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A chorus of approval; Joy abounds at Alborada's `old firm' win.

AN emphatic roar of approval greeted Alborada's triumph in the Dubai Champion Stakes, reflecting not only the filly's game performance but the popularity of her trainer, Sir Mark Prescott, and jockey, George Duffield, writes Richard Griffiths.

It was also a notable achievement for Alborada's owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing, who has shown great faith in the family and sold a half-brother to Saturday's Group 1 heroine for Ir400,000gns at Goffs two weeks ago.

And were it not for a fractured pedal-bone which she suffered as a foal, Alborada would also have been consigned to the sales, despite being hailed by Rausing as "special from the word go".

Not just special, but brave and talented too, Alborada's neck victory coming after a final furlong of suspense, with the runner-up Insatiable gnawing away at her lead throughout. The 6-5 favourite Daylami, by contrast, could never produce a decisive challenge and finished third, two lengths behind the front two and a length ahead of Mutamam. Frankie Dettori had been the first jockey in trouble on Daylami and reported: "He had no punch today."

The stress of the finish was summed up by Prescott when he said afterwards: "You spend a lifetime watching races like this and wishing you could have a runner that good; and when you do it kills you."

But the trainer's delight at landing the second Group 1 winner of his career, and the first on his home patch, was evident as he was swamped by well-wishers, among them John Dunlop and Sir Michael Stoute, who trains Insatiable.

"This is great, a wonderful day," Prescott added. "George [Duffield] has not made a mistake on her all year and has ridden her perfectly."

Having challenged the pacemaker Happy Valentine with about three furlongs to go, Duffield admitted to sharing Prescott's concern at the finish. "I could see the other one [Insatiable] creep up the rails. I thought `she's been in front plenty long enough'," he said. "In a race of that calibre it's asking a lot to be there that long."

Prescott also trained Alborada's three-parts sister Last Second, but believes Saturday's winner is a tougher filly.

"I always thought Last Second had more brilliance but was fragile, and she didn't train on as a four-year-old," he said. "Alborada is possibly less brilliant but very tough."

A decision on whether Alborada stays in training at four will not be rushed. If she is to be retired, she could tackle either the Yellow Ribbon or the Matriarch Stakes in America next month. "If she's going to be trained at four, my advice would be to stop with her now," Prescott added.

Runner-up Insatiable is likely to go to stud at the end of the season, but could have one more run, in the Premio Roma on November 8.

"Soft ground over there would not be a problem," Stoute said.

The trainer felt that "in another few strides" Insatiable would have won, adding: "Second is not a good place to be in a race like this."

Peslier said: "He got a crack over the head from another rider's whip and that distracted him a little. But he ran on well and it didn't cost him the race. He won a Group 2 in France last time and has shown he is still improving by running on so well."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 19, 1998
Words:554
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