Racing: Two-card trick trumps Turtle: Wragg produces a pair in the Middle Park to show his long suit in Classic aces, as the bluff is called on the Manton juvenile pack

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The Independent Online
IS IT really just two months since Peter Chapple-Hyam was thought to have every juvenile colt worth feeding? Turtle Island's defeat in the Middle Park Stakes here yesterday was another setback for the man from Manton, while the first two home established the new order as First Trump's narrow defeat of Owington gave Geoff Wragg the rare distinction of a Group One Dual Forecast.

In the 2,000 Guineas next spring he could go one better and saddle the Trio, as Nicolotte, who contests the Dewhurst Stakes in a fortnight, is rated the equal of both his runners yesterday. With colts of such promise to warm him during the winter, Wragg can switch off the central heating.

Michael Hills's ride on First Trump stirred memories of Wragg's father, Harry, nicknamed the Head Waiter in his riding days due to his habit of arriving late. First Trump was only sixth and crowded with two furlongs to run, but when Hills found room First Trump accelerated instantly and kept charging until he cut down Owington 50 yards from home.

It looked like hard work, even a little fortunate perhaps, but Hills was only following orders. 'I told him not to make his move until the top of the hill,' Wragg said, and similar tactics are likely to be employed in next year's Classic, over another two furlongs. 'If he's ridden that way, he'll certainly get a mile. And so will the other two.' You could see his fellow trainers wince.

Wragg refused to single out one of his trio for special praise, as did the less partial but equally well-informed judges at Ladbrokes. First Trump, Owington and Nicolotte are all 25-1 chances for the 2,000 Guineas, with Colonel Collins, the last of Chapple- Hyam's contenders to boast an unblemished record, favourite at 16-1. If he joins Chapple- Hyam's other fallen heroes in the sin bin after his race at Newmarket today, the Classic betting will be as open as any in memory. Nor will there be much opportunity to refine opinion before next season - neither First Trump or Owington will race again this year.

The most interesting market moves in the Godolphin Stakes which opened yesterday's card took place while the horses were being unsaddled and the judge was trying to separate Muhayaa and Peter Quince. Several punters stepped in to take odds as short as 1-7 about Peter Quince being named the winner, while Muhayaa was available at evens. It was backers of the latter, though, who collected.

Plenty of fingers were burnt there and more dreams were ruined by the Rous Stakes. This was where the last tickets left in the bloated Jackpot pool went down, as My-O-My, trained in Ireland by Tommy Stack, beat Splice with some ease. There will now be a carry-forward of pounds 286,000 to today's card, and the Tote hopes that the final pool will reach half a million.

Rather less money was required of Bailey's Horse Feeds to sponsor the nursery handicap and they have at least one new customer as a result.

'Does he eat Bailey's,' someone asked the winner's lad as he paraded No Mean City around the top enclosure.

He paused, and then smiled. 'He does now.'

(Photograph omitted)