10/17/2003 11:00PM

Rakti upsets; favorites up track


Rakti (11-1) and Milk It Mick (33-1) were surprise winners of the two Group 1 races on Champions Day at Newmarket on Saturday.

Two more longshots, Carnival Dancer (33-1) and Indian Creek (25-1), finished second and third in a 12-runner renewal of the Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes. Rakti ran the straight 1 1/4 miles on good-to-firm turf in 2:03.34.

The favorites - Russian Rhythm, Alamshar, and Nayef - all looked tired from a long, hard season, finishing fifth, sixth, and eighth. Russian Rhythm will bid to redeem her reputation next year but the other two will now retire to stud, as will Carnival Dancer.

Trained in Newmarket by Michael Jarvis for Idaho-born stockbroker Gary Tanaka, and ridden by Philip Robinson, Rakti hit the front with over a quarter-mile to run and won by two lengths.

Jarvis said afterward: "Rakti has been working exceptionally well in recent weeks - really flying. Philip said that he would win any 10-furlong race anywhere.

"He suffered a hairline crack of his ankle in his latest start [at Royal Ascot in June] and was in his box at home for four weeks. I hope to take him to Hong Kong as he has very little mileage on the clock."

Milk It Mick, a homebred son of Millkom owned by Paul Dixon, came late to collar the favorite, Three Valleys, and win the seven-furlong Darley Dewhurst Stakes by a head. Milk It Mick covered the straight seven furlongs in 1:25.22.

It was the 12th start of the year for Milk It Mick. Only 19 days earlier he had given his trainer, former top jump jockey Jamie Osborne, his first pattern race win when he took a Group 3 event over this same course and distance.

A tearful Osborne said afterward: "Milk It Mick is out of a five-furlong mare, but now that we have dropped him in and taught him to relax he showed that he could get home over seven. I haven't cried for five years and really don't know what to make of it all."

The day had other tear-jerking moments. It began with a gutsy short-head win in the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup for the 10-year-old Persian Punch. The day also featured a double for 51-year-old jockey Pat Eddery, who will retire next month after over 4,500 career victories.