Racing: Kris Kin's team leave Irish Derby to Dalakhani

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The Independent Online

The Great Gatsby will be at the Curragh on Sunday for the Irish Derby. So too will elements of Alice In Wonderland.

Curiouser and curiouser is the only reaction to the announcement that Kris Kin, the Epsom victor, will not be taking on his French equivalent, the Prix du Jockey-Club winner, Dalakhani, because of fears the ground will be too firm.

The going on the Irish plains, it must be agreed, is already riding fast and unlikely to deviate much with a dry week in prospect. Yet good ground is the softest Kris Kin has raced on this year. It was good to firm when he erupted into Blue Riband contention, in Chester's Dee Stakes.

Dalakhani, on the other hand, has not performed on anything harder than good going this season. For the most part, Alain de Royer-Dupré's colt has benefited from ease under foot. So if the terrain just outside Dublin is to suit one of the Classic colts it should be Kris Kin. Yet no. It has proved easy to resist the temptation of stumping up the £66,000 supplementary.

"The ground is very firm out there I gather and we decided we'll leave it," Joe Mercer, the racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, said yesterday. "The horse is fine, we would just prefer a bit of cut in the ground for him. I should think you will see him on 27 July - the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes."

Which is bizarre in itself as the King George, the great contest of high summer, is routinely run on good to firm ground.

It seems that the Ascot race is the preferred route because Dalakhani will not be there. Instead, the French colt will be by then in aestivation awaiting a Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe trial. The simple truth, and this will be a wrecking ball to the head of the traditionalists, is that connections of the Epsom winner seem to be terrified of his supposed subordinate from Chantilly.

Dalakhani does indeed carry with him a ferocious reputation, much as Brian Boru did before the Derby. Admittedly, the Aga Khan's grey does have unbeaten form to back that up, but it has not stopped the owner opposing his own supposed wonderhorse with the Epsom third, Alamshar, who was just a short-head behind The Great Gatsby. Through them at least we will get a measure to the cross-Channel form.

There was a strange whiff about another revelation yesterday, when the trainer Henry Candy announced he was looking forward to once again taking on the Australian speedball Choisir, especially as his filly Airwave had been in season before finishing runner-up to the visitor in Royal Ascot's Golden Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.

Candy said he had not mentioned Airwave's condition to avoid being accused of "deceiving" her supporters, in the same way that some fingered Sir Michael Stoute after Russian Rhythm's success in the 1,000 Guineas.

"I drove home from Ascot to do evening stables on Friday and when I went into her box I couldn't move her and I knew she was in season," Candy said. "I rang my partner [in the horse] and told him as I thought he ought to know. He didn't want to run, but I thought about it and decided that it wasn't enough of a reason to pull out.

"I didn't say anything beforehand because I didn't want to start making excuses for her, and, as it was, she ran a wonderful race and I don't know if it had any effect at all upon her. It's just a possibility."

The problem here is that Candy was one of the very few aware of the possibility. Stoute's view on Russian Rhythm's condition before the Guineas was opinion. What Candy knew was fact. It might have had some bearing on how those who backed Airwave, the 11-8 favourite. For those who speculated the recorded £12,000 bets on course, the season they may be interested in is when shotguns are liberated. Henry Candy would do well to keep off the moors at that time.