Bad books his Guineas ticket - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Bad books his Guineas ticket

Poodles and Gucci handbags are the accessories of choice in the elegant seaside town of Deauville, rather than the tattoos, body-piercing and technicolour hairdos preferred by the National Basketball Association's most famous hell-raiser, Dennis Rodman. A little bit of Dennis managed to infiltrate Deauville's genteel winners' enclosure yesterday, however, when a horse called Bad As I Wanna Be won the Group One Prix Morny, one of the season's most important juvenile contests. Bad As I Wanna Be, as any devotee of sporting literature could tell you, was also the name of Rodman's decidedly racy autobiography.

Poodles and Gucci handbags are the accessories of choice in the elegant seaside town of Deauville, rather than the tattoos, body-piercing and technicolour hairdos preferred by the National Basketball Association's most famous hell-raiser, Dennis Rodman. A little bit of Dennis managed to infiltrate Deauville's genteel winners' enclosure yesterday, however, when a horse called Bad As I Wanna Be won the Group One Prix Morny, one of the season's most important juvenile contests. Bad As I Wanna Be, as any devotee of sporting literature could tell you, was also the name of Rodman's decidedly racy autobiography.

Joe Albritton, the colt's owner, is clearly a fan of basketball, or perhaps he just likes to be associated with winners, since whatever else Rodman is famous for, he was also a team-mate of Michael Jordan in the Chicago Bulls side which won multiple championships in the 1990s. And in Bad As I Wanna Be, Albritton and Brian Meehan, his trainer, clearly have a colt who will be winning for a while to come, for all that he was a 15-1 outsider in the betting for yesterday's race.

Punters will not be so quick to overlook him next time out, since the field for yesterday's race pulled together some of the season's strongest juvenile form-lines from across Europe. Noverre, the July Stakes winner and unbeaten in three starts for Godolphin, and Endless Summer, also unbeaten and the winner of the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, were both in the field, along with the filly Rolly Polly, from Italy, the winner of all four of her previous starts.

None could match Bad As I Wanna Be, however, who took over with two of the six furlongs to run, and galloped clear to beat Endless Summer by six lengths. Noverre was in third place, with Rolly Polly back in fourth.

On the face of it, this was a remarkable improvement by Bad As I Wanna Be, who was 11th of 13 runners on his debut at Newbury. He lost his maiden status on his next start, but that was only in a minor race at Windsor.

Meehan, though, was far from startled. "I'm obviously delighted, it was a great performance,'' he said, ''but I wasn't totally surprised. He's a lovely horse. We've always thought a lot of him. He was disappointing at Newbury and, whether the ground was too firm or what I don't know, maybe it was just one of those things. But he bolted up at Windsor and has bolted up again today. I suppose I'll have to train him as a Guineas horse now.''

Gerald Mosse, the winning jockey, was also impressed by the way Bad As I Wanna Be quickened up. "He has lots of speed,'' he said. "I let them gallop early on and when I asked him to accelerate he reacted really well. He handled the soft comfortably.''

The 2,000 Guineas, of course, is only rarely run on anything softer than good ground, but the form of yesterday's race looks so solid that Bad As I Wanna Be must now come into the Classic reckoning, just as Vacamonte, another early fancy for the race heads in the opposite direction. Despite starting a 1-4 favourite for the Solario Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, Vacamonte could finish only fifth of seven, and Henry Cecil, his trainer, said yesterday that he can still find no reason for the colt's performance.

"The writing was on the wall four furlongs out,'' Cecil said. "He had his head down and he looked as though he had a pain in his tummy or something. He was fit but he blew for 40 minutes afterwards so he wasn't right. He is a very genuine horse and that wasn't him at all. We will do a blood test, but only time will tell.''

Bad As I Wanna Be led home a 1-2 for British yards in the Morny yesterday, and less than two hours later, the visitors had three of the first four in the Group Two Prix Kergorlay, including David Elsworth's Persian Punch, who led throughout to win eased down by two lengths. Wajina, trained by André Fabre, was second, with Three Cheers (John Gosden) and Pairumani Star (John Dunlop) next to finish.

There was less to celebrate in Chicago on Saturday night as the two British-based runners in the Arlington Million filled the last two places. Chester House, formerly with Henry Cecil, was the winner from Manndar, another horse who learned his trade on British tracks. Philip Mitchell's Running Stag, however, was only sixth, while Godolphin's Slickly was seventh and last.

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