Etherington seeks blessing from St Wilfrid

These are not days for racegoers with ecclesiophobia. Meetings at Salisbury yesterday, Ripon tomorrow, York next week add up to a tour of the great cathedral cities of England. York Minster, of course, is the oldest and grandest, but its venerability only just shades that of its neighbour to the north-west. St Wilfrid founded Ripon in 672AD and is commemorated in the valuable sprint handicap run within sight of the magnificent 12th-century edifice that still contains the original stone crypt.

St Wilfrid, who was also archbishop at York during his career, was by all accounts quite a lad by cloth standards, wealthy and educated and not at all averse to the pleasures of life. It would be good to think that he would be flattered by having a race named after him.

With a purse of £60,000, the Great St Wilfrid Stakes is the richest contest run at the pretty course at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and as such is always keenly contested, particularly by local trainers. A maximum 20-strong field was declared yesterday, more than half of them resident in God's own county.

The top-weight for the six-furlong dash, Fullandby, will be having his third crack at the prize, an occasion which Tim Etherington hopes will be lucky, particularly as the six-year-old appears to have fortune on his side with the draw. Traditionally, high-drawn horses fare best and Fullandby, runner-up two years ago from stall seven and 10th last year from four, need yield the far rail to no-one tomorrow, from box 20.

Fullandby, who won the Portland Handicap last year and signalled a return to form with a runner-up spot at Ayr last month, is as highly rated as he has ever been, but competent apprentice Lee Vickers will take 3lb of the scheduled 9st 10lb off his sturdy back. "It's nice to get a good draw this time," said the Norton-based handler, "and Lee is a sensible, strong lad. It will be a tough race but we're happy with the horse and just need it to go right on the day."

The last time the trophy, a silver statue of St Wilfrid, stayed in Yorkshire was when Dandy Nicholls sent out Ice Planet to win. Tomorrow he fields four, with last weekend's Haydock winner Valery Borzov (drawn 16) perceived as the first string. The ante-post favourite has been one of the nesh southerners, Stuart Williams-trained Hogmaneigh, another with a favourable stall, number 15.

The next bookies' benefit on the list is Wednesday's Ebor Handicap (the Ripon contest is funded by William Hill and that at York by the Tote), for which no fewer than 62 horses were declared yesterday with only 20 places available. Five share favouritism at 8-1 with the sponsors, Bauer, Mad Rush, Milne Graden, Young Mick and Wicked Daze.

The weekend's richest domestic card is tomorrow at Newbury, where the Geoffrey Freer Stakes sees a clash between the high-class stayers Sixties Icon, winner of the St Leger two years ago, and Geordieland, runner-up in the Gold Cup in June, and the Hungerford Stakes marks a step up the ladder for the progressive three-year-old Paco Boy.

But the top quality comes at Deauville on Sunday, where 1,000 Guineas heroine Natagora is set to turn out against the colts in the Prix Jacques le Marois, 12 days after her slightly disappointing third in a fillies' Group One at the Normandy track. "I am really tempted to run her as she is so well," said trainer Pascal Pary yesterday.

Natagora's eight opponents will include Paco Boy's Richard Hannon stablemate Major Cadeaux and, possibly, Peter Chapple-Hyam's Winker Watson. There was a successful raid from Britain yesterday at Deauville when Dar Re Mi, ridden by Olivier Peslier for John Gosden, easily took the Prix Minerve.

* Today's meeting at Newcastle was abandoned yesterday due to a waterlogged track.

Kempton Park tonight: Hyperion's selections 5.55 Woodcote; 6.25 King Olav; 6.55 Key Signature; 7.25 Mille Feuille; 7.55 Came Back; 8.25 Killena Boy; 8.55 Smokey Rye.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star