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Primed for victory (updated 02/04/09)

Bertolini’s five-year-old son Prime Defender marked the start of the official flat turf season in fine style with victory in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Barry Hills-trained entire won twice as a two-year-old and followed this up with his first Stakes win in the Listed European Free Handicap at Newmarket. That same season, he also won the Listed Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock and was placed in the G3 Renaissance Stakes in Ireland.  Despite remaining winless last season, Prime Defender recorded yet more black type, being placed in a Listed race at Windsor and finishing a neck second to Ancien Regime in the G3 Champagne Lanson Sprint Stakes at Sandown.

Bred by Christopher Mason, Prime Defender is out of Arian Da (Superlative), who has already returned to Bertolini this season. Arian Da has recently been scanned back in foal to Bertolini, as has Cal Norma's Lady, the dam of his Cheveley Park Stakes-winning first-crop daughter Donna Blini. Cal Norma's Lady also has a three-year-old by Bertolini, named Northumberland, in training with Mark Johnston.

There was also a winning return for one of Kayf Tara’s promising performers last year when Touch Of Irish won his first start of hurdles by an impressive 16 lengths at Kelso on Sunday. Raced by his breeder Bill Walker, the seven-year-old won two bumpers last season and finished runner-up in the G2 John Smith’s Champion National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree on Grand National day. Touch Of Irish is a son of the Zaffaran mare Portland Row and has a four-year-old full-brother named Portland Rose in training with Jennie Candlish.