Paradias did us so proud in that hot handicap at York

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August 28

Hopes of a York celebration at last week’s Ebor meeting sadly did not materialise, though Paradias ran an absolute blinder in the big mile and a half handicap on Friday.

Rossa Ryan set ‘catch me if you can’ tactics, and at the two-furlong-pole there were plenty of Barbury voices at full cry, with Paradias having the majority of the chasing pack at full stretch.

However, the cavalry swooped in the final 200 yards, though it was only in the last half-furlong that Paradias, still bravely hanging on to second place, was swallowed up, and he eventually crossed the line in fifth, beaten only three lengths. It was a herculean effort, and clearly there is a big handicap awaiting Paradias in the not too distant future.

HMS President has been a credit to the Henry Ponsonby syndicate these last four years, but, being hiked up 5lb for his courageous effort at Royal Ascot, where he was runner-up in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap, was a hard pill to swallow.

He ran in the Ebor off his highest handicap mark ever on Saturday, and Rossa Ryan did not punish him unduly when he could see he was fighting a lost cause early in the straight. HMS President will surely win more races for his enthusiastic owners.

Meanwhile, we look to Kempton’s polytrack meeting on Wednesday to finish August with a flourish, and our two runners, Haughty and Zodiac Star, would both have a squeak.

Haughty, who was knocking on the door last summer, won her first race for her owner-breeder, Robin Mathew, when winning at Salisbury a fortnight ago, and the filly is only 3lb higher in the London Gold Cup qualifier on the Sunbury course.

Cheekpieces were applied for the first time at Kempton, and the headgear will again be in evidence on Wednesday. Haughty does move up a grade, but returning to a mile looked to suit her last time, so with Rossa Ryan again in the saddle hopes are high on what will only be her second outing on the all-weather.

Rossa is also aboard Zodiac Star in the middle-distance qualifier. Zodiac Star ran creditably on his return after being gelded at Windsor two months ago, and it is hoped that stepping up in trip with a first-time hood might do the trick for this lightly-raced performer, who ran two promising races on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last year.