Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rakti's Rope-Trick Can Lead to Bonus; the Team Behind the Hot Favourite for Sandown's Eclipse Stakes on Saturday Continue the Quest for the Treble That Would Lead to a [Pounds Sterling]1million Pay-Out, Reports Graham Cunningham

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rakti's Rope-Trick Can Lead to Bonus; the Team Behind the Hot Favourite for Sandown's Eclipse Stakes on Saturday Continue the Quest for the Treble That Would Lead to a [Pounds Sterling]1million Pay-Out, Reports Graham Cunningham

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

ONE down, two to go. That sums up the situation as the team involved with Rakti prepare for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. But the man who will be aboard the redhot favourite for the weekend's [pounds sterling]375,000 showpiece has been around too long to look more than one step ahead.

Philip Robinson knows Rakti will earn a [pounds sterling]1million bonus if he can follow his pulsating win in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot by landing the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

"It's a lot of money and if it happens then great, but gimmicks like this can get in the way when you're talking about what's best for a horse," he said.

Rakti is on course for the British Horseracing Board's Summer Triple Crown, and the contrast between the horse and the man who rides him could hardly be more striking.

Rakti is half a ton of thoroughbred with a hair-trigger temperament which makes him pull like a mustang from the moment the stalls open, while Robinson is a deadpan veteran who gives the impression he would barely bat an eyelid if his partner suddenly took to the air like Pegasus.

Together they form one of the most potent partnerships in racing, and Robinson's eyes light up when describing the experience of guiding Rakti to victory at Ascot two weeks ago.

"Riding a powerful horse like Rakti is very demanding physically and the way he pulls makes it hard to make sure he is in the right place at the right time in his races," he said.

"He's so strong it's impossible to be in total control once he gets a roll on, but I knew the Ascot race was there for the taking coming round the home turn and he beat some very good horses with plenty in hand."

It's often said carrot and stick is the best approach to dealing with troublesome horses.

Stick didn't work during Rakti's early days, and the jockey Mirco Demuro was forced to make a grovelling apology in 2002 after being captured live on Channel 4 slapping his mount round the head behind the stalls before the Champion Stakes at Newmarket. …

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