Racing: Splendent to arise in Phoenix

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The Independent Online
WHEN THE Chinese Government decided to eliminate house- flies, they simply issued an edict declaring that it was every citizen's patriotic duty to kill 10 a day. In Britain we are more subtle: each year the dismal racing programme in the week before the Ebor forces punters seeking an exciting alternative to race the nation's bluebottles up window-panes until they drop dead from exhaustion.

Leopardstown this afternoon provides the only consolation, when nine juveniles race for the Group One Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes. The bookies are unlikely to offer better than 13-8 about Son Pardo following up his Richmond Stakes success, but the one to be on is Splendent (3.55).

He finished five lengths ahead of Son Pardo when both were making their debuts at Newmarket in May, and his subsequent defeat of the useful Maroof at York received a boost when the runner-up won a group race at Goodwood. With Michael Roberts booked to ride and 8-1 quotes flying about, backers should need no second bidding.

Saafend (3.30), probably sent more in hope than expectation for the Golden Mile last time, is back among more suitable rivals at Windsor tomorrow and can help Roberts to maintain his lead in the jockeys' championship. Miss Doody (2.30) looks like one for his rival, Pat Eddery, an hour earlier.

Aitch N'Bee (3.00) should win at Bath on Tuesday, but Wednesday brings the prospect of a Beverley card bereft of one of the punting fraternity's most cherished friends. Throughout an unpredictable decade, it seemed Rapid Lad could always be relied upon to win over a mile and two at Beverley. He was retired, at the age of 14, on Friday; few have been so richly deserved.

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