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Rolling back the years: Lewis bows out in style on Double Form.

Byline: Rodney Masters

Vernons Sprint Cup

1 Double Form 11-4

2 Ahonoora 5-2f

3 Devon Ditty 8-1

Distances: 3l, hd

Owner: Baroness H Thyssen

Trainer: R F Johnson Houghton

Jockey: G Lewis

Also ran: Absalom (4th),

Greenland Park, Miami Springs, King Of Spain

DOUBLE FORM ran out the impressive winner of the Vernons Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday when Geoff Lewis made a brief comeback to end his career on a winning note.

However, John Reid will partner Double Form when he seeks glory in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on October 7, just as he did when the colt was third to Sigy in the Paris race last year.

Lewis Makes Comeback

Lewis was persuaded by Fulke Johnson Houghton on Thursday to take this one last ride when Edward Hide was claimed to ride Laska Floko at Kempton.

Eleven days earlier, at Epsom, Lewis was beaten a head on Varuna and that was expected to be his last mount.

Asked if he would be riding again, Lewis said: "No I don't think there will be another one but they talked me into it this time. It was well worth it - it's wonderful to go out on a winner in a big race like this."

He added: "Before deciding to ride Double Form, I asked permission from the Epsom authority. After the presentation and great reception they gave me at Epsom I thought it only courteous to ask them if they would mind me taking this one ride. They readily gave their blessing."

Lewis, who will be 44 on December 21 and expects to train some jumpers this winter, sent Double Form ahead before halfway from the fast-starting Ahonoora. The combination drew three lengths clear of that rival at the line.

Staying On

Third, a head behind but staying on, was Devon Ditty, but last year's winner Absalom did not find the ground soft enough and was a length and a half back in fourth.

Absalom's swift move over to the stands' rails entering the straight sparked a stewards' inquiry. The grey appeared to hamper the chances of Greenland Park (fifth) and the Irish-trained Miami Springs (sixth).

But the stewards surprisingly judged that there was no serious interference and the placings were unchanged.

Johnson Houghton, at Kempton to witness the defeat of Ile de Bourbon, was represented by

David Arbuthnot, who said:

"Double Form has never won so easily as he did today.

"We were a bit worried about the end here and didn't want the ground too soft."

Owner Baroness Denise Thyssen was ecstatic after flying in from Switzerland to see her four-year-old triumph.

"He's the best horse I have had and this is my biggest prize.

"I haven't decided whether he will stay in training next year but I think he will stand in England when he goes to stud," she said.


Double Form and Geoff Lewis land the Vernons Sprint Cup, beating favourite Ahonoora by three lengths
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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:Sep 8, 2002
Previous Article:Betting Bureau: El Viejo looks class above opposition.
Next Article:Rolling back the years: Where are they now? ...Geoff Lewis.

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