Giant's on standby after Montjeu blow

There were Group One races across the Continent yesterday, yet the thoughts of many punters were with a horse who stayed at home. John Hammond, the trainer of Montjeu, reported that the colt had had a "training setback'', and may miss his planned engagement in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

There were Group One races across the Continent yesterday, yet the thoughts of many punters were with a horse who stayed at home. John Hammond, the trainer of Montjeu, reported that the colt had had a "training setback'', and may miss his planned engagement in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Though the problem is not believed to be serious, the slightest doubt over the favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe less than a month before the race itself is something his army of supporters could do without.

Hammond did not want to elaborate on the nature of the setback, though yesterday evening he said that Montjeu "is now only a possible runner on Saturday''. There were also indications from Coolmore Stud, the headquarters of the Michael Tabor/John Magnier partnership, that Giant's Causeway, the winner of five Group Ones in a row, will replace Montjeu as their representative at Leopardstown.

The news prompted the Irish bookmaker Cashman's to install Giant's Causeway as their 4-6 favourite for the race, ahead of Best Of The Bests on 11-4 and Greek Dance on 7-1. However, a Coolmore spokes-man expressed concern that Giant's Causeway has been given a brief "holiday'' since his latest win in the International Stakes at York, and may want for peak fitness as a result.

"The plan with Giant's Causeway was to go to Ascot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, so we gave the horse the week off,'' the spokesman said. "Since York he's missed three work mornings and I'd be a little worried that the rest might have taken the edge off his match fitness. If it was any other horse you'd say he probably wouldn't be ready for Leopardstown, but we'd like to have a go if possible.''

If Montjeu's setback is fairly minor, he could prepare for the Arc in the Prix Foy at Longchamp on Sunday, but otherwise Hammond's options are fairly limited. It would certainly ease his backers' concerns, however, if they could see Montjeu in the flesh sometime before 1 October in the Bois de Boulogne.

Montjeu is a great champion, but without him the Arc would be wide open, a thought which will have crossed many minds after the Grosser Pries von Baden at Baden-Baden yesterday. Samum, the winner of the race, would certainly be worth considering, even at the 10-1 (from 25-1) offered by Coral following his two-and-a-half length defeat of Catella and Fruits Of Love, with Daliapour and Holding Court, previous Group One winners both, only fourth and fifth.

No German-trained horse has won the Arc since Star Appeal in 1975 at odds of 119-1, but Samum, who started favourite at 8-5, may represent as good a chance as they have had in the 25 years since. He is now unbeaten in six races, including the Deutsches Derby, which he won by five lengths, and is particularly at home on the soft ground which usually prevails at Longchamp in October.

"He is an exceptional colt, probably the best I've ever had,'' Andreas Schutz, Samum's trainer, said. "Already before the Derby we thought very highly of him. We then learned that he was special and now everyone else knows it too.''

Holding Court, the Newmarket-trained French Derby winner, was disappointing after taking time to find his stride and then running wide around Baden-Baden's left-handed turns. Fruits Of Love, though, put up a fine display on ground far softer than he likes, and now goes to the Canadian International at Woodbine.

The retirement of Sendawar shortly before the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp yesterday took a little of the gleam off the prize as far as purists were concerned. Amanda Perrett, though, was not too concerned, as Indian Lodge, an 11-1 chance, took advantage to provide her first success at Group One level. "It's a case of the softer the better for him,'' Perrett said. "We made a mistake running him at Ascot last time, but he might go back there for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes if the ground is right.''

The afternoon's third Group One, the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, saw a performance of immense promise from Sequoyah, who started favourite at 9-4. Aidan O'Brien's filly quickened impressively to beat Hotelgenie Dot Com, trained by Mick Channon, and is a 20-1 chance from 40-1 with William Hill for next year's 1,000 Guineas.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created