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Even Stevens keeps ball rolling for Dixon; Southwell.

Byline: Tom O'Ryan

IT PAYS to have a stalwart by your side when you're launching your career, as Scott Dixon knows only too well.

Less than a week after saddling his first winner and quickly following up with his second, he made it three courtesy of Even Stevens, who took his course tally to six wins from seven starts when blitzing home under Graham Gibbons in the 5f handicap.

Dixon, Britain's youngest trainer, was thrilled with the performance of the speedster, who was cheered home by his parents, Yvette and Paul, plus a whole heap of friends and supporters of the family's Retford yard.

Dixon snr, owner of the gelding, is currently on crutches, having undergone hip replacement surgery last week. "He moves a bit better than me at the moment," joked the owner, who added: "He loves this surface and is a good horse here."

His son has already pencilled in another target for Even Stevens. "He's won off 91 today, so he's going to run out of opportunities here soon, but there's a race here at the end of the month for him," said Dixon jnr, who is assisted by Gary Moss, the pair having worked closely together on some 50 winners for the last year when the Dixon stable was run as a satellite yard by David Nicholls.

Mataajir, under a 6lb penalty, completed a double for Gibbons in the concluding 1m handicap. Owned and trained by Derek Shaw, the four-year-old was completing a hat-trick of recent wins.

Sweet William Alan Swinbank took the honours with a double, courtesy of First Rock and William Haigh, who, landing his fourth win off the reel, lifted the feature race, the 1m handicap.

Gaining his third course success, William Haigh was given an excellent ride by Joe Fanning to beat Reve De Nuit, winner of the corresponding event for the last two years, by three-parts of a length. Owned by the Shropshire Wolves II, William Haigh is fast developing into a smart performer on the all-weather.

First Rock, owned by United Five Racing, was ridden to a half-length victory in the 1m4f handicap over Bow River Arch, by Swinbank's accomplished 5lb claimer Garry Whillans on his only mount on the card.

Here come the girls "Girl power!" said trainer Gay Kelleway after Amy Ryan had guided the long odds-on shot Kishanda to a seven-length success in the opening 1m3f maiden.

"That's two rides and two winners Amy's had for me; she rides really well," said Kelleway, who owns the four-year-old - now due to run at Ludlow on Thursday - with John Farley.

Laffan all the way Kevin Ryan, Amy's trainer-father, also got in on the act. After a bumper 2011 he wasted no time setting the scoreboard off again thanks to Laffan in the 6f handicap.

Partnered by stable jockey Phillip Makin, Laffan carried the colours of Mubarak Al Naimi to an all-theway success by a length and threequarters on his handicap debut and on his first attempt on an artificial surface.

Makin weighed in 3lb heavy and was given a three-day ban.

Making up for lost time Miss Cato, who failed to see a racecourse as a juvenile, wasted no time in setting the record straight on the day she became a three-year-old. The daughter of Notnowcato, trained by Rae Guest for Bertie Bennett, made a successful debut in the 1m seller under William Carson and was retained for 5,750gns.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 2, 2012
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