2012 FLAT SEASON GETS UNDER WAY AT DONCASTER
Mon, Apr 2, 2012
Just days to go now before the start of the flat season here at Great Yarmouth on Easter Monday ... but the season started in pulsating fashion on Saturday at Doncaster with the first big prize of the season staying up north.
The William Hill Lincoln not only provided a home win for northern-based trainer Richard Fahey but is also played its part in swelling the bookies' coffers on a day of big-priced winners.
It was Brae Hill, runner-up last year, who went one better on Saturday to win at 25-1 under jockey Tony Hamilton, often the understudy to champion Paul Hanagan. Owned by Dr Marwan Koukash, the six-year-old just held on from fast-finishing Mull of Killough, from Jane Chapple-Hyam's stable under a drive from Shane Kelly to snatch the £62,000 plus top prize.
There had been an even bigger shock in the season's opener, the Spring Mile when 50-1 shot Norse Blue, trained by Sylvester Kirk and ridden by Lee Newman, won from Dr Koukash's Kyllachy Star, again from the Yorkshire-based Fahey stable.
The other opening day tradition, the Brocklesby Stakes for two-year-olds, went to Mick Easterby's impressive newcomer My Boy Bill, ridden by Paddy Aspell, who finished like an express train to win the five furlong sprint from the Clive Cox trained and John Fahy ridden Well Acquainted with Mayfield Girl back in third.
Another long-priced shot, The Cheka, from Eve Johnson-Houghton's yard and ridden by one of Great Yarmouth's leading winners, Neil Callan, landed the Cammidge Trophy worth almost 20 thousand before another regular jockey here at east coast meetings, Dane O'Neill, scored a double.
He won on Zaina for Gerard Butler in the Harriet Powell Maiden Stakes before 35 minutes later, taking the first division of the William Hill App Handicap with Qaraaba for Seamus Durack.
As the opening day wore on, finding winners got no easier to find for punters with outsider West End Lad, under a good ride from Russell Kennemore, taking division two of the App Handicap before Tony Carroll's Zafranager scored in the closing apprentice handicap under George Downing, taking over and winning from Nora Looby on Alan McCabe's all-weather specialist Follow The Flag in the final furlong.
Terry Redhead, Freelance Reporter