Racing: Tafrah gives notice of Hern's return

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The Independent Online
SOME long-lost faces found their way into the Newbury winners' enclosure yesterday. The trainers Dick Hern and David Murray Smith were recording their fourth and first victories of the season respectively, while Montendre, who despite his ability is an infrequent visitor to the No. 1 spot, was the first winner for over 15 months to run in the colours of David Mort.

Murray Smith's own plans and those for his winner, Norfolk Hero, are unambitious. The colt is entered in the pounds 100,000 Racecall Gold Trophy at Redcar in October, but is unlikely to run, and Murray Smith has put his Frenchman's Yard stables on the market with the intention of leasing a smaller stable in Lambourn instead.

Hern's stable has been restricted by a prolonged virus this season, but his winner, Tafrah, seemed to be back in peak condition in taking the maiden race for three-year-olds. 'It's a long way back, but hopefully this will prove the turning point,' Hern said. 'When a stable has been affected by a virus like this, it's difficult to know when the horses are better.'

Montendre, who was found to be suffering from bruised ribs when running below par earlier in the season, will now head for Deauville's Prix de Meautry after his Hackwood Stakes win. Mort, his owner, must qualify as one of the sport's great enthusiasts. The 62-year-old retired civil engineer goes racing at least four days a week and, according to Montendre's trainer, Matt McCormack, 'no one deserves a winner more. David has pumped fortunes into the game with little recent reward'.

The runner-up, Notley, remains on target for a second successive Stewards' Cup and William Hill clipped his odds from 33-1 to 16-1.

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