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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence