Dushyantor recruits a Private pacemaker

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The Independent Online
Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Grant Pritchard-Gordon was yesterday as tight-lipped as an England football coach about the decision to run a pacemaker for Irish Derby favourite Dushyantor. The Juddmonte team's Private Song was one of three pounds 60,000 supplementary entries for Sunday's classic made before the mid-day deadline, bringing the total number of names in the hat at this stage to 15.

Pritchard-Gordon refused to be drawn as to the details of the strategy for Sunday, when Dushyantor, the runner-up in the Derby, will bid to go one better in the enforced absence of his Epsom conqueror Shaamit.

"Does Terry Venables tell the Germans about his plans beforehand?", he asked, though admitting that Private Song is a horse who is good at forcing tactics. The colt, trained by Roger Charlton, made nearly all the running when he was a close second in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot six days ago.

Dushyantor, from Henry Cecil's yard, is a dour galloper rather than a lightening quickener, and will doubtless appreciate any sting being drawn from his opponents by a strong pace. His half-brother Commander In Chief, who displayed many of the same qualities, had the assistance of a pacemaker, Regency, when he hit the front nearly three furlongs out and outstayed Hernando three years ago.

The other two late entries, Don Micheletto and Sharaf Kabeer, both represent the Dubai-based Godolphin operation. Sharaf Kabeer, who easily won a 12- furlong Kempton maiden two weeks ago, is the dark horse of the pair, but has been positioned in the betting at 10-1 by Ladbrokes, four points shorter than French Derby fourth Don Micheletto.

Godolphin director Simon Crisford, while acknowledging that Sharaf Kabeer, a handsome son of Machiavellian, faces a huge step up in class, is hopeful that he will not be disgraced. He said: "On the book he's certainly got to improve. But we rate him highly, he's improving, and he deserves to take his chance."

The former John Gosden inmate, who runs in the yellow silks of the youngest of the four Maktoum brothers, Ahmed, was big and backward last year - hence his non-appearance before jetting to Dubai for his winter holiday. Crisford added: "It's really only in the last two months that he's begun to get himself together physically."

It was a late decision to run Don Micheletto, who had one of Sunday's rivals, 10-1 shot Polaris Flight, in front of him at Chantilly and two of last weekend's winners, Grape Tree Road and Astor Place, behind. Crisford said: "There were several factors that influenced us, among them the fact that the French Derby form is looking pretty solid."

On the betting front (which entirely concerns British challengers), the plunge on last year's champion two-year-old, Alhaarth - who will be blinkered for the first time - continued. The colt, a staying-on fifth in the Derby, is now a 3-1 third favourite, from 7-1, behind Dushyantor, who has drifted to 7-4, with Dr Massini at 9-4. Michael Kinane, it was confirmed yesterday, will ride Dr Massini.

"Alhaarth has been the only horse we have laid to any significant money and it seems that people knew of his work in blinkers before we opened a book on Sunday," Ladbrokes' spokesman Ian Wassell said. "There seems to be a strong belief that the headgear will enable him to recapture his sparkle of last year."

Paul Kelleway, typically, has an ambitious programme planned for Glory Of Dancer, who was just touched off by Grape Tree Road in Sunday's Grand Prix de Paris. Plans include a possible rematch with his conqueror in the York International, a trip to the United States for the Arlington Million, or a tilt at the Japan Cup.

"He is in good shape, in fact doesn't look as if he has had a race,'' Kelleway said. ''He only just does enough on the track, and timing is everything. I wish I could get Scobie Breasley or Harry Wragg to ride him."

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