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Newcastle: Tonic for Clarke as Barton looks special.

Byline: Tom O'Ryan

SIR STANLEY CLARKE, who has not enjoyed the best of health this year, received the perfect tonic when his top-class chasing prospect Barton opened his account over fences at the second attempt with a breathtaking display, writes Tom O'Ryan.

The 2-7 chance, middle leg of a treble for trainer Tim Easterby, had little to beat in the two-and-a-half-mile novice chase, but was soon in splendid isolation out in front. He barely put a foot wrong as he breezed home by 20 lengths.

Clarke, chairman of the course, led Barton into the winner's enclosure and referred to his illness by saying he had "been to hell and back". However, he was keen to savour the moment of victory.

He added: "I'm delighted. I'm doing well now and it's great to be back here to lead him in. He loved it out in front and is learning his trade gradually."

Tony Dobbin expressed his delight in Barton, who had been beaten at odds-on over an inadequate two miles on his chasing debut at Wetherby. The jockey said: "That was more like it. He picked up when I wanted and put down when I wanted. I couldn't be more pleased."

Easterby, who has no immediate plans for the eight-year-old, said: "He's a natural. We could come back here next month for the Dipper Novices' Chase. These novices need plenty of practice before they go for a big one, but one thing's for sure, we'll be keeping plenty in reserve for March."

ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE

Coral: 5 Japhet, 10 Colonel Braxton, Monsignor, Valley Henry, 12 Direct Access, Southern Star, 14 Bounce Back, Gola Cher, Le Coudray, Mister Banjo, 16 Barton, Be My Royal, 20 bar.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2001
Words:284
Previous Article:Newcastle: Garritty back with a Magic effort.
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