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Huntingdon: Williams steps up ladder at double.

Byline: Bruce Jackson

EVAN WILLIAMS continued his rapid rise up the jumping ladder with a double from Mr Nemo and Sparkling Spring, both ridden by Christian Williams, to take his second-season score to 21 from his base at Llancarfan in Wales.

The former champion point-to-point trainer is ambitious about making his mark with a stable strength of 40 this season, and he said: 'I have expanded pretty rapidly, much more than I thought I would have to. I have a new all-weather gallop, and a swimming pool is going in.'

Mr Nemo raised a few eyebrows, having been pulled out on a vet's certificate from his Market Rasen engagement the previous day, but he did not need to be at his best as the three-mile novices' chase was handed to him when the odds-on Golden Rambler fell at the second after Mr Nemo edged across him as he led.

That prompted Williams to say: 'It is better to be born lucky than rich. I know what people will be saying, but he had a foot infection yesterday. We came on here and the course vet passed him, but I would have preferred to run for pounds 20,000 yesterday than this prize.'

The two Williamses, not related, completed their double when 13-year-old Sparkling Spring outstayed his rivals in the three-mile handicap chase, beating the year-younger Gatorade by six lengths.

Peccadillo set a course record for the extended two and a half miles when he won the handicap chase for the second time in three years, having finished second last year.

The ten-year-old got trainer Robert Alner off the mark for the season after Andrew Thornton, back from a holiday cruise and getting engaged, was able to stalk Tony McCoy on Palua before picking up his moment to cruise ahead.

McCoy proved there were no ill-effects after his fall from Golden Rambler when he galvanised Wilfred to hold Moorlaw in a stirring finish to the juvenile hurdle.

Atticus Finch wore down game front-runner New Perk in the handicap hurdle over three miles and two furlongs to start as a winner with trainer Geoff Harker, although his former handler and owner Maxine Stirk led him round. Harker said: 'Maxine only trains one other horse and it has helped Atticus Finch being around more horses.'

Hernandita responded to a more positive ride from the front in the opening handicap hurdle to foil Stage By Stage's bid for a five-timer, although the Emma Lavelle-trained winner had to rally from the second-last under Jimmy McCarthy to record her first win for new connections.

Connections of Miaheyyun, who was down in the morning papers as a doubtful runner in the last race unless there was rain, picked up pounds 225 in fines after failing to travel to the course. They were fined the pounds 125 fixed penalty and pounds 120 for failing to notify the stewards of the non-runner and the reason.

Star performer

Peccadillo, course-record run in the race he has now won twice and finished second in over the last three years

Stewards' inquiry

The Mascot Grand National, in which more than three-quarters of the field were 'not off' as they enjoyed the occasion rather than sought personal bests for the furlong dash, unlike the lightly clad and gambled-on winner

Quote of the day

'I don't walk that far on my holidays' - Totesport rep Gary Wiltshire after returning sweating from starting the Mascot Grand National
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2004
Words:571
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