Kirthill can claim Mohican scalp on last day of the Flat

Cumani handicapper seeks to stop Frankel's former workmate while rising chaser Flemenstar embarks on Gold Cup trail

The final day of another Flat season provides an opportune cue to rebuke anyone still peddling the obsolete axiom that there is greater romance and diversity over jumps. Nowadays, all the best jumpers are corralled in the same few hands. Last weekend, press box colleagues at the Breeders' Cup exchanged virtually identical bulletins from back home: Paul Nicholls had mopped up big races at Wetherby and Down Royal, with Silviniaco Conti, Tidal Bay, Kauto Stone and Cristal Bonus; Nicky Henderson had meanwhile saddled four winners at Ascot, just as he had on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival itself last season. In Ireland, meanwhile, other trainers have been nervously pilfering races while they wait for Willie Mullins to release his cavalry for the winter.

In contrast, a series of heart-warming stories played out down below at Santa Anita. After Fort Larned won the Classic, a delirious figure could be seen bounding out of the stands to embrace his trainer, Ian Wilkes. It was Charles Lopresti, who had won a vintage Mile less than an hour earlier, with Wise Dan. Buff Bradley, completing the triumvirate of "Little Guys" from Kentucky, had already saddled Groupie Doll to win the Filly and Mare Sprint. Bradley delivered her himself, as a foal, on a farm built upon the enterprise of his father, Fred. As a 10-year-old boy, Fred set out by buying a coal-cart mule for $3; he broke it for riding, and sold it for $5; now he watched from his wheelchair, a proud octogenarian, as Groupie Doll careered home by four and a half lengths.

Wise Dan, a beautiful chestnut, then proceeded to show that Frankel was not unique in being able to box the ears of Excelebration; while the runner-up, Animal Kingdom, hinted at the rewards available to those who campaign top horses with due adventure. Last year's Kentucky Derby winner had switched surface and dropped in trip, only to get caught in traffic before bursting through late. He will now go to the Dubai World Cup, and possibly Royal Ascot.

So much for the predictable hegemonies of Flat racing. How very edifying, then, that top billing this weekend should be reserved for Peter Casey – a former sheep shearer who has somehow not only ended up with a potential champion steeplechaser in his tiny stable, just up the coast from Dublin, but has been further blessed with a patron equal to all those predatory bloodstock agents.

It was Flemenstar who prompted a notoriously lascivious exclamation from his septuagenarian trainer, live on television, after a runaway Grade One success at Leopardstown in January. Casey believes that Flemenstar can last the extra distance of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, but starts him off back at two miles at Navan tomorrow against a veteran specialist at that trip, Big Zeb.

The final Flat racing on turf this year comprises a marathon card at Doncaster, already under way before noon. It seems fitting that the Betfred November Handicap, its last big pot, should revolve around an unbeaten stablemate of the champion who bestrode the whole campaign. Moreover it has been claimed First Mohican, in their younger days, worked better with Frankel than any other horse. Unfortunately, he then disappeared for almost two years, but has proved miles ahead of his rating in two handicaps since his return. At the odds, however, you have to remember he has been raised another 12lb and tries a new trip in a tougher grade. Luca Cumani's Kirthill (2.35) looks better value, having produced a career best on his only start at this distance and shaped well in traffic since.

Some thriving sprinters converge for a last crack at a Listed prize – notably Jack Dexter, who has beaten an aggregate of 67 rivals in handicaps over six, seven and five furlongs this autumn. But Ultrasonic is also on the upgrade, and any punter loyal to last year's winner will be rewarded with a fair price against the quirky but talented Sirius Prospect (3.10).

Well Painted (3.45) caught the eye behind Jack Dexter last time and looks as though already on reconnaissance for the Lincoln, back here next spring, while Sajjhaa (2.00) introduces a touch of class to the other televised race.

Channel 4 also has cameras at Wincanton, where Nicholls has a predictably strong hand. Nonetheless, two other respected yards could thwart the champion trainer with Balder Succes (2.50) and Zarrafakt (3.25).

Turf account

Chris McGrath'S Nap

Sajjhaa (2.00 Doncaster)

Next Best

Oscar Stanley (3.15 Kelso)

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
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

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?