La Cucarachas Rewards Breeder-Owner With First Group I

Guy Reed, one of British racing's longest standing owner- breeders, celebrated his first group I winner after nearly 40 years' involvement, when La Cucarachas scored a narrow victory in the VC Bet Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at six furlongs Thursday at York.

The 4-year-old daughter of Piccolo, who himself won this race in on a disqualification in 1994, had been an impressively speedy juvenile whose career has since been interrupted by injury. "She's always been very good, but unlucky," said her trainer Barry Hills. "But she is improving as she goes on."

That much was demonstrated by the decisive finishing kick she showed to deprive The Tatling (also 7-1) by a head. The Tatling has now finished second in this race three years running and was not helped here by a slipping saddle. The 33-1 outsider Majest Missile took third, but the French-trained 2-1 favorite Chineur, who was returning to York following his victory in the King's Stand Stakes in June, struggled after leaving the gates slowly.

La Cucaracha was ridden to victory by the trainer's son, Michael Hills.

Reflecting on the biggest success in his well-known pink sleeves and yellow and black checks, Reed said: "This has been a long time coming, hasn't it? We have always had a high opinion of her and I was lucky to have backed her arly at 33-1."

Also on the Thursday card, Flashy Wings confirmed herself the leading filly seen out so far by making it four wins from four in the Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes (Eng-II).

The 10-11 favorite, trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Ted Durcan, only really had to be pushed out for a one-length success over 2-1 shot La Chunga.

Despite drifting in the market, her followers rarely had cause for concern as the Zafonic filly put up another smart display under Ted Durcan. "We always thought she was special," said Channon, who plans to send her up to group I company for the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Sept. 29.