Sahara Sun out to end Cumani's cup drought


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The Independent Online

At the very least, this summer Hayley Turner has punched two deep fissures across the glass ceiling that has hitherto constrained female riders in Britain. As she recuperates from ankle surgery, however, the dual Group One winner will be reminded today that she remains a long way behind another pioneer for their sex.

Julie Krone, who shattered so many American prejudices with 3,704 career winners, is the most remarkable of the former riders who convene at Doncaster today for an event that sufficiently refutes any charge of gimmickry for Channel 4 viewers to wonder why they must wait until tomorrow for coverage of the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting.

Those "Leger Legends" obtaining fresh distinction by riding against Krone today include some outstanding past jockeys under both codes. Each and every one will salute the first woman to win a Triple Crown race, and the first to win at the Breeders' Cup. At 48, this diminutive, feisty creature lends incongruous stature to a prize contested by the plainest of horses.

As it happens, Krone has drawn a mount in particularly good form, Invincible Hero. However, rather more interesting horses are to be found elsewhere on the card – none more so than Sahara Sun, who gets what may well prove a very fleeting introduction to racing in the northern hemisphere in a conditions race over 10 furlongs.

Purchased by an Australian partnership after finishing second in the Chilean Derby in February, Sahara Sun was sent to Luca Cumani with a view to ending the trainer's maddening sequence of near misses in the Melbourne Cup. Cumani is clearly not going to let the matter rest, with three other horses – Bauer, Drunken Sailor and Manighar – also retaining a boarding pass. It is hard to know what to expect today, but Sahara Sun must enter quarantine virtually overnight if he is to retain another option in Australia. Apart from Americain, who won the Melbourne Cup for France last November, his was the only overseas name among the entries published yesterday for the Cox Plate.

The most prestigious race on the opening day of the meeting is a Listed sprint, the Scarborough Stakes, in which Medicean Man looks eligible to build on the improvement he has shown in handicaps at Ascot this summer. He was unlucky not to defy his revised mark last time, but must show his progress does not reflect a specific affinity to Ascot. If it does, Dinkum Diamond could be value to take advantage as a young sprinter on the upgrade.

It is instructive of an advantage for Paul Hanagan in the defence of his title that he will be seeking easier pickings at Carlisle. But Kieren Fallon demonstrates his commitment by flying on from Doncaster to take four mounts at Kempton. With his obligations to Cumani in mind, he needs to claw his way into the lead sooner rather than later. Melbourne, not to mention the Breeders' Cup, falls in the very last week of the domestic campaign.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Ghostwriting (2.00 Doncaster) Powerful stable threw this well-bred colt into Group Two company just a fortnight after a stylish debut, and well worth another chance dropped into a handicap.

Next best

Rocket Rob (5.20 Doncaster) Inconsistent but certainly handicapped to bounce back.

One to watch

Fulgur (Luca Cumani) Will reward perseverance, despite never landing a blow at Ascot on Saturday, simply caught out by a slow pace and traffic problems.

Where the money's going

Seville is 8-1 from 10-1 with Coral for the Ladbrokes St Leger on Saturday.