Racing: Swinburn lands place on Wharf

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The Independent Online
WALTER SWINBURN was yesterday called up for the ride on Wharf, second favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, as Pat Eddery has reaffirmed that he will remain loyal to Khalid Abdullah's principle contender, the race's odds-on favourite, Zafonic.

Swinburn gets the ride on the Craven Stakes runner-up ahead of Willie Ryan, who is contracted to ride for Wharf's trainer, Henry Cecil, but is rarely used in front-line races, and Lester Piggott, who has partnered numerous Classic contenders for Cecil and has become available since Fatherland flopped on Saturday.

The qualifications held by Swinburn are that he has won six Classics, including the 1988 2,000 Guineas on Doyoun, and rode Diminuendo into second place in the St Leger for Cecil.

Tenby will carry Abdullah's colours in Saturday's Classic Trial at Sandown unless the ground is testing, in which case Placerville will deputise, while the going at the Esher track also holds the key to the participation of The Fellow in the Whitbread Gold Cup.

Francois Doumen's Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite will run only if conditions are not firm. Annoyingly for both camps, the going on the chase course is good to firm, while it is good, with good to soft patches, on the Flat track. Nevertheless, the signs are that Tenby and The Fellow will line up.

The Fellow, who would carry top weight of 11st 13lb, was one of 14 acceptors at yesterday's five-day stage. Ladbrokes have installed him their 4- 1 joint-favourite with Garrison Savannah, the horse that narrowly beat him in the 1991 Gold Cup. But William Hill and Coral consider that year's Whitbread winner, Docklands Express, a bigger threat, and have Kim Bailey's chaser as their 7-2 favourite.

WHITBREAD GOLD CUP (Sandown, Saturday): Coral: 7-2 Docklands Express, 9-2 The Fellow & Captain Dibble, 5-1 Garrison Savannah, 6-1 Cahervillahow, 7-1 Topsham Bay, 9-1 Sibton Abbey, 14-1 Rowlandsons Jewels, 16-1 others. Ladbrokes: 4-1 Garrison Savannah & The Fellow, 9-2 Docklands Express, 5-1 Captain Dibble, 6-1 Cahervillahow, 8-1 Sibton Abbey, 9-1 Topsham Bay, 14-1 Rowlandsons Jewels, 16-1 Givus A Buck, 40-1 others. William Hill: 7-2 Docklands Express, 5-1 Captain Dibble, Cahervillahow, Garrison Savannah & The Fellow, 7-1 Sibton Abbey, 8-1 Topsham Bay, 16-1 Givus A Buck, 20-1 Rowlandsons Jewels, 33-1 others.