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Improving Loder colt the value choice to land spoils.

Byline: James Willoughby

UNLESS it's to record A Question Of Sport, what other intention had Frankie Dettori for his return to Britain than to steer Parasol to victory in the Bet Direct Winter Derby? The David Loder-trained colt looked to have improved physically before beating Adiemus by two and a half lengths over course and distance three weeks ago, and he surely has a sound chance of landing today's main event at Lingfield.

Adiemus will have plenty of supporters on 9lb better terms, especially as many thought Kieren Fallon stole the race on Parasol last time. That's a logical argument, but bookmakers have surely overreacted by making Parasol as long as 11-2, with Adiemus on offer at only around half that price.

With his stablemate Shami to make the pace, there is every chance that Parasol will have the race run to suit again. Sure, it's a more competitive race this time, but remember that Parasol was a classier horse than any of these earlier in his career, and that Loder has reportedly been happy with his progress since taking over the training of the imposing Halling colt.

Kirovski is a worthy favourite, having given 5lb and a narrow beating to third-placed Adiemus when winning a handicap over course and distance in January. Trainer Peter Harris has deliberately saved him for this contest in view of the gelding's fine record when fresh, and the presence of Eddie Ahern in the saddle is a huge plus. Moreover, Kirovski's wide draw gives the jockey the perfect chance to deliver his trademark `track and attack' ride without fear of being blocked.

The defending champion, Adiemus, has also enjoyed a perfect preparation under the shrewd guidance of trainer Jeremy Noseda. Don't forget, however, that he has been beaten by both of his main rivals this winter and ducked left under pressure when Parasol turned the screw on him.

In a fascinating race, there are also possibilities about the progressive Norton. Terry Mills, whose stable enjoyed a winner at the track yesterday, has few peers when it comes to getting a horse to fire its best shot first up on Polytrack, and there is little to choose between Norton and Kirovski on York running in August.

Fellow Polytrack debutant Bourgainville would be more difficult to fancy, were it not for the remarkable record of his sire Pivotal, whose offspring seem to make relentless improvement with age. Throw into the mix the Cambridgeshire third Goblet Of Fire, David Elsworth's Pawn Broker and Fallon's mount Compton Bolter, and the competitive nature of this contest is clear.

The pick of the prices is Parasol, but this game is not just about winning money and I will be shouting for Kirovski, whose enthusiastic part-owner David Gregory is recovering from a recent heart operation. For his sake and plenty of others, perhaps it is best not to play it too cool, Eddie.


James Willoughby expects recent form to be upheld in a cracking contest
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2003
Previous Article:Frankie has a strong hand for World Cup with star trio.
Next Article:Parasol the highlight of Dettori's flying visit.

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