Racing: Weaver stays cool

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The Independent Online
JASON WEAVER and a fridge stole the show at on a grey, cold day here yesterday. The feel was definitely end-of-term: rain, soggy going, big fields and jockeys wearing long weatherproof breeches. But the last day's racing of the year at headquarters was by no means gloomy, for there were some interesting horses on view, none more so than the Zetland Stakes winner Double Eclipse, who provided the middle leg of a hat-trick for Weaver.

The straight 10 furlongs at Newmarket in the soft is a severe test of a two-year-old, and Double Eclipse needed every yard of the distance to win.

As Royal Scimitar came to win his race going down into the dip a telescope, never mind binoculars, was needed to pick up Double Eclipse, but the son of Ela-Mana-Mou started flying up the hill and Weaver popped his head in front on the line.

'We hope Double Eclipse will be our Derby horse next year,' said trainer Mark Johnston's wife Dierdre.

The race sponsor, Asko, makes domestic appliances, and gave some away as prizes. When Weaver was younger, he sold his mother's fridge to buy his first pony and, on receiving a brand-new one yesterday, said: 'This is for my mum]'

But there was much sadness at the news of the death of the long-time racing supporter Lady Beaverbrook, owner of such good horses as Bustino.

At Wetherby, the jump season burst into life with the appearance of some top-class names in the Charlie Hall Chase. But it ended in disaster for the hot favourite Barton Bank; after jumping like a stag for most of the race the gelding muffed the open ditch four from home and crashed to the ground on his belly. He scrambled to his feet with Adrian Maguire still aboard and carried on, but came down again and returned with blood all over his face.

Vets diagnosed a fractured sinus bone and put in 20 stitches, and he faces a race against time to be fit for the King George.

The tough Young Hustler was beside Barton Bank when he fell, and was left to win at his leisure.