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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Johnston hoping Fugitive namesake can run away with Brighton feature

The Queen greets her 2013 Gold Cup winner Estimate, whose first foal Calculation makes his debut at Sandown
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Mark Johnston has won today's Brighton feature, the Visit Brighton Challenge Handicap (3.30), twice in the past three years and is back for another crack with Dr Richard Kimble.

Named after the lead character in the hit 1960s TV series and 1993 film The Fugitive, the three-year-old is a long way from home just like the trainer's Mister Rockandroll in 2015 and Curlew River a year ago.

The son of Lawman has been kept typically busy and is having his 12th outing of the campaign, but he will find this a different level of competition to the Class 3 handicap in which he finished ninth at Glorious Goodwood just six days ago.

Before that, Dr Richard Kimble had been a consistent sort and may be suited to this smaller field of seven runners – a surprisingly tiny turnout considering there is more than £21,000 to the winner.

Johnston said: "It's good money so we had to run something. He was a little bit disappointing last time but I hope he can bounce back from that. I don't think he'll struggle with the track."

Of the opposition, Alex Hales has taken an unusual route with The Otmoor Poet, who was last seen finishing a distant sixth over hurdles at Uttoxeter last month.

The 19-race maiden had previously posted a decent effort when third in the Ladies' Derby at Epsom, a performance that gives Hales some optimism his candidate will handle the cambers of Brighton.

The trainer said: "The Otmoor Poet was sent off favourite for some reason at Uttoxeter but he ran poorly and now we know he just doesn't like hurdling. He ran well before that at Epsom so we thought we would chance it at Brighton.

"He's come out of his last race so well we thought we'd have a go at this as the money is so good and I can't believe there aren't more runners. Hopefully he can run well but the likes of Ashington look hard to beat."

Ashington was bound for the horses-in-training sales until he won nicely over this trip of a mile and a half at Newmarket on his penultimate start and then may not have stayed when upped in trip at Haydock last time.

Cumani's assistant Freddie Eccles-Williams said: "It had rained at Haydock and the ground made it a real stamina test. Hopefully this sounder surface should suit him better and it does not look a strong race."

Two-year-old race to savour

You will have to go a long way to see two better-bred newcomers than Calculation and Too Darn Hot, who make their debut in the Slug and Lettuce 2-4-1 Tanqueray Thursdays EBF Maiden Stakes (6.35) at Sandown.

Calculation, by Dubawi, is well named as he is the first foal of the Queen's 2013 Ascot Gold Cup winner Estimate and has been pleasing in his recent work for Sir Michael Stoute on the Newmarket all-weather surfaces, most recently on the Long Hill Polytrack gallop on Tuesday morning.

Estimate herself seldom set the gallops alight and finished only seventh on her sole outing as a juvenile in 2011.

John Gosden has won the mile contest three times in the past decade and fields another classy son of Dubawi in the intriguingly named Too Darn Hot, who is also well forward for his debut.

The juvenile is a brother to black-type winners La Ti Dar and So Mi Dar and has been showing plenty of prowess in his home work.

Simon Marsh, racing manager to owner Lord Lloyd Webber, said: "He's an exciting type who has been working nicely and hopefully he can run a nice first race. He's named after a song from a musical [Kiss Me, Kate] and has the word 'Dar' in there as Andrew likes to do with this family."

HK jockey starts British stint at Haydock

Hong Kong jockey CY Ho has his first taste of British action when he rides X Rated in the opening Grassroots Middle Distance Qualifier (2.10) at Haydock.

Ho had 24 winners from 458 rides in his homeland over the past year before joining X Rated's trainer Mark Johnston for the summer.

Johnston said: "CY Ho is over having a spell with us. He's been here for a couple of weeks and he's had a couple of rides in France and in Turkey. He's here because Ryan Moore suggested he contacted us when he was in Hong Kong. He knows his job."

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Hopefully this sounder surface should suit him better and it does not look a strong race
E.W. Terms
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