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Redcar: Somnus scoops more big money to pass the pounds 250,000 mark.

Byline: Tom O'Ryan

Somnus hit the jackpot at Doncaster last month and he did it again when clinching the Betabet Two-Year-Old Trophy - the richest race of the day - in thrilling style in the hands of Ted Durcan, writes Tom O'Ryan.

The Tim Easterby-trained juvenile, for whom the fast ground had been a concern all week, gamely prevailed by a head from Tout Seul, with the favourite Monsieur Bond a length and a half further back in third place.

The victory enabled Somnus to become one of the biggest money-earners of the season. In picking up a first prize of pounds 97,585 - pounds 27,000 more than the Cambridgeshire and pounds 10,000 more than that won by Airwave in the previous day's Cheveley Park Stakes - the Pivotal gelding boosted his earnings to more than pounds 250,000, with over half of that gigantic purse being bagged in last month's St Leger Yearling Stakes at Doncaster. Not bad for a horse who was bought back at the sales as a yearling for 13,500gns!

Lady Caroline Legard, who bred Somnus and now owns him in partnership with Sir Tatton Sykes of the Sledmere Stud and Roger Sidebottom, could hardly believe her double dose of good fortune.

She said: "I just feel so lucky to have such a good horse and such a tough one. Unfortunately his dam died last year, so he's the last one out of her, but we do have her half-sister, Pasithea."

Lady Legard had been worried about running Somnus, now the winner of four of his five races, on firm ground. But Tim Easterby, while sharing her fears, admitted that he was never too close to withdrawing the horse, and joked that the pounds 100,000 at stake was a major incentive.

Easterby said: "My father must have fancied him because he came and walked the course on Thursday, something he hadn't done since the Sea Pigeon days.

"I walked it again before racing today and made sure I had a sharp stick to convince myself and Lady Legard that it was okay.

"Seriously, though, he doesn't like it this firm, and to overcome that and still win he's got to be a good horse."

The Easterby prize-money coffers - also boosted by the St Leger victory of Bollin Eric - now stand at more than pounds 1.2 million.

It was the trainer's second victory in the race following Pipalong in 1998.

Easterby added: "I don't know whether he'll run again this season. We'll have to have a look at what's left for him - there might even be something in France."

Tout Seul, winner of a valuable sales race at The Curragh last time, ran a blinder in just missing out on another bumper payday, while Monsieur Bond, runner-up in the Mill Reef Stakes last month, was finishing behind Somnus for the third time.


Somnus makes the best of the way home next to the rail to win the big juvenile prize ALEC RUSSELL
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2002
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