Racing: Fallon may yet find grounds to desert Damson

The gardeners of Newmarket may relish the prospect of rain this week after a long dry spell on the East Anglian plains, but anyone who has backed Damson, the favourite for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas, will be praying the drought goes on.

The gardeners of Newmarket may relish the prospect of rain this week after a long dry spell on the East Anglian plains, but anyone who has backed Damson, the favourite for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas, will be praying the drought goes on. If the rains do arrive then not only would the David Wachman-trained filly's chances be severely diminished, she might not even be able to count on the riding assistance of Kieren Fallon.

The former champion will partner Damson in a workout at Newmarket tomorrow and will then be watching the weather before making his decision. "Whether I ride her will depend on the ground - she needs top of the ground," Fallon said yesterday.

Fallon could instead partner Virginia Waters for Aidan O'Brien in the Classic. "Aidan's horse has been working nicely, but Damson did well last year," Fallon added.

Damson was one of 23 fillies remaining in the Classic following yesterday's confirmation stage and Totesport have eased her price to 100-30 from 3-1 in the light of the weather prospects.

The firm's Damian Walker said: "Damson was below her best on rain-softened ground in the Cheveley Park Stakes last season and would be a big drifter on the day if the ground was on the easy side of good.

"There's a belt of rain due to hit Newmarket on Thursday and more forecast on Sunday, although with the going currently good to firm, firm in places, it might take an awful lot of rain for Kieren to desert Damson."

Fallon rode Damson twice last term, including when she beat the colts at the Curragh in the Phoenix Stakes, but she has never raced beyond six furlongs. When asked if there would be any doubts about her staying the mile at Newmarket, Fallon said: "It's difficult to say as she has only been working on the all-weather and you don't get the same feel. She's fit and well though and looks a million dollars.

"She went over to Newmarket last week and it seems the sensible thing for her to stay there. I will ride her again in Newmarket before the race."

Wachman has been happy with Damson's preparation and said: "I think my three-year-olds all seem fairly forward this season. One of the horses she has been working with at home is Indesatchel, so obviously when that horse won the Greenham it gave us a good pointer."

In Saturday's 2,000 Guineas, Dubawi is now as short as evens with William Hill after the five-day confirmations. The unbeaten Godolphin colt arrived in Britain yesterday morning after flying in from Dubai with fellow Guineas hopes Tasdeed and Satchem.

The son of Dubai Millennium, winner of the National Stakes at the Curragh last season, is just 7-1 with Ladbrokes to emulate Nashwan's 1989 double in the Guineas and Derby.

Ladbrokes also report some support for the Andrew Balding-trained Diktatorial, with the colt now 16-1 from 25-1.

Diktatorial won the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket last season and he has been pleasing connections in his work. The Diktat colt was purchased by David Redvers and he now runs for the Tweenhills Thurloe syndicate, of which Redvers is manager. He said: "His Group Three win at Newmarket last autumn showed he handles the track and, for a big, weak baby, he showed a tremendous attitude. His recent work at Newbury has caused us all to get rather excited, and Andrew reported he worked well at home on the gallops on Saturday."

Barry Geraghty and Willie Mullins are favourites to take the top jockey and trainer titles at the Punchestown Festival which starts today. Ladbrokes make Geraghty, who has the plum rides on Moscow Flyer and Kicking King, 5-4 favourite to end the meeting as leading rider on Friday. Mullins was top trainer at the meeting last year and is a 9-4 chance. He runs Missed That in the Champion Bumper and Rule Supreme in the Guinness Gold Cup.

¿ Tomorrow's card at Exeter is subject to a 2pm inspection today. The track is waterlogged in places

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