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Veteran jockey in thrilling four-timer.

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

Age is no barrier, even in the intense heat, as weighing room veteran George Duffield showed when shining in the summer sunshine at Newcastle yesterday.

Duffield, 56, the oldest jockey still riding in Britain, completed a 30-1 four-timer on Red Sovereign, Major Danger, One Off and Introducing.

Ironically, the only horse he was beaten on was Give Him Credit, trained by his wife Ann, in the BBC Radio Newcastle Handicap.

Duffield, who last had four winners at two different meetings at Brighton and Yarmouth last season, kicked off with a victory on Red Sovereign in the Saltwell Signs Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

Ian Wood's Lambourn raider made all the running on the far side and kept on well to beat Distant Times by a couple of lengths. Redwood Rocks came out best of those racing next to the stands rail but was only third.

Major Danger, sporting blinkers for the first time after failing narrowly at Ayr on his previous start, stepped up on that promising effort with a convincing three lengths verdict over Little Jimbob in the Nursery.

Although drawn high, Duffield knew from the first race that the place to be was on the far rail and he he didn't waste any time in darting him across. He gave the winner a positive ride unlike Paul Fessey on the runner-up.

Major Danger is trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who completed a double, with the help of Duffield, when One Off stretched his unbeaten run to five in the Gosforth Decorating And Building Services Handicap.

Duffield had to work hard on Introducing before the filly got the better of market rival Ijtihad by three parts of a length in the Carshow Is This Weekend Maiden Stakes.

Buckets of water were at the ready for the equine performers but, despite his exertions, a supremely-fit Duffield walked away from the action looking cool.

The sequence of winning favourites continued when Octane took the Alan Lavelle Memorial Apprentice Selling Stakes, but those who laid the odds were made to sweat.

Mark Flynn settled Octane at the back of the field and, when he took him to the outside to deliver his challenge, the response wasn't immediate.

He wasn't making much impression on the leaders until a late surge saw him collar Paddy Mul on the line.

The front-running Dame de Noche, winner of a valuable handicap at Goodwood last week, didn't get her own way in the BBC Radio Newcastle Handicap and dropped right of contention to finish eighth. King Harson, running freely in a visor fitted for the first time since his juvenile days, kept the favourite company before setting sail for home and comfortably disposing of Bandos.

Winning trainer James Bethell reflected: "He's a bit keen in the headgear but it worked and he certainly took the wind out of the sails of the favourite.

"He was a decent two-year-old but kept finishing second last year and the handicapper wouldn't let go. Thankfully, he has relented this season."
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2003
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