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Punters luckless as 33-1 Blessed Place sets tone


THREE huge-priced winners at Sandown on Friday confirm thatthe seasons are changing and autumn is very much on its way.

The 33-1 win of Blessed Place from out of the weights in the 5f handicap was bad enough, but just 35 minutes later punters were reeling again after 28-1 chance Red Rumour beatthe two market leaders in a similar race over 1m.

A degree of sanity was restored briefly after that, but backers had simply been lulled into a false sense of security, for the concluding 1m2f handicap went to another 33-1 chance, Dr Livingstone.

Red Rumour's success came as a surprise even to owner Richard Roberts - after all, he had beaten a total ofonly three horses in three races since his all-weather win in the spring - but one person who must have been delighted was trainer Ralph Beckett, who saddles Oaks winner Look Here in Saturday afternoon's St Leger and has now had four winners already thismonth.

After Richard Kingscote had got Red Rumour home by a head from Admiral Dundas, with gambled-on Silver Rime third, Roberts said: "That's a lovely surprise, although when we ran him at York after his win the breeder told us we should run him on wet ground.

"I suggested to Ralph that we might as well try him on it, but the rest is down to him, as he had him in fantastic condition."

The speedy Blessed Place can usually be relied upon to run his race, but the stiff 5f on tacky ground hardly played to his strengths.                                                                                 

Unusually, the Dominic ffrench Davis-trained veteran came back again for Chris Catlin after being headed, to the frustration of those who thought Best One had taken charge.

Dr Livingstone was no more fancied in the last, for after Charles Egerton's Dr Fong gelding had beaten Times Vital a length assistant David Plunkett revealedthat the main objective had been to get him to switch off, as he had been much too free when last seen in the spring.

Even Opera Prince, the 15-2 winner of the second 1m handicap, was unfancied by his connections, trainer Sylvester Kirk admitting after the gelding had beaten Eastern Emperor two lengths that he told everyone that he needed the race and he was not sure about either the trip or the ground.

Luckily, not every winner was so hard to find and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mumayeza, who beat Inquest three lengths in the 1m2f maiden, went off 13-8 favourite to confirm the promise of her debut second at Kempton nearly three months ago, while Cumana Bay, a 6-1 short-head winner of the opening 5f maiden, was expected to prefer the shorter trip after making her debut over 7f last week.

Star performance
Cumana Bay is by no means a star yet, but if she takes after her dam Mayaro Bay she will be all right.



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