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York: Russian Rhythm hits Classic trail in style with Lowther win.

Byline: RODNEY MASTERS

RUSSIAN RHYTHM is as low as 5-2 for next year's Sagitta 1,000 Guineas after she produced a stunning performance at York yesterday, overcoming tactical misadventures that would have scuppered most racehorses.

Sir Michael Stoute's filly, 5-2 (from 6) with the Tote for the Guineas, is a top-priced 9-2 (from 7) with Paddy Power. She is 7-2 (from 7) with William Hill.

Word sweeping across York before racing yesterday was that a dynamic performance was expected from Russian Rhythm, but she had to overcome an obstacle course

before delivering in the expected style.

The Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly had the class to win the Group 2 Peugeot Lowther Stakes twice over, having lost momentum and - to most onlookers - the race, when she was squeezed almost to a stop as Kieren Fallon went for a do-or-die gap between Wunders Dream and the far rail two furlongs from home.

Stoute and Fallon later admitted they reckoned all was lost at that point but Russian Rhythm is something special and what happened next as she got her jockey out of trouble is why she is as short as she is for a race not run until next spring. When the Lowther was won in style last year by Queen's Logic she traded freely at 14-1 for the Guineas.

Switching around both Wunders Dream and market rival Romantic Liason, the odds-on favourite quickened again to hit the front with 100 yards to run, winning by a length and a quarter from Ireland's Danaskaya, with Romantic

Liason a neck back in third.

"Not many horses could have done that," was the instant reaction from Stoute. "I thought her race was over after that incident but this filly had both the guts and the acceleration to overcome the problem. She's a class act. It's difficult to compare her with fillies of previous generations, but she was good at Ascot, and looked very good indeed today."

The drama happened when leader Wunders Dream hung left towards the rails, blocking the favourite's path. The diversion earned her jockey, Michael Fenton, a four-day suspension (August 31, September 2-4) for careless riding.

Fallon said: "I saw Wunders Dream

going left, but I didn't think for a

second that she'd keep going right over to the rail. Frankie [Dettori] then moved up to keep me in the pocket and there was no alternative but to switch.

"It was a big question to ask of our

filly, but she answered in brilliant style, and with her ears pricked. She has everything you look for in a filly, including the perfect temperament. I've loved her since I first sat on her in March."

Asked if he thought the daughter of Kingmambo and a Nijinsky mare would stay a mile next year, he left no one in doubt. "I couldn't see that being a problem, even now," he said.

Predictably, the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes is the next test awaiting

her, and she is likely to face a rematch there with the second and third.

The Jim Bogler-trained Danaskaya

belied her odds in finishing second, and John O'Connor, representing her owners, Ballylinch Stud, said: "Our filly has run most creditably, and will probably go to Newmarket."

Brian Meehan, giving Romantic

Liason her first run for Sheikh Mohammed, reckoned this was one of the classiest Lowthers for some years.

"I'm not disappointed that we've been beaten and she most certainly hasn't been disgraced," he said.

"Our filly continues to improve and we were just a shot off the winner. I'd like to take the winner on again at Newmarket, but we'll see what the owner wants to do."

Kevin Manning, rider of the runner-up, was suspended for two days (Aug 31, Sept 2) for careless riding.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2002
Words:625
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