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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 16:53 UK

Pimpernel pounces to claim Craven

Elusive Pimpernel
Ryan Moore and Elusive Pimpernel excelled at Newmarket

Elusive Pimpernel, trained by John Dunlop, showed an impressive turn of foot to win Newmarket's Craven Stakes.

The 10-11 chance, ridden by Ryan Moore, advertised his claims for the 2,000 Guineas over the same course and distance with a four-length success.

Dancing David was second with Critical Moment the third of nine runners.

Bookmakers reacted by cutting the winner to 6-1 Guineas second favourite behind St Nicholas Abbey and a general 8-1 shot for the Epsom Derby in June.

Dunlop called Elusive Pimpernel's win over the one-mile trip "very impressive".

He added: "I didn't think he was under pressure but he does come off the bridle and he picked up extremely well. I don't know what the opposition was like. He was odds-on and it was 6-1 the field - they are good judges these punters."

He showed he's in good order. He likes the track and handles the ground, so has a lot going for him

Ryan Moore

Moore added: "He's a big horse and when he hit his stride he quickened up very well. He travelled like the best horse in the race and once he got out he was always going to gallop past them.

"He showed he's in good order. He likes the track and handles the ground, so has a lot going for him."

The colt was second to Aidan O'Brien's highly-rated St Nicholas Abbey in the Racing Post Trophy on his final start as a two-year-old last October. He will now try to find a way past the same rival on 1 May in the season's first Classic over the Rowley Mile course.

But Dunlop appeared confident of the upcoming challenge: "My horse has matured through the winter and maybe the other horse hasn't.

"There were two things to take out of the Racing Post Trophy. First of all it was slow ground, which didn't suit, and they didn't go very fast, so it wasn't a truly run race."


The Brian Meehan-trained Dancing David, who was fourth in the Racing Post Trophy, could not keep pace as Elusive Pimpernel careered away in the final furlong of the Rowley Mile.

But Meehan remained enthused by his charge's efforts and said: "I'm very pleased with him. He got a bit of a slow start but he's kept on very nicely.

"I'll have to speak to the owners but we think he might need to step up to a mile and a quarter. We've got the French Derby as an option to think about."

Critical Moment, trained by Barry Hills, will also step up in distance and will be aimed at either the Dee Stakes or the Chester Vase.

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