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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot