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).

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried