Racing: Top marks for Housemaster in Epsom spin

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The Independent Online
HOUSEMASTER DELIGHTED Michael Bell, his trainer, and Willie Ryan his jockey, in a galop around Epsom yesterday and stable hopes are high for a big run in next week's Derby.

The Newmarket trainer said: "Things went very smoothly, it wasn't a full scale trial, it was just to let the horse have a look at the track and let Willie have a feel of the horse. The ground was perfect and everything went according to plan. They went just over a mile, that is as far as you can go without crossing roads, and he followed his lead Aspirant Dancer and he quickened when asked and went a length up. The object of the day was to get him to come down the hill and he handled it very well."

Ryan won the Derby on Benny The Dip in 1997 but this will be only be Bell's second runner in the race. Recalling his first venture Bell added: ``Housemaster is a 12-1 chance and obviously we have high hopes of him, he is fit and well and looks well and we won't do any serious work with him now, just routine stuff. The horse hasn't had a lot of luck. He would have won or gone very close in the Houghton Stakes at Newmarket last year but he was drawn wrong, and when he was disqualified after winning the Chester Vase earlier this month we were the victims of a moment of madness. So he is due a dose of the good luck and let us hope it is on Saturday week."

Sue Ellen, United Racecourses' managing director yesterday said tickets for the Derby meeting are selling fast and warned racegoers to book their places as soon as possible if they wish to attend the Epsom showpiece meeting. Tickets for Queen's Stand have been sold out as are the Walton and Lonsdale bus spaces.

There is still limited room in the Club and Grandstand enclosures and people wishing to book for these areas can call 01372 470047 to reserve their place.

Mrs Ellen said: "Given the ever increasing numbers flocking to the Derby each year, I cannot urge everyone strongly enough to book now for tickets if they have not already done so."