Racing: Fallon foiled as Fracas battles to victory

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The Independent Online

The list, in the last five years, includes Sinndar, Galileo and High Chaparral, and now you can get 16-1 with the bookmakers that Fracas joins their company and couples success in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial with victory in the Derby itself at Epsom.

The list, in the last five years, includes Sinndar, Galileo and High Chaparral, and now you can get 16-1 with the bookmakers that Fracas joins their company and couples success in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial with victory in the Derby itself at Epsom.

It was, however, no impressive deed in the first leg at Leopardstown yesterday. Fracas had to fight like a hungry dog to repel Alayan by a short-head, with the otherwise omnipotent Aidan O'Brien coming home a length away third in the shape of Grand Central.

It was a race without an earnest beginning. The Ballydoyle second string, Down Mexico Way, was soon out in front after the five runners left the stalls in the Group Two contest, with Alayan always close up under Mick Kinane. Kieren Fallon settled Grand Central a further length back, alongside Fracas, with Dermot Weld's Bobs Pride bringing up the rear.

It was only in the final two furlongs that the crowd witnessed a race proper, with Fracas, the 2-1 second favourite, and Alayan pulling clear. Grand Central was blocked in at one stage when trying to challenge but had his chance. He simply failed to reel in the leaders when he saw daylight.

David Wachman, Fracas's trainer, said: "That was a good effort. It was only his third run and he is a still a bit green, but his guts got him there. I'll have to talk to the owner, Joe Joyce, but he is entered in a number of Derbys and is entitled to run in one, or maybe two."

While European turfistes await their premier Derby hero, America already had one to celebrate in the shape of Giacomo, who became the second longest-priced winner of the Kentucky version when pouncing late to capture the United States' most prestigious race at Churchill Downs on Saturday night.

The grey was not the horse expected to be draped in the garland of roses and that is now reflected in his price for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park in October. There are nine horses ahead of Giacomo for the dirt championship, including Bago and Footstepsinthesand from Europe and, indeed, one of the Louisville vanquished in the much-fancied Bellamy Road.

Giacomo's success in America's racing capital was a reward for patience. John Shirreffs' charge was well off the pace on the turn for home, but stuck his head out and battled all the way to the line to land the 131st running of the Grade One contest at a massive 50-1 - the biggest price winner since 1913.

Closing Argument looked booked for success heading to the wire, but was cut down in the closing stages and finished second, while Afleet Alex came from out of the pack to take third.

Nick Zito saddled a quarter of the the 20-runner field in his bid to capture the £853,958 first prize, but his horses failed to make the frame with Bellamy Road, his, the punters', the romantics' favourite, fading down the home run, eventually finishing seventh. The mount of Javier Castellano was sent off favourite following his devastating performance when landing the Wood Memorial by 17 lengths.

However, despite making ground out of the back turn, he faded on the entrance to the home straight, while Michael Tabor's Bandini also failed to land a blow and trailed home 19th.

Spanish Chestnut set a blistering pace through the early stages of the 10- furlong contest, setting the race up for a hold-up performer. The lead changed several times in the final two furlongs as challenges were thrown down, but it was the mount of Mike Smith who stayed on best of all.

Smith, for whom this was a first Derby victory, said: "He has redeemed his father [Holy Bull, who finished 12th in 1994] and I said the very first time that I sat on him as a two-year-old that he was a Derby horse, and I had to back it up, but he was dynamite.

"I cut the corner down the back stretch and then had to angle out but when I got into him he kept running and running, he could run all day. We have never had him ready like we did today and that had made a big difference - John has done a tremendous job."

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