Potter's Bay should complete hat-trick


WITH a hat-trick on his own account beckoning, rely on Potter's Bay to complete a quick fire family double by landing the Bovis Lelliott Novices' Chase at Sandown today.

The David Nicholson-trained gelding is the elder brother of Leicester winner Potter's Gale and the husband and wife ownership team of James and Jean Potter are hopeful the seven-year-old can emulate his younger sibling.

Not that he has failed to give connections plenty of success already. Twice a winner over timber last season, the son of Strong Gale began his chasing career in positive fashion with a 100 per cent success rate from his two outings over the larger obstacles.

The first victory was perhaps the most impressive when in a novices' handicap chase at Wetherby at the beginning of last month he benefited from the patience of Adrian Maguire to beat Random Harvest.

Maguire was content to settle his partner at the back of the nine-runner field before pushing him to the front two out to deny Random Harvest by two lengths with the remainder well behind.

Similar tactics were employed two weeks later in a three-runner novices' chase at Cheltenham and although he was not so foot-sure over the stiffer Prestbury Park fences, Potter's Bay kept his unbeaten chasing record.

.Yearling entries for the 1998 Vodafone Derby have topped a healthy 548, despite the introduction of a supplementary stage for the first time one week before the race. Nominees for the Epsom Classic are just six fewer than at the same stage last year putting the course on target to achieving a £1 million Derby in 18 months time.

With recent trials for the big race producing at least one contender not engaged in the Derby, a £75,000 late entry stage was introduced for the 1998 race. But fears that the Maktoum family would by-pass the yearling stage and wait until they have a better idea of their classic strength have not been realised with the Arab owners submitting up to 150 entries.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum leads the field with 45 entries, Sheikh Mohammed a similar number but, for the first time, there are also 37 yearlings entered under the Godolphin banner.

The Aga Khan is also well represented with 39 yearling entries, Prince Khalid Abdulla has 20, Prince Fahd Salman 18.

There are also 18 entered iris the name of Mrs John Magnier, including the top priced yearling at the Tattersalls Houghton Sale by Kingmambo, and IS from Michael Tab or, including the two sale-toppers from the Goffs Orby Sale.

. Darryll Holland notched a 5,615 to 1 four-timer at Lingfield yesterday before jetting off for a holiday in Gran Canaria. The jockey's quartet at the Surrey course consisted of Bon Secret (12 to 1), Cee-N-K (5 to 1), Wottashambles (11 to 1) and Greatest (5 to 1).

. Four rides for four different trainers and four winners - that was Russ Garrity's 298 to 1 feat at Hexham yesterday. Robsera, Shining Edge, Daring Past and Menshaar took Garrity's score to nine winners in five racing days and enabled him to beat by one his previous best tally of 35 winners, achieved last season.