Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Duke It out with Firenze; Red-Hot Sprinter Can Burn 'Em Away at Musselburgh; Copper'll Lay Down Law in Scurry Clash

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Duke It out with Firenze; Red-Hot Sprinter Can Burn 'Em Away at Musselburgh; Copper'll Lay Down Law in Scurry Clash

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry owen

VETERAN Duke Of Firenze can lord it over his rivals in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh.

The Pivotal gelding was a classy speedster for the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Robert Cowell but has gained a new lease of life since switching to David Griffiths.

He needed his first couple of runs this season but showed enough in those outings at Newbury and Chester to suggest that he was back TURN TO PAGE TWO FROM PAGE ONE on the upgrade at the ripe old age of eight.

DUKE OF FIRENZE (3.10) soon confirmed that impression next time out when staying on nicely close home to deny the useful Rasheeq off a mark of 103 at York in May.

The gelding arguably improved on that effort when scorching home late to finish third behind Caspian Prince in the Epsom Dash and would probably have scored had he not lost a shoe.

He enjoys a handy 6lb pull in the weights with his old rival today and can take his revenge as long as David Allen can get him into a nice position from stall 16.

Griffiths said: "I think he's definitely improving and it could possibly be his last time in a handicap. He's up to 109 now so he'll have to go for Group races. If he can match his Epsom run, maybe a couple of pounds better, it could see us there."

That York handicap is also the key to the consolation Tartan Trophy which can go the way of RASHEEQ (2.05).

The four-year-old has been admirably consistent for shrewdie Tim Easterby this season and that narrow loss to the Nap has to go down as a career best.

The gelding backed up that effort with another eye-catching second on the Knavesmire and can defy top-weight thanks to Rachel Richardson's 3lb claim.

Speaking of York, there's a cracking card on the Knavesmire where last year's runner-up MASTERPAVER (1.50) can go one better in the ladies only Queen Mother's Cup.

Richard Fahey's gelding put in his best effort for a while when runner-up in a decent event at Lingfield last time and this will have been the plan ever since. …

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