Tregaronto fulfil fears of bookies

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The Independent Online
Like a mouse which suddenly senses that the local tabby is in the vicinity, bookmakers tend to get very nervous when Reg Akehurst has a twinkle in his eye 24 hours before one of the season's richest handicaps. That gleam was unmistakable yesterday, and any bookie who awoke this morning to find the hairs on the back of his neck standing bolt upright now knows the reason why.

Akehurst will saddle Tregaron, the second favourite, in the Schweppes Golden Mile at Goodwood today, and while many will prefer the claims of Missile, an apparent blot on the handicap, the man who knows more about pounds and ounces than the average weights-and-measures inspector is not exactly wracked by doubt.

"Tregaron's had a hike in the weights, he's gone up 23lb for winning two average races," Akehurst said yesterday, "And if the race was re-handicapped, Missile would have a lot more weight. You've got to respect him, but I'd still back mine."

Nor is Tregaron's wide draw of deep concern. "If it was one of 22 I would be a bit worried, but not when it's five of 18," the trainer said. "He's a horse with a bit of pace and you can put him where you like."

The doubt about Missile is his habit of peering at those around him during a race, which is the mark of a worrier and thus a horse who is unlikely to enjoy a robust scrimmage around the tight turns of Goodwood. At around 9-4 it is not a chance worth taking. The 6-1 offered about TREGARON (nap 3.50) by Coral this morning is too good to miss, particularly since few of the longer-priced animals make each-way appeal (Mullitover, at 20-1, is the exception).

Akehurst has a serious chance in the Goodwood Cup too, but as he admitted yesterday, Admiral's Well "would have a much better chance over another half a mile". Today's two miles should be more to the liking of Persian Punch (next best 3.20), while Gumair (2.15) is another three-year-old stayer worth an interest.

In a disappointing renewal of the Richmond Stakes, Proud Native (2.45), who handled a downland course well when winning the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom, can beat the Royal Ascot runner-up Raphane. Any drastic alterations in the 2,000 Guineas betting, though, are more likely to be a result of Zamindar's run at Deauville today. Andre Fabre's colt is the 10-1 favourite for the 1997 Classic.

Yesterday's results, page 25