Sparkling debut win for classy Count

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2001, 12:00am

On the opening day of this year's Triple Crown series, it was fitting that River Verdon's trainer, David Hill, should get on the scoreboard with the promising youngster First A Count.

The grey son of Bletcham may have an awful long way to go before he can even approach the heights scaled by the legendary River Verdon, who in 1994 became the only horse to complete the Triple Crown, but he made the best possible start to his career with a sparkling winning debut in the second race.

First A Count, who had looked good at trackwork in preparation for his first run, had been fancied by Hill, and he lived up to expectations with an impressive two-length success. The equally promising debutants Don't Make A Scene and Chief Ivor finished second and third, making this race one to keep in the notebook.

Corey Brown always had First A Count handily placed behind the pacesetting Legend Of Wei Hai and the grey responded well when asked to quicken in the straight, completing the 1,200 metres in a decent one minute and 10.3 seconds. The David Hayes-trained Don't Make A Scene, who missed the break and had to make up an enormous amount of ground in the straight, snatched second by a head from John Moore's Chief Ivor.

Hill was delighted with First A Count, a purchase from Australia who arrived eight months ago. 'I've liked him from day one. I fancied him today, even though I didn't have him fully wound up.'

Don't Make A Scene looked an unlucky loser and jockey Shane Dye said the Scenic colt would appreciate a longer trip, but Hill felt the best horse had won and predicted that First A Count could take high order in the speed division.

'I may not run him again this season because he's very much one for the future and I think he'll make a really good sprinter in time. To run that time on his debut is an indication of just how good he is.'

First A Count was only the fourth winner of the season for Hill, but the English trainer has a number of other promising youngsters in his stable and looks set for a good second half of the campaign.