Bahri should give Swing an uplift

RACING: Curragh victory is crucial for the colt who finished third in Newmarket's 2,000 Guineas
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The Independent Online
In terms of customer service, it's Sweeney Todd day for Britain's racing enthusiasts. The only turf that matters today, it seems, is the greensward that will accommodate Manchester United and Everton. There will be no cameras left over from Wembley to capture thoroughbreds; indeed there is little to film.

The race of the day in Britain, which is a rather glorious title in this instance, belongs to Newbury's Listed Aston Park Stakes, which is hardly a contest to moisten the palms. The day's most significant race takes place at a course where, post race, the winner's colours will decorate the stand's weather-vane, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

The second leg of the American Triple Crown has no British runners but it has a British owner in Michael Tabor, who pays the bills for the Kentucky Derby winner, Thunder Gulch. The D Wayne Lukas-trained colt is 2-1 favourite to beat his stablemate Timber Country.

Tabor also has an interest tomorrow, when true turfistes will throw back their duvets with much vigour. The man behind the Arthur Prince chain of bookmakers has the horse with the transposed name, Prince Arthur, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

The prefix of the race describes the venue rather than the controlling influence. The home side, who last won their Guineas in 1988 with Prince Of Birds, are poorly represented and likely to have just Adjareli at single figure odds. It may be indicative of Ireland's present power that the best colt in the country is called Humbel.

This is not to say that their Classic lacks appeal. The Italian Guineas winner Prince Arthur apart, there are some quality animals competing, including his stablemate at Peter Chapple-Hyam's yard, Spectrum, and the John Dunlop-trained pairing of Bahri and Nwaamis.

The last two named will also advertise the quality of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, which was hailed as a contest of the gods at the time, but is becoming more earthy by the day.

Pipe Major's poor run at York could be down to non-staying, but he is just one of several who have gone on from the Classic to cover themselves in something less fragrant than glory.

If the Derby billing of Pennekamp and Celtic Swing as something close to King Kong v Godzilla is to have any credence, Bahri has to win at the Curragh tomorrow. He should.

Dunlop also has prospects with Fanjica and Pesce d'Aprile in tomorrow's Italian Oaks, one of only two Group One races in that country to have eluded him, but more pertinent to British punters is the Sunday card at Newbury, which features the Lockinge Stakes, for the first time a Group One contest.

Proceedings in Berkshire have a touch of the country fayre about them with sky-divers and gymnasts on the agenda to suck in an audience. This theatrical theme is extended to the racing, as the majority of races are sponsored by Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful company.

The Lockinge escapes the umbrella, but looks in need of choreography as there are just five runners. Young Ern has to take on the might of Newmarket here, but it is possible that one of the lesser lights at Headquarters, Chris Wall, will capture the event with Missed Flight.

This race provides a watershed in the five-year-old's season, and it appears there are two sealed envelopes containing future assignments based on what he does today. "If he were to prove himself in this [really useful] company, the rest of the season would be mapped out for him," Wall said yesterday. "If not he will be put back to Group Two races and go abroad."

Richard Edmondson's Sunday nap: Blaze Away (Newbury 5.00); next best: Holtye (Newbury 4.30).

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