Mixed fortunes for odds-on punters
REPORT: LINGFIELD, Monday
IF odds-on punters had any money left after the first division of Lingfield's juvenile maiden, they almost lost it in the second. For those who like to steam in on short priced-favourites, it was very much an afternoon of sweaty palms and smelling salts.
The salts were required after Imaam, backed into 2-5 from 8-15, was turned over in his maiden heat not long after 4-5 jolly Nawamees failed to deliver in the claimer.
A third blow looked set to be inflicted on the big-money backers just 30 minutes later, but further agony was spared them when 5-6 hotpot Sans Frontieres eventually overcame a troubled passage to secure a nail-biting success in the second maiden.
It was a victory widely predicted. One celebrated Newmarket insider had described the Jeremy Noseda-trained newcomer as "the talk of the town", but Sir Robert Ogden's much touted individual did not have things easy on his introduction and had to take a circuitous route to the front. Oncein front, he won more than a shade cosily.
"Everything has gone wrong but he has still won," said Noseda, who described Shane Kelly's mount as "novicey and babyish". As such, a softly-softly approach is likely to be adopted, even though the son of Galileo is entered in everything except Strictly Come Dancing.
Noseda added: "He has every choice under the sun, but we'll probably take in a little conditions race next and then decide whether or not to put him away. I don't think we'll see him at his peak until next year."
Next year is also when Richard Hannon jnr believes Aurorian, who proved far too good for Imaam, will be seen at his best.
"He's a real galloping horse witha long stride, and he'll be one for the autumn and next season," said Hannon jnr, adding: "We thought he was more likely to finish second or third, but it looks as though he's better than we thought."
Another winning favourite was Circadian Rhythm, who throws out her near foreleg a la dual 1,000 Guineas heroine Attraction, but she still proved good enough to win the apprentices' handicap at 3-1 under Jamie Kyne.
One race later, Mr Napoleon bagged the 1m4f handicap for trainer Gary Moore, who had been expected to complete a double with Nawamees, but a seventh claiming race triumph was denied the ten-year-old by What's Up Doc, who gave trainer Lawney Hill a first Flat success, while also confirming Andrew Barr - he of Racing Post and Weekender fame - to be either the luckiest or most astute owner alive.
Barr has never seen a horse carrying his colours lose. Mr Tee Pee bagged him three point-to-points and a hunter chase last jumps season, and by winning here, What's Up Doc made it five from five for the clever hack.
"It's downhill from here," said Barr, whose pessimism seems to be entirely unwarranted.
Music Box Express blitzed his rivals in the 6f handicap to give red-hot rookie trainer George Baker his 13th win of the year - as he himself pointed out, a Baker's dozen.