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Evening proves eventful one for Fairley; CATTERICK Friday.

Byline: Tom O'Ryan

IT WAS an up-and-down evening for Greg Fairley. On the mark aboard the Mark Johnston-trained Iron Velvet in the nursery, he also received a two-day ban for careless riding on stablemate Akbabend, who was disqualified after passing the post a nose in front of the odds-on Ascendant in the 1m4f maiden.

The two principals, who had engaged in a surprising dingdong battle virtually from the start, were soon a long way clear. Inside the last two furlongs, Fairley, with his whip in his right hand, allowed his mount to drift on to the rails, taking the ground of Ascendant, whose rider, Pat Cosgrave was forced to take evasive action. Under strong pressure, Ascendant, after being switched wide, stayed on gallantly to be denied only in a bobbing finish.

The stewards deemed that the result had been affected by the interference and awarded the race to Ascendant, trained by Sir Mark Prescott for Cheveley Park Stud, and gave Fairley a two-day suspension (August 28-29) for failing to take sufficient steps to prevent the interference occurring.

Jock Bennett, Johnston's assistant, was reluctant to pass an opinion on the disqualification. "I haven't seen the head-on recording, so I can't really comment," he said.

Bennett was pleased with Iron Velvet's winning effort. "He was a bit disappointing last time at York, but we changed a couple of things tonight, including saddling him in the stables, as he's a bit buzzy. He's done it nicely and will hopefully go on from here."

Sam Hitchcott's nightmare journey to the course from his Lambourn base took him more than four hours. Thankfully, he enjoyed a more straightforward time aboard Gold Fix in the juvenile seller. Mick Channon's filly justified favouritism in cosy style and was retained without a bid.

Katie Cooper, who won the Queen Mother's Cup at York in the summer, doubled her tally of winners when she conjured a renewed effort from Inspector Clouseau to pip the favourite Trip The Light in the 1m4f amateur riders' handicap. The winner is trained by Cooper's boss, Tom Tate and was his only runner on the card.

Silvanus is something of a law unto himself, but the Ian Semple-trained sprinter came good under a fine ride from Patrick Donaghy in the 5f claimer, which saw the long odds-on Tournedos finish only fourth of the five runners.

Kelly Harrison, whose mount in the claimer, Red Cell, was withdrawn at the start after almost knocking a tooth completely out, turned out half an hour later and got Nufoudh home by the skin of his teeth in the 7f handicap. Harrison, riding at the top of her form, got the Tracy Waggott-trained five-year-old into top gear inside the last to nail the one-eyed Sea Salt in the final stride.

Star performance Pip Tutty, who performed a miracle in remaining on board Hurricane Thomas after her unplaced mount almost slipped up on the paddock turn in the amateur riders' handicap, leaving his pilot with both legs on one side for at least three or four strides. She should have got a medal
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 16, 2009
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