Giant's next step will be on Southwell sand

They have had some prized animals at Southwell, notably David Chapman's Tempering, who took a bit of beating round the all-weather oval, and Suluk, a particularly dangerous animal when Reg Hollinshead booked Willie Ryan for a mission to Nottinghamshire.

They have had some prized animals at Southwell, notably David Chapman's Tempering, who took a bit of beating round the all-weather oval, and Suluk, a particularly dangerous animal when Reg Hollinshead booked Willie Ryan for a mission to Nottinghamshire.

On Friday, though, the sands will be spread by hooves even greater then theirs. Giant's Causeway, the pride of Ireland, the multiple Group One winner, the Iron Horse, will turn on to a branch line of the sport as he warms up for the Breeders' Cup Classic at rather more notable Churchill Downs in Kentucky next month. For those who can clamber over the railings at Southwell, it will be like watching Rubinstein play on the joanna at the local.

Aidan O'Brien, Giant's Causeway's trainer, said yesterday: "The plan is to work at Southwell on Friday and then go straight to the Breeders' Cup. He's in good form, he just needs to do a bit of work."

Southwell's clerk of the course, Michael Prosser, was beaming yesterday, like a club circuit manager who had attracted a Las Vegas act. "If everything goes according to plan, they will be looking forward to coming over on Friday and work four horses on the all-weather," he said. "One of those will be Giant's Causeway.

"Aidan O'Brien sent out his travelling head lad to look at the track and he was delighted with the surface. He believes it bears a similarity to that which he will encounter in America."

Giant's Causeway's revised programme now means that his joint-owners, Michael Tabor and John Magnier, will be represented in Saturday's Champion Stakes at Newmarket by the beaten Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe favourite, Montjeu.

After Montjeu passed the post in fourth position in the Bois de Boulogne, seven lengths behind Sinndar, the excuses emerged faster than anything the horse himself had produced up the Longchamp straight.

We heard about a bad draw, the unwanted attentions of a stalls-handler and the fact that he was put in last. Then came the fact that he had slipped and may have pulled a muscle.

However, the decision to run at Newmarket may be tacit acceptance by connections of a theory they have grown to dismiss, that Montjeu needs soft going to show his true form. The ground at Headquarters is currently good to soft with more rain threatened.

There is a miserable historical point of reference for those who wish Montjeu to regain his laurels. It was 30 years ago that Nijinsky too was turned over in Paris when defeat was considered unthinkable. He also tried to re-establish himself at Newmarket, but was humbled by the inferior Lorenzaccio.

The French colt will nevertheless start favourite, as will another foreign horse on Saturday's Champion's Day card. Ireland last won the Cesarewitch in 1993 with Vintage Crop and this year they have two representatives fighting it out at the head of the market.

Tony Martin's Barba Papa won the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and was third in the Galway Hurdle in August. Tryphaena, who is trained by Willie Mullins, was 12th in that contest, but has been supported manically in the run-up to Newmarket's marathon.

"From what I can gather, it's money from your side," Mullins said. "When people knew we were going there I think they just wanted to get a few pounds on at 50-1 and then 20-1. I imagine it was just people following on after that first bit of money.

"She won the Irish November Handicap in Leopardstown last year over two miles on softish ground, so 2m2f shouldn't be any problem. She's a guaranteed stayer and she's in there with a nice, light weight, so why not. We've got Francis Norton because I'm told he's the best in England at that weight, so he was the first option."

Mullins also had news of his Florida Pearl, who has been placed in the last two runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The big horse is in fine fettle, as he will need to be when he takes on his Blue Riband conqueror, Looks Like Trouble, in another Champion event, a steeplechase at Down Royal in five weeks' time.

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