Racing: Spectre of Stoute overshadows Bond ambition - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Racing: Spectre of Stoute overshadows Bond ambition

The betting on the first Classic of the season was neither shaken nor stirred by the success of Misu Bond here yesterday. True, his trainer was rubbing his hands over the prospect of coming back with two runners in the Stan James 2,000 Guineas, a fortnight on Saturday. "Good, isn't it?" Bryan Smart said. "Northern trainer going to war!"

But the chances are that Misu Bond and his stablemate, Sir Xaar, are straying innocently into the sights of a familiar villain. The man with the cat on his lap is Sir Michael Stoute, and today he swivels round to his desk and reaches for that ominous red button.

City Of Troy retains explosive potential, despite meeting his first defeat in the Royal Lodge Stakes here last autumn. On the most interesting card of the new season, he could well outclass Sir Xaar and the rest in the Unicorn Craven Stakes over the Guineas course and distance.

It is fashionable nowadays to say that the Classic trials have become hopelessly unfashionable, but nobody has dared tell the champion trainer. Stoute knows that you cannot be dogmatic with horses. In 1999, he won the Guineas first time out with the inexperienced Golan. The following year, he felt that King's Best needed to draw the cork in the Craven, where he was beaten, before pouring the champagne in the Guineas.

This year, he will have been delighted that all eyes and ears have been turned obediently towards Ballydoyle, home of the champion juvenile of 2005, George Washington. But City Of Troy - who is in the same ownership - could yet prove a real Trojan horse, wheeled quietly on to the Rowley Mile from the other end of Newmarket high street.

He certainly looked a colt with a future winning his first two starts last year, when palpably raw, only to run a rather timid race in the Royal Lodge. As things turned out, he can be easily exonerated. "He was lame behind and had torn a muscle," Stoute said yesterday. "But that's all behind him, and now he has to go on. The stable has been going fairly well so far and I'd say he's in pretty good shape for this race. His preparation has gone very well."

Stoute had Notnowcato sufficiently forward yesterday to resume the rapid progress he made last autumn in the Weatherbys Earl of Sefton Stakes - it would be no surprise to see this colt joining the élite by midsummer - and City Of Troy should be quite a sight when the blanket is pulled off today.

The Grand Lodge colt seems certain to have made plenty of progress physically, having looked something of a hulk last year, and it will be fascinating to see how he measures up against this field. It seems possible that a prominent show from either Mulaqat or Gin Jockey would reflect chiefly on the Guineas prospects of their respective stablemates, Sir Percy and Asset.

As for Sir Xaar, he is by no means certain to stay the trip and his trainer will do well to thwart Stoute a second time. In truth, Smart was fortunate to deny him the Bansha House Stables European Free Handicap, as Michael Kinane was forced to delay his challenge on Jeremy while Tony Culhane pressed for home on Misu Bond. There was only a neck in it at the line.

Stoute is not deceived that Jeremy himself might be a Guineas colt, and the sponsors accordingly offer 50-1 against Misu Bond. Smart himself had taken twice those odds in the morning, emboldened by the memory of Monsieur Bond's performance in the classic three years ago. He, too, had been dismissed as a rank outsider but managed sixth despite meeting heavy traffic. "He was only beaten a couple of lengths and this horse is as good as him," Smart said.

Misu Bond - yet another feather in the cap of Danehill Dancer - contrived to lose one shoe in the pre- parade ring and another at the start. "The farrier has done a fantastic job and I have to thank him," Smart said. "He's a very clumsy horse, a bit thick, and it didn't surprise me when he stood on himself and pulled his shoe off again. He's a bit of a goon, but believe me he's decent."

l Monkerhostin took the lead in the British Horseracing Board's Order Of Merit title, and now leads Royal Shakespeare by two points, after finishing third in the Faucets For Mira Showers Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham yesterday.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week