Eddery allowed French leave

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The Independent Online
Four winners and a three-day ban were Pat Eddery's reward after six rides yesterday, and if the suspension took some of the shine off his 119-1 accumulator, the former champion may reflect that it could have been worse. Because of a new rule which restricts bans to days when there is racing in Britain, Eddery will be free to ride Indian Light for John Dunlop in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on 4 June.

Eddery was found guilty of careless riding on Son Of Sharp Shot in the card's second race, and while his mount kept the race, the stewards stood him down for 3, 5 and 6 June.

His confidence was clearly unaffected, as he proceeded to ride the next three winners, Silent Expression, Baron Ferdinand (in the Festival Stakes, a Listed event) and Fantasy Racing.

Eddery has yet to ride in a British Classic this season, and his chance of finding a partner for the next one, the Oaks at Epsom on 9 June, will not have improved following yesterday's declaration stage. Just 16 fillies are left in the race, a stark demonstration of the paucity of good middle- distance three-year-olds this season. One of those names, interestingly, is Harayir, the 1,000 Guineas winner, who will contest the Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh tomorrow and had been expected to bypass Epsom.

The 1,000 Guineas winner of two years ago, Sayyedati, was attempting to win her first race since the same season's Prix Jacques le Marois yesterday at Longchamp, but was narrowly beaten in the seven-furlong Prix du Palais Royal, a Group Three contest. Sayyedati looked the certain winner two furlongs out when Walter Swinburn sent her to the front, but Cash Asmussen produced John Hammond's Cherokee Rose on the line to win by a head. "The ground wasn't quite fast enough but she's run well and heads for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot," Clive Brittain, her trainer, said.

The first hint of a gamble in the Derby market emerged yesterday, when Sebastian, trained by Henry Cecil, was cut to 14-1 from 20-1 for Epsom by Ladbrokes. Sebastian did not race at two - like Cecil's 1993 Derby winner, Commander In Chief - and galloped away with a conditions event at Salisbury last week, recording a good time in the process.

At Doncaster tomorrow, meanwhile, a stable with a little less firepower than Cecil's will discover whether its Derby ambitions have any chance of success. Traikey, one of 16 horses trained in Newmarket by Jack Banks, will contest a minor race at Town Moor with Epsom his next destination if he can prevail.

Traikey has run just once, when winning a strong maiden at Yarmouth in October last year, and was withdrawn from his intended reappearance in the Craven Stakes when he was found to be running a temperature on the morning of the race. "It might turn out to have been a blessing in disguise," Banks said yesterday, "as I'd been toying with the idea of running him in the Free Handicap the day before and if I'd run him with the virus it would really have been disastrous.

"It took him a couple of weeks to get over it and he's done four bits of work since. He should go very well at Doncaster and if he wins nicely he'll take his place in the Derby."

Ile De Nisky contested the same race at Doncaster before running fourth to Nashwan in the 1989 Derby in the days when Banks was assistant to his trainer, Geoff Huffer. The subsequent form of Verzen, third in Traikey's maiden, implies that Traikey would have gone very close in the Craven, and his latest odds of 50-1 for the Derby with Hills may be the best each- way value left in the lists.

OAKS ACCEPTORS: (Epsom, 9 June) Aqaarid (trainer J Dunlop), Arabride (J Toller), Asterita (R Hannon), Bint Zamayem (B Hills), Bluffing (J Bolger, Irl), Bunting (J Gosden), Caramba (R Hannon), Carling (P Barbe, Fr), Dance A Dream (M Stoute), Harayir (W R Hern), Last Spin (J Jenkins), Mistinguett (R Hannon), Moonshell (Saeed bin Suroor), Musetta (C Brittain), Pure Grain (M Stoute), Strutting (R Hannon).