Dream weekend a hot prospect
Spence lines up run to savour with a double at Lingfield
A weekend of major consequences for Alan Spence got off to the best possible start with a double at Lingfield.
The owner's top horses Hot Prospect and Eradicate will contest the totesport.com Derby Trial and the Swinton Hurdle today, while tomorrow his beloved Chelsea, for whom Spence has held the position of vice president, are poised to seal the Premier League.
Cansili Star, trained by Michael Jarvis, finished second to Gimcrack winner Showcasing on his debut at Yarmouth but was unable to break his duck in four subsequent outings.
Division Two of the Derby Trial Here Tomorrow Maiden Stakes appeared ideal and with a particularly evident bias towards the stands rail, there was nowhere else the ever-shrewd Philip Robinson wanted to be as he steered the even-money favourite clear by three lengths.
Spence was away in Hong Kong, but his son Michael said: "He was a bit unlucky last year but he has been gelded and has improved."
Robinson later did the business on Spence's Life And Soul (100/30) in the lingfieldpark.co.uk Classified Stakes.
Godolphin's Mutafajer (6/5 favourite) had a similar profile to Cansili Star and collected division one of the maiden in almost identical style.
"He has always been a nice horse -- he seemed to meet a good one every time he ran -- and we were very hopeful today," said rider Ted Durcan.
Expensive Problem continued his invaluable contribution to Jack Smith's small stable by landing division one of the totetrifecta Handicap. Smith brought the gelding with him when returning from a stint in Spain last summer and as a well-backed 10/1 shot, he was delivered with panache by George Baker.
"I came back about a year ago and this horse was my first winner and first runner," said Smith. "He's had a tough old winter but this was his grade."
Night Lily was a last minute gamble for the Paul d'Arcy stable and the 9/4 favourite just held on to division two.
Roche Des Vents (11/2) skipped away from the fancied pair Leiba Leiba and Alfraamsey in the EBF Maiden Stakes as yet another winner for juvenile maestro Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes.
Hughes and the Michael Bell-trained favourite Tell Halaf later swept away Duster for the Toteswinger Handicap.
More joy for the favourite-backers ensued in the Toteexacta Flexi Betting Handicap through Gary Moore's 3/1 chance Rocker.
Pat Smullen reports Famous Name to be in rude health as he chases the fourth Pattern-race success of his career in tomorrow's www.totegoracingclub.com Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown.
Dermot Weld's five-year-old was an impressive winner on his first start of the year over Sunday's course and distance last month and Smullen believes he could be up to winning a Group One before the season is out.
"He's in good form and I was very impressed by his comeback win in Leopardstown a couple of weeks ago," Smullen said. "I would say the aim would be for him to win a Group One somewhere this year."
Famous Name faces just four rivals on Sunday with Duff, Big Robert, King Jock and Rose Hip in opposition.
Godolphin are switching Prix Ganay winner Cutlass Bay from Andre Fabre's stable in France to Saeed bin Suroor in Newmarket. The four-year-old looks an exciting prospect for this season after he took his 100pc record to five in the Group One Prix Ganay at Longchamp on Sunday.
Three promising three-year-olds are also being moved from the Fabre yard, but they will be based with Godolphin's second trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. That trio is headed by Simon De Montfort, who is on target for the French Derby after winning the Prix la Force on his latest start.
The others are Anna Salai, who will now be aimed at the Irish 1000 Guineas on May 23, and Rewilding, who was runner-up in the Prix Noailles at Longchamp last month.
"This is all part of the arrangement that we have with Andre and we are delighted that the system we put in place last year is already proving so productive," racing manager Simon Crisford said. "There are no immediate plans for Cutlass Bay and Rewilding."
Jockey Danny Cook has been handed a 22-day suspension by the British Horseracing Authority after being found guilty of taking the wrong course on Gaspara at Newton Abbot last month. It was a third similar indiscretion for Cook in his short career.
He received a 28-day ban for taking the wrong course on Our Vic in the Boylesports Gold Cup at Cheltenham last December, and also committed the same offence at Huntingdon last March. Cook will be suspended from May 15 to May 21, May 23, May 25 to June 3 and June 5 to June 8.
William Knight has pencilled in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown on May 27 for his stable stalwart Illustrious Blue.
The seven-year-old won the Sagaro Stakes in fine style last time on what was his first attempt at two miles and another good performance at Sandown could see connections supplement him for the Ascot Gold Cup.
"Now Illustrious Blue has shown that he stays two miles, we are going to aim for the Henry II Stakes at the end of this month," Knight said.
"We considered next Friday's Yorkshire Cup but his regular rider Jim Crowley is due to be suspended on that day and it may just be that Illustrious Blue is best suited going right-handed rather than left-handed.
"He is not in the Ascot Gold Cup but obviously if he were to go and win the Henry II -- or put up another big performance in that race -- we would have to seriously consider supplementing him for the Royal meeting. We were thrilled with his run in the Sagaro."