'Perfect' ground expected in Ireland

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The Independent Online

Good news for Golan. Officials at the Curragh have ruled out any thought of watering the course ahead of Sunday's Irish Derby. The ground is described as "perfect", with the exception of the first six furlongs of the Derby course itself, which is good to firm. A band of rain is due overnight on Thursday with upwards of 5mm expected. "Any horse will go on the ground we have here today," said Curragh manager Jason Morris. "We will not be watering and we are happy that nature has looked after us well up to now."

The news offers further encouragement to connections of Golan, who are wary of running the Derby runner-up on fast ground.

Holding Court, winner of the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) for Michael Jarvis last season, is among eight British acceptors in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in Paris on Sunday. Sir Michael Stoute has three options, having left in Little Rock, Adilabad and the St Leger runner-up Air Marshall. Godolphin's Ekraar and John Dunlop's Water Jump complete the list of British-trained older horses, while Barry Hills has also left in his Derby fourth and sixth, Mr Combustible and Perfect Sunday, who both hold Irish Derby entries the same day.

Egyptband, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up coming off a Group Two win, heads the 11 home-trained acceptors, with Hightori, third in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Slew The Red, an impressive Group Three winner, the other eye-catching home contenders.

John Mackie's Accepting is an intended runner in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday. The lightly-raced four-year-old broke his maiden tag at Musselburgh earlier this month after being bought out of John Gosden's stable at the end of his three-year-old campaign. That was his first try at two miles and connections are hoping for a bold showing this weekend.

Accepting is a 33-1 chance with Ladbrokes for Saturday's contest. Coral Eurobet report money for Royal Ascot winner Cover. Sir Michael Stoute's charge is 7-1 second-favourite behind last year's winner Bay Of Islands (6-1).

There are 46 entries for the £50,000 Princess Of Wales's Pearl and Coutts Stakes at Newmarket on 10 July, the opening day of Newmarket's three-day July meeting. Little Rock could bid to repeat last year's win in the Group Two event for Sir Michael Stoute, who has also entered Dilshaan, disappointing in the Derby, along with the Aga Khan's Adilabad.

Fantastic Light is one of seven entries from Godolphin, which also includes Marienbard, Derby third Tobougg and Sakhee. Barry Hills has entered all his four runners from Epsom – Mr Combustible, Storming Home, Perfect Sunday and Chancellor. Holding Court and the globe-trotting Ela Athena could represent Michael Jarvis, while Henry Cecil's five entries are headed by the Hardwicke Stakes hero, Sandmason, and Wellbeing. Aidan O'Brien has five in the mile-and-a-half contest, headed by Milan, who finished fourth at Royal Ascot.

Marcus Tregoning's progressive filly Sheppard's Watch is among 34 entries for the Group Two Falmouth Stakes the following day. Stoute has a strong-looking team of team of four, including the unbeaten Regal Rose who had to miss the 1000 Guineas through injury.

Forty five remain in the John Smith's Cup at York on 14 July. Richard Hannon's Blue Gold heads the weights on 9st 12lb, with Mastermind, who is to be offered for sale at the Tattersalls July Sales, next on 9st 11lb. Man O'Mystery (9-10) was beaten by a head in last year's contest and could aim to go one better this time around for trainer Jeremy Noseda.

Tattersalls, the Newmarket-based auctioneers, faced embarrassment in the High Court yesterday after failing in a bid to secure a summary judgement against the Hong Kong trainer Ivan Allan following a dispute over a yearling purchase made last autumn. Allan had refused to pay for the Darshaan colt for which he – through bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud – had made a successful bid of 450,000 guineas at the October Sales. The 60-year-old trainer alleged that the horse had already been purchased on the eve of the auction and against the conditions of sale. Allan argued he had proof the yearling had been sold privately for approximately £180,000 several hours before the sale.

The trainer of Fairy King Prawn, who was last week voted Hong Kong Horse of the Year for the second consecutive time, was delighted by the result. He said: "I cannot believe that Tattersalls have been prepared to condone clandestine behaviour such as this. By pursuing me, they were penalising a long-standing client and protecting parties that have breached their conditions. They appeared to be thinking about their commission and nothing else. Scams such as this threaten the integrity of the yearling sales, which is massively unhealthy for the racing and breeding industry. The judge threw out their claim without even asking for our arguments and hopefully Tattersalls will now see sense and hand back this horse to whoever owns him."

Finally, an item that is not a regular in The Independent – nor any other national daily newspaper, for that matter. There is a saying in racing, a reference to the equine attrition rate, that "it only happens to the good ones". The following list, issued weekly by the Press Association, undermines that claim.

SCRATCHINGS All engagements (dead): Aigua Blava, Aloysia, Ballyvick, Big Issue, Buckle It Up, Carnetto, Clearing, Cochise, Common Policy, Corrie Mashie, Daring Ditty, Elbiolito, Fidelius, Forza Vitale, Garnerstown Lady, General Perk, Grafton Star, Knocknagree, Lisard River, Love Slave, Lucy Mews, Mandalink, Marktingo, Nazmi, Next Adventure, Pegus Junior, Poetic Intrigue, Pragownia, Profit Motive, Rosmere, Ross Dancer, Ruber, Ruby Finnegan, Sweet Kildare, Thornhill, Vicious Circle, Will Scarlet, Wooton Olive.