Oldest prize up for grabs

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is looking forward to Carlisle bid

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton will fulfil a long-held ambition when Goring contests the bookies.com Carlisle Bell on Wednesday.

The Bell is an historic prize, with the bells themselves reputed to be the oldest sporting trophy in the world, having first been presented in 1599 when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne.

Johnson Houghton has never had a runner at the Cumbrian circuit, but sends a strong team of five runners on the long journey north for the track's showpiece fixture of the summer, including recent Chepstow scorer Goring in the feature event.

"I've don't think I've ever had a runner up there, so to have five running on the one day is a bit mad. I thought if I'm sending the horsebox up they might as well all go," said the Didcot-based trainer.

"I've always wanted to have a runner in the Carlisle Bell as I think it's the most fabulous race.

"I'm chuffed to bits it's fallen right for Goring. It was great to see him win at Chepstow and it's great the rain has come for him as he's a different horse on softer ground.

"He's in good order and I think he goes there with a good chance."

Goring is one of 17 runners for the £30,000 contest, with Carnageo and course and distance winner Pensax Boy among his rivals.

The Totepool Cumberland Plate is another competitive handicap, with West Drive, Hollywood Road and Swaheen all last-time-out winners.

Hollywood Road, a dual winner over hurdles last season, made a successful return to the Flat at Windsor little over a fortnight ago.

The most valuable event of the afternoon is the ebfstallions.com "Eternal" Stakes, with a total prize fund of #40,000 up for grabs in the Listed event.

The Ralph Beckett-trained Bletchley, a high-class juvenile last year, looks the one to beat after making a successful reappearance at Leicester at the start of the month.

There are two Irish-trained contenders in the 11-strong field, with Willie McCreery's Clonmel scorer Aurora Butterfly joined by the Ken Condon-trained Elusive Beauty, who was a close-up fifth in the Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh on her latest appearance.

McCreery said: "She's a beautifully-bred filly and if we can get some black type for her it would be great.

"It's a tough ask, but she's in great form and has been happy since she arrived there."

Condon said of his runner: "With a rating of 94 it leaves her a little bit short for Listed class, but she's well capable of running to that.

"She has to find a little improvement. She likes to take her time in a race so we're hoping for a strong pace and it's a good pull to the line.

"The rain that came is welcome. She does like a bit of cut in the ground.

"She's just a likeable tough filly and deserving of her chance."


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