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RACING: HAIL SEPTIMUS.

Byline: By Garry Owen

AIDAN O'BRIEN breezes into Donny today with more colts in the Racing Post Trophy than WyattEarp'sfamilyhadattheOKCorral. However, Septimus looks a cut above the rest and some shrewd judges have been emptying their pockets at big prices this week for next year's Derby.

Septimus was tickled at on his debut (10-1 from 20's when he turned over his morefanciedstablemate Arabian Prince over seven furlongs at Leopardstown last month.

He stepped up on that effort when picking up the Group2Beresford Stakes over a mile at the Curragh where he stuck to his guns well when the heat was turned up.

King Kieren didn't exactly cover himself in glory last Saturday and an impressive victory on this progressive son of Sadler's Wells can help ease the bankbook pain.

The big danger to Septimus is Mark Johnston's Winged Cupid who is now reported to be back to full fitness.

The unbeaten juvenile developed a foot abscess last weekend but has recovered from that setback to take his place in the Group One contest. The Middleham handler said: "Everything's fine for him now and there's no reason to think he won't run a good race.

"He had a bit of a hiccup last weekend but he's over that now and has been cantering at home and going well."

Winged Cupid's two victories have come on fast ground but Johnston is hopeful his charge will handle the soft ground at Doncaster today.

At Aintree, Paul Nicholls looks to have a smart recruit to the hurdling scene in Vale

De Lobo (1.10). Useful on the Flat when trained by Willie Haggas, she hacked up by eight lengths at Chepstow on her debut. Suited by cut, there's plenty more to come from this juvenile.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' Baby Run (1.40) looked a decent novice hurdler last year, notably when chasing home Marcel at Cheltenham in November and his trainer harbours dreams he could be an Arkle horse.

A cracked bone kept him out for much of last season but he's reported back in good health and apparently schooled superbly well over fences.

At Chepstow, Martin Pipe saddles Inch Pride (1.55) for the valuable Silver Trophy.

Pipey plunders this type of event on a regular basis and Inch Pride could be another to make the handicapper wish he'd stood in the Tory leadership contest.

The Godolphin team can have punters begging for more if Dickensian (2.05) scoops the opener.

He could have won with John McCririck on his back at Leicester last time and can register some black type here.

Tim Easterby's Kentucky Blue (2.10) has top weight to shoulder but may not be too badly treated looking at his Victor Ludorum fourth to King Revo in soft ground at Haydock last season.

He had a couple of pipe openers on the Flat last month and a sighter behind Crathorne at Wetherby last will have put him just right.

James Fanshawe's Polar Ben (2.20) takes a big drop in class here and can open his account for the season.

The six-year-old has been a model of consistency all season and ran the useful Rob Roy to a length and a half at Newmarket last month.

How many old tars will be knocking back their tots of rum and lumping on Trafalgar Bay (2.40) in Newbury's nursery?

Not disgraced behind Winged Cupid over a mile at Newbury last month, six furlongs could be plain sailing for this son of Fruits Of Love.

Walter Swinburn's Fairmile (2.55) can continue to improve and the lightly-raced gelding should land the hat-trick under Jamie Spencer.

The son of Spectrum had more in hand than the neck margin of his Windsor victory suggests.

John Berry steps Benedict (3.10) up in trip and the hint should be taken.

The three-year-old has been campaigned over a mile and the son of Benny The Dip has been in great form. He'll also enjoy any cut at the Berkshire track.

Mubtaker won't lack support round his beloved Newbury but I feel connections have gone to the well too often with their grand old servant.

This is the time of year to be betting improving three-year-olds and John Dunlop's Munsef (3.45) fits the bill in the St Simon Stakes.

He was badly jarred up when winning the King George V Handicap at Royal York but bounced back in fine style to beat Defining at Newmarket on good to soft ground

CAPTION(S):

THE OLD O'BRIEN ONE; TWO: Septimus leads home stablemate Arabian Prince on his debut at Leopardstown last month; HARDLY A DEFINING MOMENT: Munsef and Richard Hills (right) outbattle Defining at HQ
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 22, 2005
Words:776
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