VICTORY for Broadway Score (2.50) will be music to the ears of beleaguered trainer John Hills in the day's most valuable race, the Pentax sponsored £60,000 Showcase Handicap at Sandown.

Despite having over 70 horses to go to war with at his Lambourn stables, Hills has sent out a paltry 14 winners so far this season. But there is still plenty of time to salvage something from the wreckage and Broadway Score has the sort of class that one day could even bring Group race glory.

He first caught the attention of a whole host of shrewdies when powering to victory at Haydock in the spring, and has since lost nothing in defeat when failing by a whisker to catch the fast-improving Kelburne in a valuable handicap over a mile last month.

This afternoon's return to a mile-and-a-quarter, plus the benefit of soft ground, might well herald an upsurge for Hills and Broadway Score, both of whom could do with a change of luck.

Richard Hannon's strength in the juvenile division is likely to be rammed home £10,000 Iron Trade Novices Stakes, a race in which Puma (4.00) can follow up his gutsy debut victory at Windsor.

To beat 21 rivals at the first time of asking was quite a feat that day, taking all of Pat Eddery's power to get the son of Catrail to forge ahead in the final stages of the six furlong event.

The fact that the combination now step up another furlong can only assist Puma's prospects, especially bearing in mind that his dam scored over a mile-and-a-half.

Malton-based Brian Ellison has his string in fantastic shape boding nicely for Turtle Love (3.45) in the Ettington Selling Handicap at Warwick. Consistency isn't exactly her middle name, but if Turtle Love is on a "going day", she'll take all of the beating in such a low grade affair.

National Hunt action returns to Wolverhampton after a long break for track improvements.

It's a tight little venue, although that'll not concern Medelai (4.45), a handy sort of mare who nipped round the bends like a whippet to collect on the adjoining all-weather track a couple of years ago.

After a near miss last time out, Johnson's Point (8.15) looks poised to open his account for the season at Beverley this evening.

Mick Easterby's four-year-old had to play second fiddle to Knavesmire Omen at Musselburgh last week, although the margin of defeat - a neck - shows just how close he came to taking the money.

In the later two-year-old Wellbeing Stakes, Bonkers (8.45) wouldn't be without hope of lowering the colours of some more highly-rated rivals. On the face of it her victory in a poor race on the fibresand at Southwell seems modest form indeed.

Yet Tim Easterby's filly is very much the type to progress with racing and there is the added bonus of the yard going through a purple patch at present.

Unlike Tim, James Bethell is having a miserable time with only three winners on the board so far in 2002.

Maybe Fittonia (9.15) could buck the trend by defying the gloom to pick up the closing William Jackson Fillies Handicap.

* Mick Easterby has failed in his bid to overturn a £1,300 fine imposed upon him over the running of Stonegrave at Southwell in April.

The Jockey Club disciplinary committee had found Easterby in breach of Rule 155 (ii) over the running of the filly, who finished fifth in the Maiden Stakes.

Jockey Terry Lucas was also found to be in breach of Rule 158 by the committee and suspended from riding for 14 days. The horse was banned from running for 40 days.

* Frankie Dettori is hopeful that ''unknown horse'' Equerry can shine in Saturday's Coral Eurobet Eclipse Stakes - although he admits Aidan O'Brien's Hawk Wing is still very much the one to beat.

Both horses were among seven to stand their ground for the £325,000 highlight at yesterday's final declaration stage.

O'Brien's Sagitta 2000 Guineas and Vodafone Derby runner-up remains 1-2 favourite with the sponsors but Dettori is hoping the unbeaten Equerry can run a big race in the famous blue colours of Godolphin.

''He's really an unknown horse for us. He's very hard to train in a way because he always works on his own and is very head-strong,'' the popular Italian said.

''We really haven't go an absolute 100 per cent line on him. What he' done so far he's done well. He's won his Group Threes and now he's stepping up into big company. He's a horse that's never really been with the big guns in the stable because he's little bit quirky and he works on his own so we're not sure of his ability but we'll find out for sure on Saturday.

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