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ROW COMES TO BRILLIANT END.

Trainer Peter Hedger was in a bad mood when he set off for Newbury races - he had just had a row with his wife Laura.

But things soon brightened up and the pair looked the picture of marital bliss after Brilliant Red and Veronica Franco combined to give Hedger a 168-1 double.

"We were a bit short-staffed in the morning, and Laura said I had made more mess in half an hour than she could clear up in a week," laughed Hedger, who campaigns just six horses of his 20 on the Flat.

Brilliant Red's win in the pounds 75,000 Courage Handicap was the most valuable of Hedger's 13 years with a licence - his career as a jump jockey came to an end with a broken neck at Kempton in 1965.

Making full use of the drying conditions, Brilliant Red took up the running for Tony Clark just inside the final quarter mile and fended off a determined run by Mister Benjamin by a head, with a neck to Cardigan Bay.

Brilliant Red and Secret Spring will now head for the Cambridgeshire on October 3.

Half an hour later, Veronica Franco, also a 12-1 shot, took the Autumn Cup in emphatic fashion, taking up the running two out for 5lb claimer Paul Doe and crushing the John Dunlop-trained Pairumani Star by six lengths.

ASCOT'S Festival of racing next weekend is sure to produce some cracking competition.

There's everything from high-class Group contests to ultra-competitive handicaps spread over two days.

Highlight is Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes which could see the emergence of a genuine champion miler. Most likely candidate is Ian Balding's Dr Fong.

Sunday's feature is the Group 1 Fillies' Mile, and Henry Cecil looks set to win the race with Bionic.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Rockavon
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 20, 1998
Words:294
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