Fanning and Eaves fight it out for title

Robert Tart was at work early on Montefeltro (centre), but he got up to win the Irish Cesarewitch. Picture: PA
Robert Tart was at work early on Montefeltro (centre), but he got up to win the Irish Cesarewitch. Picture: PA
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THE curtain falls on Musselburgh’s Flat season today with a tight finish to the East Lothian course’s jockeys’ and trainers’ championships.

Going into the last afternoon, reigning champion Joe Fanning heads the jockeys’ list one ahead of Tom Eaves on the eight-
winner mark. Both riders have fancied mounts at the finale.

Mark Johnston heads the trainers’ table with 10 winners. The Middleham handler holds a two-point advantage over the trio of Richard Fahey, David O’Meara and Philip Kirby and the quartet are all well-represented at today’s meeting.

Racing gets under way at 2.10, with the five furlong handicap. Jason Hart, the Hawick-born teenager currently topping the UK’s Apprentice Championship, partners Lizzie’s Dream for Robin Bastiman, but the experienced claimer Neil Farley could hold the answer here with Here Now And Why for the in-form Bonchester Bridge-based Iain Jardine. The speedy gelding has been narrowly beaten on three recent visits to Musselburgh and, favourably drawn close to the stands’ rails, can gain success.

Fanning and Johnston will be well supported to enhance their title hopes when they bid to take the £15,000 Betfair Scottish Stayers Final (3.45) on Discay. Already a course winner at the East Lothian venue this summer, the consistent Discay returned to winning form last time out at Ripon and is napped to win this afternoon.

At the Curragh yesterday, star apprentice Robert Tart secured the biggest win of his fledgling career when guiding Brian Ellison’s British raider Montefeltro to a thrilling success in the Tote Super Trifecta Irish Cesarewitch.

Tart, 21, who claims 3lb, was spotted at work on the 8-1 chance with a quarter-mile to run, but his efforts paid a handsome dividend as the five-year-old picked up in style, making full use of the gap that appeared and staying on strongly to account for Marchese Marconi by a length-and-a-half, winning with his ears pricked.

Call Me Bubbles was third, with Majenta fourth as Montefltro became only the second British-trained winner of the race after Mick Ryan’s Sweetness Herself in 1988. The win means Tart remains unbeaten on Ellison’s gelding, with three wins from three rides.

North Yorkshire-based Ellison said: “After he won well at York the plan was to come here. He is a horse with a massive turn of foot, you just have to leave him alone. He is a lovely big horse and hopefully next year he will make up into a Plate (Northumberland Plate) horse.

“Robert is very good in a waiting race, he has got great patience.”

There was a minor blot on the day for Tart as he was given a three-day ban for careless riding.