Racing: Holland keen to atone on Falbrav

Tradition has it that whichever horse wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes this afternoon will almost certainly elevate itself in the process to the station of Europe's champion miler. It is usually convention also that the beast in question will already have proved its excellence over eight furlongs. The second element, however, may not pertain on this occasion.

Tradition has it that whichever horse wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes this afternoon will almost certainly elevate itself in the process to the station of Europe's champion miler. It is usually convention also that the beast in question will already have proved its excellence over eight furlongs. The second element, however, may not pertain on this occasion.

For the QEII favourite, Falbrav, despite his many glorious successes across Italy, Japan, France and England, has never won over this distance. If he can take on and beat the specialist milers today, the five-year-old will surely be the horse of the year after his sweeping successes over 10 furlongs in the Eclipse and International Stakes.

There should also have been a further top trophy accrued in the shape of the Irish Champion Stakes, but the radar of Darryll Holland, Falbrav's usually faultless rider, appeared to have become damaged on the way to Leopardstown earlier this month.

Yet even in Ireland, there was evidence to encourage those who are considering Falbrav this time. Against peerless competition he travelled clearly the best, once again showing he is an animal for whom no pace is too fast.

Speed and acceleration were also the hallmarks of his wins at Sandown and York, where a single pulverising move took him clear of his field from some way out. After that he was just staying on.

Falbrav appears to have two to beat in the shape of Dubai Destination and the filly, Russian Rhythm. Holland assesses them thus: "Russian Rhythm is obviously very talented and I won't dismiss her at all, she's been exceptional against the fillies. But she's taking on the colts now. That's a different ball game.

"Dubai Destination is probably the one to beat in the race. He's very good on his day, but there is the odd run which is not up to it.

"My horse has got a good turn of foot where it matters in a race. That's vital over a mile, the ability to change a gear. I think he'll win."

There have been rumours in the last 24 hours that Russian Rhythm is in season. That hardly helps to clarify the puzzle, but as her form looks distinctly pale when scrutinised it gives yet another reason to ignore her. Dubai Destination's finest moment came when he defeated Rock Of Gibraltar as a two-year-old, though he did have some folk jumping up and down as well after success in this year's Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting.

That, though, was a Group One only because they told us so. It was not indicated by the quality of those in the frame, which included Tillerman and Right Approach. In addition, Dubai Destination flashed his tail horridly that day, as if something was hurting. Last time out, in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, he ran as if there was indeed a leg problem, all four of them moving too slowly.

All factors, including the rather substantial one of good to firm ground, suggest Falbrav (4.20) should win and extend the run of Luca Cumani, who has the best recent record at this meeting with 19 winners since 1987.

It was clear that autumn had arrived this week when we heard the first swoop for a two-year-old by Sheikh Mohammed. The Godolphin mastermind has purchased the unbeaten Punctilious, who may give a quick repayment today in the Fillies' Mile. She is the only winner over the distance in the field.

"She is fine and well," Michael Jarvis, the trainer, reported yesterday. "She gets the mile well - her dam won the Grand Prix de Deauville over a mile and five and her half-brother has won over a mile and six in France this year, so she should stay the trip. One would hope she'd make a Classic filly next year."

Judging from the races she has contested such aspirations are also entertained by those behind Necklace (2.35). She already looks likes Ballydoyle's Oaks filly.

The Irish team also have an interesting runner in the Royal Lodge Stakes, in which several of the market leaders have a leaden, exposed look about them. Preference therefore is for something on the ascent, either Aidan O'Brien's Moscow Ballet or more probably Snow Ridge (next best 2.00) from the Marcus Tregoning yard.

For the bet of the card, though, it is best to return to a system which worked in the days when punting money came out of the pockets of flared trousers. David Chapman's forte for decades has been to wring sequences out of his sprinters and there is another perfect vehicle this afternoon.

The ground has stayed on top and the distance is just right for last Saturday's Ayr Gold winner, QUITO (nap 3.05).

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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss