Racing: Gallops reports point to Rohaani in Rosebery

It's the Rosebery Stakes, Jim, but not as we know it. The 10-furlong handicap, first run in 1931 in memory of the eponymous 5th Earl in the days when the phrase sporting Prime Minister was not an oxymoron, will be contested for the first time today under its modern, all-weather, identity.

But its new look, and that of the even more venerable 1891-inaugurated Queen's Prize, would perhaps allow the course's founder in 1878, Stanley Hyde, to rest easy in his grave. For Lancashire-born Hyde was first and foremost an entrepreneur and any notion to try to keep the suburban Sunbury track in business would doubtless have met with his approval.

Kempton's Flat programme has been clinging on by its fingertips in the commercial arena for some time and in these early days of its sand rebranding the jury is still out on its merits as an attraction. Today's card is the most valuable yet on the new oval but more telling evidence may come on Friday, at the first floodlit evening meeting.

An as-yet unproven Group horse in a handicap is always an interesting proposition, though the fact that Imperial Dancer took the Rosebery Stakes at 33-1 four years ago, before adding two Group Threes that season and ending his career with a Group One success, suggested that his light was up to that point fairly well hidden.

But for Rohaani (3.15) there have been no bushels. The four-year-old's progress last year was well-charted; it culminated in his first defeat, though his best performance, in the last of four outings, when he went under narrowly at Newbury to three battle-hardened opponents, of whom second-placed Blue Monday won the Cambridgeshire next time.

Rohaani, a massive individual (his size has caused problems in the stalls in the past), has matured during the close season and his work in Newmarket this spring, on both all-weather and grass gallops, has been of an eye-catching order.

Favourites do not have a good record in the Rosebery - the last to score was Special Dawn 11 years ago - but today's likely market leader looks a typical lightly raced, considerately handled Michael Stoute improver who will go on to better things. Another bred for the surface, Red Racketeer, a half-brother to the UAE Derby winner China Visit, is second choice.

The classiest exposed performer on display this afternoon is Nayyir (3.45), one of the most frustrating nearly horses of recent seasons. His record of seven wins from 26 outings does no justice to his talent, which has brought him five Group One placings. His victory at Wolverhampton in February was his first for two and a half years, though he had been within a length of winning, including a neck behind Soviet Song in a Sussex Stakes, between times.

He seemed to have no problems with the step up to today's 10 furlongs in his last run, the Winter Derby at Lingfield, but the race proved a typical victory-into-defeat hard-luck story for him as he was hampered by a rival in the straight.

It may be significant that Dermot Weld sends Simple Exchange over from the Curragh for another try on sand - he was probably better than his sixth place off a slow pace and a wide draw in the race at Lingfield in November taken by another of today's rivals, last year's Rosebery Stakes winner Kew Green - but surely the drop in grade, smaller field and first-time assistance of Frankie Dettori will bring Nayyir compensation.

Mick Channon eschewed last month's Easter Stakes at Kempton as a prep for his Classic candidate Yasoodd because of its transfer to the all-weather and instead sends the colt to this afternoon's 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. His four local rivals, headed by maiden winner James Joyce, from Ballydoyle, all hold the Rowley Mile engagement.

Whatever happens, the contest should give Aidan O'Brien a handle on three-year-old form; another runner, the Kevin Prendergast-trained Rekaab, was twice placed at Group Two level behind better-performed Ballydoyle inmates Horatio Nelson and Septimus.

Channon, who reported his star filly Flashy Wings in rude health after a workout yesterday, fields one of his lesser lights, Asaawir, in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at the Co Dublin track. O'Brien has opted to keep Beauty Bright and Kamarinskaya, at home rather than send them to Newmarket next week, but the likely favourite is Prendergast's charge Ugo Fire, another yardstick to last year's form, given her placings behind George Washington, Wake Up Maggie and Rumplestiltskin before a Group Three victory.

The richest race of the Easter weekend is Monday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, worth £97,586 to the winner from a field of 30 headed by high-class novice Our Ben. The warm-up in Co Meath tomorrow is the Powers Gold Cup, featuring a confrontation between In Compliance, Missed That and Nickname.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Call My Number (Kempton 2.45)

NB: Royal Alchemist

(Kempton 3.10)

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living