Racing: Spirit invincible on the clock

INVINCIBLE SPIRIT gives time students the chance to see if they have got their figures right in the Group One Middle Park Stakes for two- year-olds over six furlongs at Newmarket today.

The John Dunlop-trained two-year-old looked a good prospect when winning a maiden at Glorious Goodwood in July, but the performance that really got the timepiece merchants excited was his latest at Ripon on August Bank Holiday Monday. The race in question was the Ripon Champion Two-Year- Old Trophy and, while said six-furlong contest is normally a case for the Trades Descriptions Act, this year's renewal might have been an exception.

Invincible Spirit did not win by far - he beat Khasayl by a length and a half - but he impressed on the clock to the extent that Timeform awarded him a time figure of 106, the seventh-fastest of the year by a two-year- old behind Distant Music, who notched 114 when winning the Champagne Stakes over seven furlongs at the Doncaster St Leger meeting.

Despite the defection of Bernstein (bad blood count), Invincible Spirit faces stiff opposition in the shape of Primo Valentino, winner of the Mill Reef Stakes and Sirenia Stakes (from Seazun, the subsequent Cheveley Park Stakes victress), Warm Heart, the Norfolk Stakes winner, the unexposed Fath and Brahms, Bernstein's stablemate. Indeed Trinculo is the only member of the sextet who can safely be discounted. Famous last words.

But Khasayl has franked the Ripon form and INVINCIBLE SPIRIT (nap 3.10), a half brother, by Green Desert, to the stayer Sadian, has a powerful round action which suggests he should be suited to the easy ground and can enhance his Millennium Classic claims.

Power Packed (2.05), a convincing Pontefract maiden winner, looks leniently treated on his nursery debut, Wallace (next best 2.35), short-headed by Sugarfoot in the Park Stakes at the St Leger meeting, can gain compensation and Flanders (3.40), winner of the Scarbrough Stakes at the same fixture, will be hard to catch.

The outsiders Moteck and Hamond were the only withdrawals yesterday from Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for which 21 stood their ground. A decision on whether Dream Well runs will be made today. Bienamado will not run if the ground is too soft while Courteous runs only if the going turns heavy. The going at Longchamp was holding yesterday.

n Albarahin, the 4-1 favourite for Saturday's Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket, may not run if the ground turns soft.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Invincible Spirit

(Newmarket 3.10)

NB: Connect

(Newmarket 2.05)

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