Galileo looks lazy in stroll on sand

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The Independent Online

Even by his standards this is an important week for Aidan O'Brien. Today Johannesburg puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, Sunday sees Milan take on Europe's élite in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe while Istabraq parades before his faithful followers during racing at Tipperary, and yesterday Galileo, Black Minnaloushe and Mozart, the trainer's Breeders' Cup squad, took to the sand at Southwell.

Galileo, the Derby and Irish Derby winner, was ridden by Mick Kinane in a gallop with two stable-companions over a mile on the track's Fibresand surface, aimed at readying him for the rematch with his recent Leopardstown conqueror, Fantastic Light, on dirt in the Classic at Belmont Park three weeks on Saturday.

Sadly, on what may turn out to be his last public appearance in Europe, the colt failed to impress the bookmakers and lost his place as big-race favourite.

Kinane said: "He was a little bit lazy in the straight but we were happy. Everything he does suggests he should adapt to racing on dirt. With Point Given out, the US challenge is weakened and our horses probably have 3lb or 4lb in hand."

Coral were unimpressed though and pushed Galileo's odds for the Classic out to 7-2 from 3-1, with Fantastic Light clear market leader at 11-4.

* Tomorrow's card at Hexham has been called off in the interests of foot-and-mouth control. Although the course is more than 3km from infected premises, the Department of Rural Affairs has requested that racing should not go ahead.

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