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Promising Probert continues Buick chase

REPORT: KEMPTON, Wednesday evening

DAVID PROBERT continues to close down his "stablemate" William Buick in what could be an intriguing race for the apprentice title as he strengthened a new winning link in narrowing the gap to three with victory on Dr Synn in the opener.

A week ago, owner John Kilby and trainer Michael Attwater enlisted Probert and his precious 5lb claim to help the apprentice win the Weatherby's series and get them off the cold list.

Kilby said: "It's been a frustrating season as I have had about 30 placed. David has ridden another fine race and I hope he can continue the run."

Probert has taken over from his fellow Andrew Balding graduate Buick in hitting the headlines this summer.

John Gosden, engaged in Keeneland Sales business, sent out another taking maiden winner a week after Cadre came good in his three-year-old maiden on his second racecourse start.

It was the turn of a two-year-old debutant in Mafaaz, who dented two lofty reputations in running down strongly-backed 8-13 favourite Sayyaaf, who was carrying the winner owner Sheikh Hamdan's first colours, with the Cheveley Park Stud-owned and morning gamble Evasive back in third as the trio finished well clear in the 7f maiden.

Steve Drowne admitted he thought he was playing for a place after the Medicean colt was slowly away and Sayyaaf sauntered clear around the home bend to put his previous experience to good use. The picture changed in the last 100yds as Mafaaz picked up strongly under hands and heels riding.

Blacktoft continued the fine recent run of trainer Stuart Williams in defying top weight under a cool ride from Jean-Pierre Guillambert in the mile claimer.

Le Chiffre made a bold move early in the straight but Blacktoft, who did not leave the inside rail, slipped through to challenge and held off the late burst of Yes Eighteen.                               
Hallingdal is beginning to look like a steal from the July Sales as the former Mark Johnston-trained filly showed a fine turn of foot to settle the mile handicap into the final furlong.

James Doyle, unlucky not to landthe gamble on the Sean Curran Mulberry Lad in the first, was not for catching on Hallingdal and was able to ease in the final 50yds to land a late touch which had seen the filly backed from 25-1 to 14-1.

Winning trainer Jacqui Doyle said: "I'm pleasedfor James as he has taken a few knocks this season. It has been hard for him and he has ridden two confident races here and was unlucky not to win the first as well."

Doyle has not ruled out the Halling filly taking up her engagement in the 7f handicap at Sandown on Thursday.

Jim Boyle is closing in on his aim to beat last year's score of 40 as Al Gillani, a well backed 15-8 favourite, made it 36 for the season in the 6f handicap.

Robert Havlin came in for the praise after landing Formidable Guest a winner again in the 12f handicap.

Trainer Jeff Pearce was trying the filly over a longer trip after a series of near misses over 1m2f, he said: "She was just getting run out of things over shorter but if there is an all-weather horse, she is it. She doesn't go on the turf but I can say the jockey won the race tonight - that was ride and a half."

Havlin dropped the filly in from her unfavourable outside draw in one and mindful that the trainer does not like his horses to run wide and giveground away, he weaved his way through the field to burst past favourite Mixing into the final two furlongs and saw out the longer trip well.

Shraayef caused a big upset in the 1m3f handicap as the 33-1 chance (40-1 on the tote) swept home high wide and handsome under John Egan to beat Eureka Moment and favourite Dancing Dik to lose her maiden tag at the sixth time of asking.

Star performance
Mafaaz, owner's second string to odds-on favourite but beat him under hands and heels riding to suggest a bright future.


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