Row bucks but too fast for rivals

RACING: Paddock mischief is a prelude to victory in the Craven Stakes for a Chapple-Hyam colt now promoted in the Guineas market
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There are, according to Peter Chapple-Hyam, just two problems with Painter's Row. "The first is getting his tack on," the trainer said yesterday. "The second is getting the jockey on. He's a bit tricky."

A further characteristic is that the bay colt is also a bit useful, though, as he exhibited yesterday in winning the Craven Stakes and making inroads into the 2,000 Guineas betting. He is as low as 12-1 with William Hill.

This would not have been a race in which paddock observers made a huge amount of money. As the five runners (Traikey was withdrawn because of a temperature) paraded it became clear that Painter's Row had not lost his mischievousness over the winter. As soon as John Reid was legged on to his back he bucked into extravagant action, much the same as a fairground bucking bronco after a 50p piece has been inserted.

In the race proper, the antics were transferred to another runner, Chilly Billy, who pulled and swerved so violently that there was a suggestion he had not been broken in. Painter's Row, on the other hand, travelled amenably in behind the pace-setting Denebola Way.

When the lead came his way it was soon clear that Painter's Row would relinquish it as easily as a child would a new toy. From over two furlongs out he repelled the challenges of first the well-backed Nwaamis and then the eventual runner-up, Montjoy. "He's as tough as old boots," Chapple- Hyam, who also won the fillies' 1,000 Guineas trial with Myself on Tuesday, said. "They came to him and he battled back. He loves a battle.

"He needed the run because he had his first spin only 10 days ago and then he had a splint so he missed quite a bit of work. He'll definitely improve and he'll be a lot sharper next time."

There was little despondency among the vanquished. John Dunlop, Nwaamis's trainer, made excuses for his horse like Mars make bars. "It was greenness more than anything and I think he got a little bit tired," Dunlop said. "He would have preferred easier going and he stumbled going into the dip.

"I've still got that much chance," the trainer added, allowing a generous space between thumb and forefinger.

Montjoy's man, Paul Cole, seemed rather pleased that his colt had got so close. "It's like throwing darts at the board to get a marker and this was only my third string so it was good news," he said. "Everything is falling into place." Followers of Green Perfume, who is now an absentee from tomorrow's Greenham Stakes at Newbury, and Sri Pekan, need not be disheartened.

Those who have vouchers bearing the name of Charnwood Forest, however, will have to reinvest. The colt, as expected, won his maiden, but now seems destined for the Irish Guineas. Henry Cecil's colt would be the horse of a lifetime for most owners, but for Sheikh Mohammed, who already has Pennekamp and Diffident near the peak of the Classic betting, he is barely above the rank and file.

The Feilden Stakes went to Munwar, who is as now as low as 12-1, with William Hill, for the Derby. The winning rider was Willie Carson, who 30 minutes earlier had hit the ground as he was separated from the stricken Noonday Gun. Despite being beaten into third, Eltish, who was giving away 8lb all round, remains on course for the Kentucky Derby, for which he is 14-1.

Peter Walwyn, Munwar's trainer, knew he had taken control of an athlete before the colt had stepped on to the gallops. "When he walked in the yard he looked good," the Lambourn trainer said. "He's a bit angular but he's very hungry looking. There was something about him.

"He doesn't do anything very quickly, he just lengthens, but his action is superb. I would fancy that if the ground was decent he would run in the Lingfield Derby Trial because he's a galloper."

Walwyn himself is keeping up a relentlessly enthusiastic pace. As Munwar passed the post a dancing figure skipped below the stands, for all the world a grateful punter jigging in delight. Those with binoculars though could recognise the figure as Munwar's 61-year-old trainer.

2,000 GUINEAS (Newmarket, 6 May): Coral: evens Celtic Swing, 3-1 Pennekamp, 7-1 Sri Pekan, 8-1 Diffident, 14-1 Painter's Row; Ladbrokes: 5-4 Celtic Swing, 5-1 Diffident & Pennekamp, 8-1 Sri Pekan; William Hill: 5-4 Celtic Swing, 4-1 Pennekamp, 9-2 (with a run) Diffident, 6-1 Sri Pekan, 12-1 Painter's Row.

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