McCarthy breathes a sigh of relief


Adrian McCarthy, one of the apprentice finds of the season, was smiling in the rain as Oriel Star ended the jockey's longest losing run of the campaign in the Nags Head At Pickhill Auction Maiden at Ripon yesterday.

McCarthy (19) started 1998 with a bang with a winner on New Year's Day, and on August 7th took his score to 55 but had drawn a blank since then. It was, however, a desperately close call as he added to his tally, for the David Evans-trained Oriel Star had only a short head to spare over Tread Softly, the pair having raced on opposite sides of the course.

Damalis earned a step up in class again after gamely winning the Claro Conditions Stakes in the hands of Clare-born jockey Willie Supple. Her trainer Eric Alston explained: "She must have it soft, and the ground will decide where she goes next. The two possibilities are the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster or the Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr."

Bryan McMahon was another to end a quiet spell as Yeoman Oliver stayed on gamely for Richard Quinn to get back on the score sheet in the Deverell Claiming Stakes.

William Haggas is enjoying a change of fortune and was present to see Kevin Darley get Ticklish home in a good finish to the Sapper Nursery. The Newmarket trainer said: "The horses seem well and are running well, touch wood."

Pension Fund wore down Aim High in the final furlong to win the Tote Trifecta Handicap in the hands of Terry Lucas and winning training Mick Easterby's assistant Robin O'Ryan said: "He has schooled well over hurdles and will go jumping this winter - he could be very good."

Curragh trainer Dermot Weld, whose Vintage Crop is the only horse from the northern hemisphere to lift the Foster's Melbourne Cup, could run Stage Affair (8-7) or Gordi (8-0) in the November 4th race. Compatriot Aidan O'Brien has entered Chateau Royal and Theatreworld (both 7-13).