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Avoca Dancer makes amends for Kelleway


EPSOM has the Derby, Aintree the Grand National and Cheltenham the Gold Cup, Brighton has the Ian Carnaby Selling Stakes, and Gay Kelleway was mighty glad to win it.

Theseller, sponsored by racing writer Carnaby and formerly also by his good pal, Racing Post correspondent David Ashforth, was created 15 years ago because its instigators love truly awful horses.

However, Kelleway was calling the race's latest winner, Avoca Dancer, something much ruder than truly awful after the five-year-old caused a significant transfer of money from Kelleway to bookmakers last week.

Kelleway, who paid just 850gns for Avoca Dancer, ran her for the first time in a Wolverhampton handicap last Friday, confidently expectingto win. An eighth-place finish did not leave her very happy.

"I did my brains on her last week, and all I did today was get my money back," said the trainer, her head spinning with mixed emotions.

"Iwas really scratching my head after Wolverhampton," she added. "We backed her from 8-1 in the morning down to 4-1.

"Everything seemed to be right for her, and I decided that if the bloody thing didn't win, we'd drop her into a seller next time."

She did and was rewarded with a win, which earned both Kelleway and rider Neil Callan a bottle of bubbly and a large stick of rock.

Callan, who came to Brighton expecting to leave with nothing, completed a 142-1 double on the Simon Dow-trained Maybe I Will, who decided she would and landed the 1m2f fillies' handicap.                       
At 12-1, Maybe I Will was one of the afternoon's shortest-priced winners.

One of it's biggest was Siryena, who took the claimer at 20-1, much to the delight of Verity Bourne, sister of fellow joint-owner Patrick Milmo, the barrister famed for his involvement in the Top Cees trial.

"You're brilliant, absolutely brilliant," said Bourne to rider David Probert, whose mount leaves trainer Ben Case after being claimed by George Baker.
Probert was one of three winning apprentices on theday.

Hadden Frost landed the 1m handicap on The Gaikwar, but it was a considerably more significant afternoon for Travis Block, who rode out his claim when 40-1shot My Kingdom became his 95th winner by landing a juvenile maiden, whose 4-6 favourite Noble Jack was withdrawn at the start.

"I'll have to put my head down and work now," said Block, while trainer Hughie Morrison's travelling head groom Robert Latham reflected on the benefits of castration.

"I ride My Kingdom at home and I've always liked him, but we couldn't control him," said Latham, adding: "Having him cut has changed his life."

Winning the 7f handicap with Buxton did not change the life of trainer Roger Ingram, but it did give him his first winner in 113 days.

For rider Robert Havlin, it was a bittersweet success, as he picked up a four-day ban (September 17-20) for using his whip with excessive frequency.

Star performance
Travis Block, whose victory on 40-1 shot My Kingdom meant he rode out his claim


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