Horse Racing: Third time lucky for Sabirli as British raiders are left playing supporting roles; REPORT: TURKEY Topkapi Trophy & Bosphorus Cup Veliefendi 1m & 1m4f.
BRITISH hopes of a big payday were thwarted in two extremely valuable international races at Veliefendi, Istanbul, yesterday, although Michael Jarvis's Pressing and the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Laverock filled the places behind German raider Bussoni in the Bosphorus Cup, writes Alistair Donald.
In the feature event, the Topkapi Trophy, only Laverock's stablemate Caradak finished in the money, taking fourth as old stagers Sabirli and Ribella completed a 1-2 for the home team.
Caradak was sent off favourite for the Topkapi Trophy, which boasts a remarkable first prize of pounds 306,122, but he had trouble finding a clear run early in the straight and, after looking like he might be involved in the finish a furlong out, his run flattened out and he was beaten by two lengths.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was phlegmatic afterwards, saying: "It was a solid effort. He was a bit tight for room entering the straight, but picked up well when he got clear."
Andrew Balding's Banknote was given a positive ride by Francis Norton, hitting the front before the furlong pole, but he was caught by Sabirli and Ribella with 150 yards to run and ended up losing out on both third and fourth places in the last few strides.
"He ran a good race and I have no excuses," Norton said. "I am just very disappointed he was run out of the money at the end."
The Stan Moore-trained Traffic Guard dropped away in the last furlong to finish eighth, two places ahead of Mark Johnston's Dubai's Touch.
The winner, Sabirli, is a six-year-old and was fourth (in 2006) and second (in 2004) in two previous tries in this race. Like the runner-up, Ribella, he has proved in Dubai that he can mix it with horses from traditional racing nations, winning a handicap there in February 2006.
In the pounds 204,082 Bosphorus Cup, the Hans Blume-trained Bussoni benefited from a well-judged front-running ride from Andreas Suborics, enjoying an uncontested lead and then pulling away when the British raiders challenged a furlong out. The winning margin was two lengths, with Pressing holding Laverock by half a length for second.
Suborics said: "I was able to get an easy lead and really control the race. I knew Bussoni would stay, and when the others came to me I had kept a bit up my sleeve and he found more."
Neil Callan, who rode Pressing, said: "He's been running at a mile and a quarter and this mile and a half just found him out - he's probably an 1m3f horse. He needs to be held up and I've no complaints, he just got a bit tired in the closing stages."
McEvoy, on Laverock, said: "He ran well but Bussoni stayed on very strongly."