out of five runs this year when outpointing Celeric in the Jockey Club Cup. He shot to the front more than two furlongs out under Ray Cochrane and set up enough of an advantage to hold the late run of Celeric by one length in the Group Three contest. Arctic Owl and Invermark are possibles for the Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp on 26 October.

Family Man, also ridden by Cochrane, justified some strong backing down to 9-2 favourite when securing the NGK Spark Plugs Performance Handicap.

Luca Cumani swept up the Sun Chariot Stakes for the second year in a row as Kissogram dealt out a comprehensive beating to four rivals. The 5-4 favourite, ridden by John Reid, moved clear from the three furlong pole and ran on to beat Arriving by seven lengths.

At Chepstow, Tyrolean Dream stole a march on his rivals to collect the Free Handicap Hurdle. The Mark Tompkins-trained gelding soon nipped into a clear advantage under Adrian Maguire and at one stage was 30 lengths clear. On the home turn there was still plenty of daylight between the pair and their rivals and though Mersey Beat came out of the pack and closed the leeway to two and a half lengths at the line, he never looked like collaring the winner.