Racing: Desert Destiny can find Guineas reward for gritty endurance

The merit of the 2,000 Guineas form is examined in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh today and if the Newmarket race proves to be bogus then the cross of St George will become a tatty ensign indeed.

It is almost certainly to be a shamrock Derby at Epsom this year, the Blue Riband virtually consigned westwards across the Irish Sea for the fourth consecutive year.

Now we will discover if the ragged forces of Albion can at least mount some sort of offensive in the mile category. For while Refuse To Bend may have been yet another Irish winner up the Rowley Mile this month, he has gone on to longer challenges. Those closest to him at Newmarket included three British-trained horses and they stay at eight furlongs today in an effort to staunch the bleeding Classic.

Zafeen (the Guineas runner-up), Tout Seul (fourth) and Saturn (fifth) form half the British challenge in a field of 16 this afternoon, the largest gathering for 18 years.

We have become accustomed to Aidan O'Brien swamping this race both with runners and results and, once again, the young trainer has five runners as he attempts to record his third whitewash in a row. Yet there is a rare vulnerability about Ballydoyle this year, a sense that the horses tend to be running faster in O'Brien's slumber than they are on the track.

It is, perhaps, symbolic that one of the Co Tipperary runners is Great Pyramid, who possesses the blood of last year's winner, his full-brother Rock Of Gibraltar, yet little of the ability. All round it looks a weaker pedigree this season.

Nevertheless, two of the Ballydoyle fleet are course winners - France and Tomahawk, the stable-selected mount of Michael Kinane - a credential owned by just one other runner in the field, Tout Seul. Fulke Johnson Houghton's colt ran well in his first Guineas, at the same time creating the impression that a mile is outside his optimum range.

There are no staying worries about Zafeen. More dubious are the big horse's prospects of handling the pudding going.

One who should not fail on either score is the representative from David Loder's in-from string in Desert Destiny (3.45). He, too, already has a Guineas in his belt, having survived the horrors of a Poule d'Essai des Poulains two weeks ago. Mormons and double-glazing vendors get fewer doors shut in their faces than Desert Destiny suffered that Parisian day, but, to his credit, he kept on knocking. With the domestic team lacking an obvious standard bearer, he looks the one.

The fare in Britain today is distinctly runny, as is the going at Haydock, where the one indicator of the heavy ground should supersede all others. This one-trick system entertains hopes for Silca Boo (1.40) and Zabaglione (nap 2.10) who would enjoy running through the dessert of his name. At Kempton, the best bet is Kalaman (next best 3.05), Kalanisi's half-brother, who would be running in the Irish Guineas if the ground was better. The Heron Stakes is a considerably easier option.

The real stuff continues in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh tomorrow, when Six Perfections attempts to make up for a luckless passage in the Newmarket equivalent. Much of the blame for the filly's defeat that day was deposited at the door of her jockey, Thierry Thulliez, who now relinquishes the mount to Johnny Murtagh. According to disingenuous connections, the switch has been prompted by a desire to have an Irish jockey in Ireland. It is clearly a home-town policy formulated after Thulliez took part in East Anglia.

The history book tells us the French have not won an Irish 1,000 since L'Attrayante in 1983, but Murtagh will have to be some sort of clod to avoid victory tomorrow.

The block bookings again include O'Brien, who will saddle L'Ancresse and Yesterday, the joint-favourite for the Oaks, as well as Kevin Prendergast, who is three-handed in a race which he has already collected with Pidget and Arctique Royale. The one that matters, though, is the singleton, the one trained in France by Pascal Bary.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Assessor

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Sustainability Assessor...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Part-time A Level Chemist...

Teaching Assistant

£12000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Secondary Teaching ...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?