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Artful Prince is in royal form at Ayr

By Thomas Kelly

Artful Prince has been transformed by a gelding operation and the application of blinkers and he continued on an upward curve with victory in the Coca-Cola Handicap at Ayr.

The James Given-trained three-year-old was recording a second successive win after being well-beaten in his five previous starts.

Given an enterprising ride by Graham Lee, the son of Dutch Art followed up a Yarmouth effort in tremendous style, making most of the running as he scored by four lengths from Mash Potato, with another 12 lengths back to Las Encinas in third.

"All last year he was a big baby and then this year he started off with a three-year-old colt attitude," said Given.

"Once he became a three-year-old gelding his attitude changed and he's going from strength to strength.

"He's turned the corner and is improving hand over fist.

"It's one of those questions that one day you would ask if the headgear is necessary. Now he has learnt how to race does he still need it, but do you change a winning theme?

"He is in on Friday at Nottingham and I would imagine with that he is going to go up considerably more than a 6lb penalty.

"There would a fair chance that if he is in reasonable order he may turn out quickly there."

Given doubled up when Royal Bajan (10-1) came down the stands rail to make all under James Sullivan in the Kopparberg Cider Handicap.

Richard Fahey also enjoyed a double with Flighty Clarets and Spirit Of The Law, both owned by the Matthewman One Partnership.

Bottom weight Flighty Clarets (10-1) got up in the shadow of the post to claim the Woodford Reserve Handicap after Lee Topliss galvanised the filly to come through the pack and grab Roker Park for a neck verdict.

George Chaloner's 5lb allowance helped Spirit Of the Law (7-2) take the feature Caledonia Best Handicap by three-quarters of a length.

The four-year-old pounced late on to deny Fort Belvedere with Kashmir Peak just a head away.

Fahey was delighted to give the owners a brace, saying: "It's great for the owners. They've had a bit of a quiet time. I've trained them over 50 winners and they've had two today so that will keep them happy.

"Flying Clarets hasn't been straight forward but hopefully she has turned the corner now and it was a nice race for Spirit of The Law to win."

Meanwhile, Dawn Approach is reported to have scoped badly after his defeat in the Prix Jacques le Marois and is being treated with antibiotics.

The Jim Bolger-trained, Godolphin-owned 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes winner was eased by Kevin Manning once his chance had gone in Sunday's red-hot Deauville showpiece, eventually finishing fifth.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "Jim Bolger told me that Dawn Approach scoped with mucus after the race but he had been fine when tested before he left Ireland on Saturday."

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