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Pocket Rocket had too much firepower for boys; HEROES OF YORK Lyric Fantasy (1992 Nunthorpe Stakes).

SHE was known as the Pocket Rocket, but in the summer of 1992 Lyric Fantasy was the biggest thing around. The flying two-year-old filly was unstoppable against her own kind, but thrashing one's peers is one thing, taking on your elders and betters is another.

Richard Hannon will tell you that the best horse he has trained is Canford Cliffs, but ask him who was the fastest and he'll say Lyric Fantasy or Mr Brooks - and in the Nunthorpe they went head to head in an exhilarating encounter.

The daughter of Tate Gallery - named after the Augustus John painting that hung there - went to York unbeaten in four starts. Lord Carnarvon's filly made hard work of winning at Windsor on her debut but then looked uncatchable as she moved through the ranks.

The National Stakes by six lengths, the Queen Mary by five, the Newbury Sales Super Sprint by six at odds of 2-5. It was all too easy. There seemed nothing more to gain at that level, so in a bold gesture she was sent to take on the best sprinters around in the Nunthorpe, her prospects enhanced by the colossal swing in the weights owing to weight-for-age and her filly allowance. On the day she carried 7st 8lb, poor pared-down Michael Roberts putting up a pound overweight. Not one of her ten rivals carried less than 9st.

Two-year-olds just didn't take on older horses in Group 1 company, fillies even less so. In the parade ring it was men against girls, the whippet-like Lyric Fantasy dwarfed by the musclebound older sprinters, and for the first couple of furlongs the filly was unable to exert her habitual dominance.

Roberts waited, knowing the depth of reserves he could call on. Two furlongs out he lit the blue touch-paper and the 'Rocket' headed for the stars. Mr Brooks threw down a sustained challenge but he was half a length adrift when the camera clicked.

"I can't believe she's just a two-year-old," said Roberts in the afterglow, history made, the little horse with the big talent on top of the world. Sadly, that's all Lyric Fantasy was.

Her potency waned from that point: runner-up over an unfamiliar extra furlong in the Cheveley Park Stakes to Sayyedati and sixth in the Guineas behind the same horse, before a Listed win marked the end of her effectiveness.

Lyric Fantasy was all two-yearold, the embodiment of precocious brilliance. At York we saw the very best of her.

Steve Dennis

CAPTION(S):

Lyric Fantasy and Michael Roberts after their historic success
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2011
Words:425
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