Son masterstroke

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The Independent Online
UNCONSIDERED Shikari's Son sprang a 40-1 shock here yesterday when he beat the hot favourite Top Banana in the Stewards Cup. And the gelding's three-quarters of a length victory was not only a surprise for punters but also a 42nd birthday present for his trainer, John White, who was at Newton Abbot, saddling two jumps winners.

White's has a fine record with his Flat runners, and Shikari's Son followed Imad in the Goodwood Stakes on Tuesday as his second strike at the big midsummer festival.

Richard Hughes, putting up 4lb overweight, brought the winner through a line of horses 50 yards from the line, having been last half-way through the six-furlong cavalry charge. He said: "He is not a horse you can hustle to the front, and the worry was that I would not get a run. But I switched him towards the middle of the course and when I got the split he was really travelling."

Top Banana, backed to take more than pounds 1m out of the ring on-course and in ante-post liabilities on one of the season's hottest handicaps, held 20-1 shot Jayannpee, the best of the low-drawn finishers on the far side, by a short-head for second, with Espartero fourth.

Hughes, with two winners at Royal Ascot and another at Goodwood on Friday, is one of the rising stars of the weighing-room. But the tall young Irishman is constantly struggling with his weight, and said: "I was in the sauna during the morning, but it blew a fuse. Then I was stuck in traffic for an hour and had no time to sweat to lose those extra pounds."

There was drama at the start of the race as the highly charged sprinters were being loaded. Jimmy Quinn was lucky to escape injury when Magic Orb flipped over backwards in the stalls and crashed into the pair drawn on either side, Thatcherella and Castlerea Lad, in her efforts to struggle free. None was seriously hurt, but all three were withdrawn.

Caramba has the Group 1 Prix Vermeille on her agenda after a supremely game performance under Michael Roberts to catch and beat the front-running Warning Shadows half a length in the Nassau Stakes. Her owner-breeder, the Earl of Carnarvon, said: "She was heavily in season today, so this was a good performance. Michael is convinced she will cope with the step up in distance, and she deserves to try the step up in class."

Frankie Dettori capped a glorious Goodwood - and clinched the Ritz Club trophy for the leading jockey of the meeting for the second successive year - with a runaway win in the opening Vodapage Stakes on Tamayaz, his sixth of the week.

The son of Gone West was making a belated seasonal debut, but that has conspicuously not proved a disadvantage to Godolphin horses in the past, and Dettori set off in front. Jersey Stakes third First Island came to challenge him on the downhill run after the home turn, but Tamayaz quickened and lengthened readily when asked and strode clear to win, easing up.

The colt's name means "something special" in Arabic, and he may well live up to it in time. His late-season entries include the Champion Stakes, and Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said: "He will definitely be stepped up in class next time, possibly the Celebration Mile back here at the end of August."

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