Captain Gerrard is due promotion after easy win

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The Independent Online

Coincidence punters hit the target yesterday as Captain Gerrard scored at Ascot less than two hours before his namesake Steve led the England football team out at Wembley. The equine version, trained by Bryan Smart, won the Cornwallis Stakes like a well-backed 9-4 favourite should, leading from the start and galloping resolutely with hardly a challenge to repel.

Captain Gerrard, a length and a half in front of Cute Ass at the line, has won half of his 10 starts, all over five furlongs, and the powerful son of Oasis Dream looks a sprinter with a future. His owner, Reg Bond, thinks so. "He's a spot-on horse," he said, "and we have big plans for him next season." The colt's rider, Tom Eaves, will be part of the equationas Smart's new stable jockey. In the afternoon's other Group Three juvenile contest, the Autumn Stakes, Ibn Khaldun completed his hat-trick, providing the in-form Godolphin team with their eighth success from 20 runners in the past week. But their Mariotto broke down when poised to win the preceding handicap, and though pulled up swiftly by Frankie Dettori, his injuries proved fatal.

The Autumn Stakes has a decent record in signposting embryonic middle-distance talent and Ibn Khaldun, though not judged fit to polish the nails in his stablemate Rio De La Plata's shoes, is not only beautifully bred (his dam is the Classic heroine Gossamer) but also progressive, and needed only hands-and-heels urging from Dettori. One of the mile race's past high-class winners was Nayef who, like Oasis Dream and Ibn Khaldun's sire, Dubai Destination, is now making a decent fist as a first-season sire. His son Confront broke his maiden in the seven-furlong conditions race by an easy length from a previous winner, the pair nine lengths clear. Like Ibn Khaldun, he has an entry in the Racing Post Trophy.

The jump season is hitting its stride, and at Chepstow the excit-ing ex-French Gwanako made his debut for Paul Nicholls a winning one in the four-year-old handicap hurdle. The Alan King-trained Franchoek took the three-year-old hurdle won last year by stablemate Katchit, who finished the season as juvenile champion.

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