Racing: York Ebor Meeting: Hasten just in time for punters: A huge horse provides great relief for gamblers as Royale style catches the eye

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The Independent Online
THE punters had endured nine beaten favourites at the Ebor meeting, but when a market leader finally obliged, it was the one that mattered most. After going clear two out, Hasten To Add only just held the late challenge of Admiral's Well, but the manner of the victory was of much less interest to the backers queueing to be paid than his starting price of 13-2.

They deserved every penny, after enduring a final furlong which, as Sir Mark Prescott, the winning trainer, said, 'went on for a very long time'. Hasten To Add is not a horse to win by 10 lengths, and had finished runner-up on his two previous starts this season, by a neck and a short- head. As George Duffield's mount hit the front and kicked away from the field, celebrations began throughout the packed stands, but the cheers became suddenly more urgent as Richard Quinn and Admiral's Well began to close. Hasten To Add had half a length to spare at the line - a wide margin by his standards - but it would not have survived a few more strides.

Hasten To Add is the largest horse in training, more than 17.2 hands of silver-grey horseflesh, and well able to look after himself in the unforgiving maul of the Ebor. The experience may serve him well one day, as a long- range target already on Prescott's mind is the 1995 Melbourne Cup. 'We were going to send him this year, but he's had only nine races and we thought it would be better to wait until he's five,' Prescott said. More immediate assignments may include the Cesarewitch, in which Hasten To Add was the beaten favourite last year.

In contrast to Hasten To Add's narrow success, by the time Only Royale crossed the line in the Yorkshire Oaks her supporters had bought and finished one bottle of champagne and been back to the bar for seconds. She was going far better than her rivals as they turned in at the top of the long straight, and when Lanfranco Dettori let her go, the response was astonishing.

Her six-length defeat of Dancing Bloom was as impressive as any middle-distance performance so far this season, and Luca Cumani's filly is no better than 12-1 (with Coral) for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, in which she was an unlucky fifth last year. The future is not so bright for Bolas, the beaten favourite yesterday, who was scratched from the head of the St Leger market leaving Red Route to occupy that position. He is 2-1 with Ladbrokes, who have Midnight Legend on 4-1.

'When she's good she's unbelievable,' Dettori said. 'She was cantering all the way against Classic winners, and when I pushed the button she took off. She'll come on a lot for the race, and she'll take a lot of beating.'

Another startling performance was that of Chilly Billy, who was at least seven lengths off the pace passing the furlong pole but showed amazing acceleration to catch and pass Fallow and win by two lengths, going away.

Chilly Billy is trained by Lynda Ramsden, and while the yard sent out the useful Rafferty's Rules to finish fifth in the 2,000 Guineas, her husband Jack reported that the yard has 'never had a horse that works like this one'. He and his wife now face the enjoyable task of deciding whether to send Chilly Billy to the Mill Reef Stakes, the Dewhurst or the Middle Park.

It was just one of those days for the Ramsdens. Their filly Vocalize won the opening seller, while Jack reported that 'we backed the winner of the Ebor'. Not only that, 'we got the forecast up too'.

Results, page 23

(Photograph omitted)

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