Racing: Falbrav sets final seal on Cumani comeback season

York Ebor Meeting: Juddmonte winner has option of Breeder's Cup run after being crowned Middle Distance Champion

As Falbrav came sailing up the Knavesmire straight here yesterday it seemed quite appropriate that here was final confirmation that Luca Cumani had emerged from his personal doldrums.

The Newmarket trainer has been becalmed for far too long, largely from the moment five years ago when the Aga Khan removed 25 horses from Bedford House over an argument over medical procedure at the yard. Cumani would not have missed the delicacy that Falbrav's Juddmonte International Stakes was achieved at the expense, among others, of the Aga's favourite, Kalaman, who beat just the pacemaker home. His delight was unbounded.

Falbrav arrived at Bedford House only at the beginning of this, his five-year-old season. Cumani did not have to look into his mouth. He has now won three Group One races in four months, following the Prix d'Ispahan and the Eclipse, growing in stature along the way. Falbrav is now a fully paid up member of the monster club. He is no greater than in the mind of his trainer.

"He is amazing, a machine, and he must be one of the best horses I have ever trained," Cumani said. "He's a beautiful horse. His personality is so fantastic. He knows who he is. He has full consciousness about the good horse that he is, the power that he is and the professional he is. You live for these kind of horses, you live for these kind of moments. You dream all along of having a horse like this."

The International was not a race burdened by the unexpected. We knew that Izdiham would set the pace for Nayef to follow at a near impolite distance. The sole imponderable was when the big horse would make his definitive move and that answer came at around the three-furlong marker.

Darryll Holland was swiftly on to this manoeuvre and, a furlong later, he launched Falbrav on his own trademark swoop, but a quarter of a mile is a long distance for a horse to be in front, especially for those to whom he means most. "This horse gives you palpitations because when you are in front in a race like that you are always expecting something to come out of the pack," Cumani said. "But it would take a very special horse to come and catch him." The trainer, who has never lost faith in himself, was also fortified by the notion that Falbrav is not just excellent. He does not mind a fight either. "He's bull-headed in his own surroundings," Cumani added. "He's very protective of his own environment in his box. He lets you know it's his house."

Falbrav likes to guard his place on the stage as well. By the time the line arrived he was still two lengths to the good on what was almost certainly his last race in England. Hong Kong beckons at the end of the year and, before then, with money now splashing around as the winner of £250,000 as the BHB's Middle Distance champion, there may be a supplementary for the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

The Irish St Leger is the next stopping-off point for Bollin Eric, the victor in yesterday's Lonsdale Stakes. Lady Westbrook, the colt's owner, was not there to welcome back her St Leger winner. "She's a little out of breath," said Sir Neil. It was hardly surprising.

Bollin Eric was simply too good for the opposition as Kevin Darley said: "Today, he was just different class," the jockey said. "He just had that little more speed where it mattered."

The Great Voltigeur witnessed the resumption of hegemony when Aidan O'Brien supplied the first two home in Powerscourt and Brian Boru, who now dominate the betting for next month's St Leger. Afterwards O'Brien admitted he had made something dangerously close to a cock-up when preparing the Ballydoyle horses in the early months.

"I made a few moves in the spring which we wouldn't do again," he said. "You do little things to try to improve the system. They didn't work and the horses paid the penalty. Little things can make big differences in horses. I'd say it backfired."

This was quite brave stuff with John Magnier hovering on the fringes. O'Brien, like Cumani, must have confidence about his dispensability.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food