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York - Lonsdale Stakes: Local crowd cheer `home win' of Leger hero Eric.

Byline: Tony Elves

THERE is nothing a Yorkshire crowd enjoys more than welcoming back a home-grown winner, and victory for Bollin Eric

in the Listed Lonsdale Stakes yesterday was just what the doctor ordered for the local hero, writes Tony Elves.

Hats had been tossed in the air when the Sir Neil Westbrook-owned colt had provided a first

Yorkshire-trained victory in the St Leger since Peleid

29 years earlier last September, but the burden of that Group 1 penalty had proved a stopping block in Bollin Eric's assignments this season.

The first test at two miles looked a tough one indeed with the warrior Persian Punch back in the ring to bear his soul once more and the proven stayers Cover Up, Jardines Lookout and last year's winner Boreas in opposition, but the 7-4 favourite was in the mood to pin his rivals firmly to the ropes.

In his inimitable style, Persian Punch was soon cutting out the running with Jardines Lookout taking a close hand and Cover Up not far away.

Kevin Darley was quite content to sit out the early jabbing with Bollin Eric and, entering the straight, Jardines Lookout swung wide under Darryll Holland in company with Zindabad and Keith Dalgleish to avoid getting into a scrap with the leader. At the same time, Cover Up was mounting his challenge to Persian Punch and, as a gap developed, Darley was able to inch Bollin Eric closer to the action.

Zindabad had taken the lead over two furlongs out but by this stage Bollin Eric was coasting over his rivals and, when pushed into the lead over a furlong out, the son of Shaamit soon asserted as he galloped on for a two-length success from Cover Up.

A clearly delighted Tim Easterby said: "I have been dying to run him over two miles and the Irish St Leger [at The Curragh on September 13] will be next if we can get him there in one piece. He's been running fantastic and deserved this - I couldn't be happier."

Easterby added: "If things went right for him in the Irish St Leger we might send him back over a mile and a half in the Arc. He's not just a stayer and good horses go on any ground."

Keith Dalgleish was adjudged to have used his whip with excessive force and above shoulder height on Zindabad, and the

young jockey was suspended for two days, August 28 and 29.

race result

Lonsdale Stakes

1 Bollin Eric 7-4f

2 Cover Up 15-2

3 Zindabad 11-1

Owner: Sir Neil Westbrook

Trainer: Tim Easterby

Jockey: Kevin Darley

Groom: Mick Johnson

Distances: 2l, sh

What they said

Kevin Darley, rider of Bollin Eric

"It's nice for him to get his head back in front - he has been blighted by his Group 1 penalty but has run some brilliant races all year"

Jeff Smith, owner of Persian Punch

"We accept winning and losing as part of the sport. The way the race was run, given the turn of foot of some of the others, it wasn't his day today.

"The circus will move on to the Doncaster Cup. It's an extra two furlongs and more of a grinding-out racecourse, which should suit him very well. We now look forward to that"

Mark Johnston, trainer of Zindabad

"He seemed to get the trip all right but he is just not running to his best"


Bollin Eric beats Zindabad (second right) and Cover Up (right) on his first start over two miles EDWARD WHITAKER
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2003
Previous Article:Back in The Routine; Back in the old routine.
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