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Johnston juveniles Licence To Till and Elation break the ice in promising style; LINGFIELD.

Byline: Graham Dench

MARK JOHNSTON sent two promising juveniles down to Lingfield, and both won their maidens in a style which suggests they will go on to better things next year.

Elation, fourth at Kempton on her debut, had a lot to live up to, as she is by Sea The Stars' sire Cape Cross and is the first foal of Johnston's dual 1,000 Guineas winner Attraction.

Carrying the same grey and green colours of Attraction's owner-breeder the Duke Of Roxburgh, she won well, by four and a half lengths, but Licence To Till, running for The Vine Accord, was even more impressive, breaking his duck at the fifth attempt by eight lengths in a time that was the equivalent of five lengths faster for the same 7f.

Jockey Joe Fanning was thrilled with both, and so was Johnston's wife Deirdre, who said: "Elation learned a lot first time out and her win brings back a lot of memories of Attraction.

"They are quite alike, particularly in their colouring, but this one has the better conformation and she has an engine, too. She fractured her right hind pastern on Grand National day and has two screws in it, but you'd never know to look at her.

"Licence To Till is a really gorgeouslooking horse and we were disappointed he hadn't won until now, but hopefully he's matured and strengthened and can go on from here."

Fanning, who rides front-runners especially well and has a fine record at Lingfield said: "I think Licence To Till has grown up, and he settled today and got the trip well. He's a big, strong colt and should go on as a three-year-old.

"Elation is a nice filly and she got the trip well, too. She might get further."

Ian McInnes reached a landmark when Only A Game beat The Name Is Frank in a division of the 6f handicap. He said: "That's my 100th winner - 99 on the Flat and one over jumps - since I started six years ago. This is a nice little horse and he runs well here."

Confidentiality will always have a special place in Nicky Mackay's affections, for he won five on the trot on her two years ago and was winning on her for the seventh time all told when she shortheaded luckless front-runner Mafeking in the 1m2f handicap.

It was the mare's first run back with Michael Wigham, who was saddling his 20th winner of the year, after another summer in Ireland.

Owner John Cullinan, who runs the Horse Park Stud at Wicklow in Ireland, said: "I keep taking her back to Ireland to try to win a nice pot, but the last three summers have been a washout, and she needs fast ground. Michael has done a great job with her."

Sircozy completed a hat-trick for the R Friends Electric syndicate in the concluding apprentice handicap.

Trainer Stuart Williams was back at Newmarket organising the staff Christmas party, but the improving three-year-old could turn out again without a penalty at Kempton on Monday.

Star performance Elation looked good, but Licence To Till looked even better Quote of the day "I've given up gambling" - Michael Wigham, with the straightest face he could manage as he explained Confidentiality's generous starting price of 12-1. She was only 5-1 in a place in the morning Which runner-up could be about to strike again soon? Results and analysis, page 83
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2009
Words:569
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