Bounty in long-odds mutiny

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If you buy a Lottery ticket on Monday morning, so they say, you are many times more likely to die before Saturday evening that you are to win the jackpot. A similar statistic can perhaps now be calculated with regard to horse racing, and in particular the futility of long-range betting for the Classics, following the defeat of Zamindar, 6-1 favourite for the 1997 2,000 Guineas, in the Prix Morny at Deauville yesterday.

That he was beaten by a British-trained opponent, David Loder's Bahamian Bounty, is some cause for celebration, but for those who looked to Zamindar, a full-brother to Zafonic, the 1993 Guineas winner, to be the leader of the juvenile generation, the result was a tremendous anti-climax. William Hill thought it necessary to extend Zamindar's Classic odds by only two points, to 8-1, but the air of invincibility which had started to settle around him has now evaporated, and there will be no takers at that price until he regains the winning habit.

Nor were there any excuses worth listening to - the pace appeared healthy and was set by Zamindar, the 3-10 favourite, himself - and Bahamian Bounty, who was ridden impeccably by Lanfranco Dettori, deserves much credit for securing this valuable Group One prize for David Loder. More credit, in fact, than his trainer was prepared to give him beforehand.

"I told some of the journalists before the race that they might as well tear up their betting slips," Loder said, "but he is a lovely horse with a tremendous temperament and Dettori is worth every pound. It was a calculated risk running him here, but I took the view that a Group One at this stage of the season is almost like a Group Three."

If Loder's premise is correct, Bahamian Bounty, a 5.6-1 shot yesterday, was not stepping up in class as sharply as it might have appeared (his previous outing was in a maiden at Yarmouth), but he should face a Group One field of the highest quality in his next race, the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on 3 October.

For Dettori, yesterday's victory brought a very lucrative week to an ideal conclusion, and demonstrated that he has swiftly returned to his best form after a nine-week absence with a broken elbow. So confident is Dettori that the injury is a memory that his return to solid ground yesterday came via a flying dismount, and the champion jockey will head for York this week in excellent heart.

"You could say it's been a fantastic week," Dettori said, after completing a sequence of victories at Group Three, Group Two and Group One level in three days. "We came here to give it our best shot, but we knew there was a big rumour the French horse was a machine. We got to the front at the furlong pole and he was idling after that, but he still had a lot more to give."

Bahamian Bounty allowed Zamindar to get within a short-neck at the line, but few observers would doubt that Dettori had plenty of reserves to draw upon if necessary. Loder's colt was cut to 16-1 from 25-1 by Hills for the 2,000 Guineas as a result, although pedigree students might object that his genes are pre-disposed towards sprinting.

Zamindar's connections naturally attempted to place a positive spin on the result. "We can't be too disappointed," Grant Pritchard-Gordon, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah, the colt's owner, said. "He has only been beaten a neck. It is the first time he has seen another horse and really you have got to put it down to inexperience."

The experience of defeat, however, is rarely a useful one. The hierarchy among the next Classic generation is now as confused as ever - John Dunlop's Bahhare is Britain's best juvenile as far as the bookmakers are concerned, but that position may not survive his next outing. The best time, it seems, to have a bet on the 1997 Guineas is about five minutes before it starts.

Yesterday's other Group One race, the Aral-Pokal at Gelsenkirchen-Horst, also went to a British runner in the Clive Brittain-trained Luso. Michael Kinane was at his best on the winner, the evens favourite, slowing the pace on the far side and quickening away from his rivals early in the straight to beat John Reid's mount, Hollywood Dream.

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