Giant's Causeway charges into the realm of legends

York Ebor Meeting: 'Iron Horse' wins fourth consecutive Group One race this year with another outstanding display of courage
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The Independent Online

Giant's Causeway, again, gave us everything here on the Knavesmire yesterday when we witnessed a race which delivered the same. It was not the most densely-populated International Stakes, but it was the most exciting. The race had drama, great tactics and, most importantly, it had the continuation of a growing legend.

Giant's Causeway, again, gave us everything here on the Knavesmire yesterday when we witnessed a race which delivered the same. It was not the most densely-populated International Stakes, but it was the most exciting. The race had drama, great tactics and, most importantly, it had the continuation of a growing legend.

Giant's Causeway never wins by far (yesterday's head defeat of Kalanisi was par for this or any other course), perhaps because he is playing with the opposition. "It just goes to show the ability this horse has when he toys with horses like that," Aidan O'Brien, the chestnut's trainer, said. "He changes his legs to get beside other horses. It might be that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg."

It was a strange description. There is nothing cool about Giant's Causeway. He is better linked to another natural formation, the one which carries his name in County Antrim, a geographical feature formed by volcanic rock. A bubbling monster, and a hard one at that.

Giant's Causeway had a man at each side yesterday as he prowled the parade ring, looking ruddy and autumnal in his coat. His Clark Kent figure of a trainer followed his every move from the infield. At the gate, the 10-11 favourite was recalcitrant about entering his stall. The colt's handlers later told us it had taken them three months to get him used to the starting apparatus in Ballydoyle. But Giant's Causeway relented and the opening stages went according to the book, with the "Iron Horse" following the lead of his pacemaker, Shoal Creek.

Six furlongs out, Michael Kinane looked backwards to gauge the movements behind him. Then, the race was on. Shoal Creek moved off the rail to let the No 1 car through, while Pat Eddery, on Kalanisi, attempted a dastardly act. Eddery, later banned for two days (31 Aug - 1 Sept) for excessive use of the whip, crept past the favourite in the centre of the track, out of his rival's vision, a plan designed to negate the Irish runner's fighting qualities. It looked for an instant as if the ploy would work, but then the Giant saw him.

There was not far to go, but the result was inevitable. Kalanisi tried, but his old foe tried harder. "Michael said he didn't see the horse until the last 50 yards," O'Brien said. "So Michael let him drift out a bit. It had been dangerous because Michael saw the other one all right, but the horse didn't and he was well away from him. When he got out, he put his head out."

This was Giant's Causeway's fourth consecutive Group One victory, a figure for a colt which he now shares with Nashwan. All that remains in the cross-hairs is Mill Reef's record of six consecutive successes at this level. Giant's Causeway's next race will be the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, and then it will be on to the Breeders' Cup Classic in Kentucky in November.

Giant's Causeway won another Group One race, the Prix de la Salamandre as a two-year-old, and that race is the target for his stablemate Hemingway. This further property of Michael Tabor yesterday won the Acomb Stakes, a race won 12 months ago by the subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner, King's Best. Hemingway is now 8-1 with William Hill for that Classic, but connections see him more as a Derby horse with Minardi, the Independent Heinz 57 Stakes winner, their Newmarket aspirant.

Air Marshall is the 9-2 favourite with William Hill for the St Leger after winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes.

ST LEGER (Doncaster, Saturday, 9 September) : William Hill: 9-2 Air Marshall, 5-1 Savoire Vivre, 11-2 Dalampour, Millenary, 7-1 Marienbard, 8-1 Melikah, 14-1 others.

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