Midnight callers give Dean rude awakening

Robin Parke

DON'T go asking Geoff Lane's new jockey Dean McKeown about things that go bump in the night.

He had the fright of his life after returning home to his wife and three young girls after racing at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

They had just downed the hot chocolate, read the bedtime stories and were drifting off to sleep well past midnight when, all of a sudden, there was a spine-chilling hammering on the front door.

''These three guys were making a right noise,'' said McKeown. ''I don't mind admitting that it was more than a bit worrying.

''I went downstairs to investigate and couldn't make out what they were saying.

''I reckon I could have taken one of them but three was asking a bit much. The wife and kids would have had to run out the back door.'' They would have done, had it not been the police making the racket.

Asia's finest had unbelievably chosen the early hours of the morning to come looking for the previous owner of the house.

''Well we did come earlier but you weren't in,'' came the explanation.

Don'cha just love 'em when they do things like that? MCKEOWN was able to return a favour to his old friend, former dual Hong Kong champion jockey Philip Robinson last Thursday.

Robinson, recently successful on Bob's Return in the last Classic of the British season, the St Leger, has taken over from McKeown on the crack handicapper Rambo's Hall.

These have been good times for Robinson as Rambo's Hall is now favourite to complete an unprecedented three-timer in the top end-of-season handicap, the Cambridgeshire.

McKeown has won two Cambridgeshires on Rambo's and Robinson was looking for a bit of advice on how to ride him in his final prep race at Ascot.

''Just settle him in and let him pick them off during the final two furlongs,'' instructed McKeown.

Robinson followed this out to the letter, scored impressively on Rambo's and is now looking forward to another big day.

THERE'S nothing like the scent of Group One glory to get the blood up and that could be beckoning for prominent local owner Matthew Oram at Newmarket next week.

Oram is president of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners' Association as well as being a voting member of the Jockey Club and often a raceday steward.

In short, he's one of the great enthusiasts for the sport within expatriate circles.

If anyone deserves a good horse, he does - heaven knows he suffered long enough with the dreaded Goforit.

He could just have found one in the shape of Gneiss (pronounced ''nice''), an exciting son of Diesis, who goes into Thursday's Group One Middle Park Stakes with a very definite claim following a 10-length success on his second ever start at Nottingham last week.

Oram, his wife Elizabeth and his racing partner in Hong Kong, leading advertising executive Malcolm Glenn, are all flying to England for the big day.

All owners live in hope that their geese may be swans - there should be a certifiable ''Owners' Disease'' - but reports from Newmarket Heath suggest this time it really could be true.

After Newmarket the Orams are off to their holiday home alongside Lake Lugano on the Swiss-Italian border, to plot out next year's 2,000 Guineas campaign. Get on now.

Mind you, let's hope the Orams get to Newmarket in time. They are racing with new Jockey Club chairman John Swaine at Happy Valley on Wednesday night before making the mad dash to Newmarket via Zurich - some people will do anything for extra air-miles.

DERBY winner Helene Star was on photo session duty last week. He spent an hour posing for the Royal photographer who then went off to shoot the Governor. Glad to hear he got his priorities right.