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Doncaster: Blinkered Enzeli shows no lack of zeal for the battle.

ENZELI emphatically quashed the notion that blinkers are a symbol of reluctance in racehorses with a battling victory in the Group 2 Great North Eastern Railway Doncaster Cup at the Yorkshire course yesterday, writes Richard Griffiths.

This was Enzeli's first run for 77 days, since he finished eighth in the Ascot Gold Cup, and trainer John Oxx had feared that the five-year-old, equipped with blinkers for the first time, would need the run.

But Oxx had no cause for concern in the end. Enzeli took the lead with two furlongs to go and, although headed with a furlong to go by Churlish Charm, edged his way back in front on the line to score by a neck from Richard Hannon's runner.

The front two pulled three lengths clear of the third, Persian Punch, who held off Rainbow High by a short head.

Enzeli's victory continued jockey Johnny Murtagh's fine run in Britain this season and gave him a double of just over 18-1, following his earlier Rothmans Royals May Hill Stakes victory on Karasta.

Both horses are owned and bred by the Aga Khan, whose racing manager Pat Downes said: "John Oxx felt that, because Enzeli missed Goodwood with a stone bruise, he might have needed the race here.

"I thought he might get a bit tired in the closing stages, but he travelled really well and kept on."

Downes added that Enzeli had worn blinkers after working well in them recently because "we felt they could help him concentrate. He's five now and just getting a bit wise."

He continued: "The idea now is to run him in the Prix du Cadran, ground permitting-he wouldn't want to get his toe in too far. He's in the Melbourne Cup and it's possible to run in both, but the Cadran is the target and we'll think about Melbourne after that."

There is a strong chance that yesterday's first three home will meet in the Cadran on Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe day, October 1.

Hannon confirmed that Churlish Charm would "go to France now," adding: "The plan is to stay in training next year, when he'll be a Cup horse again.

"He's a very good horse and has run a cracking race today. It's annoying just to get beat like that. John Reid said he hit the front a bit too soon and wandered a little."

The Melbourne Cup is unlikely to feature on the agenda for the Jeff Smith-owned Persian Punch, according to trainer David Elsworth.

"His owner is not very keen on going and I imagine Persian Punch will go for the Cadran," said Elsworth. "He also could go for the Irish St Leger."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Griffiths, Richard
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2000
Words:445
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