Racing: Stoute's team in shape for a Glorious innings

Clouds of ochre dust rose into the sunshine behind Sir Michael Stoute as a procession of juveniles by some of the world's great stallions - Danzig, Danehill, Sadler's Wells, Kingmambo - emerged from a shady path at the top of Warren Hill yesterday morning. With a ninth trainers' championship apparently in the bag, and swifts hurtling deliriously overhead, it seemed a scene of perfect summer bliss.

Over Stoute, however, hovered a cloud laden with the cold and rain of February. It was back then that he was approached by representatives of Goodwood racecourse, asking if he might stomach a visit from journalists to help promote their big meeting next week. It must have seemed very far away at the time, because Stoute said yes.

Doubtless he has often reproached himself since for going soft. Even after he has won a big race, he tends to confine himself to evasive banter, followed by a disproportionate bellow of laughter, before scurrying off to nowhere in particular. He stops 10 yards away, and the press shuffle over and renew the ritual. It is all about as dignified as Benny Hill.

What Stoute could not have bargained for is that he would face this ordeal on the morning when the whole of Newmarket was gasping over the news that he had been fined £6,500 over the running of one of his horses at Windsor the previous evening.

His discomfort was not lost on those other trainers who happened to pass one of the town's principal communal gallops. Not one of them could resist some mischievous aside. "Having a whip round?" asked one.

Stoute did not seem to see the funny side, but this was a situation demanding the sort of genius for insouciance that is found only in such rare men as his friend, Michael Holding. The West Indian cricketing idol had been first to emerge at the stables and gave a deep chuckle when asked what kind of temper Stoute was in. "Better leave it till very late before you ask him about that one," he said. "Maybe wait till you are in your car."

Little wonder if Stoute feels stung. This was a fine of pointed severity. It was prompted by the performance of Florimund, having his third run in a maiden, and his jockey, Stephen Davies. Slowly away, Flori-mund finished 11th, beaten around eight lengths. The racecourse stewards decided that Davies had made inadequate effort and gave him a 32-day suspension, fined Stoute in his absence, and also barred Florimund from running for 40 days.

Stoute was as terse as predicted when the subject was finally raised. "I didn't know anything about it until this morning," he said. "I shall certainly be appealing, and there isn't any more I can say." However his appeal fares, even this blemish can hardly disturb the serenity with which Stoute appears to be defending his title. His horses have already amassed more than £1.7m in prizemoney, a lead of £700,000 over Aidan O'Brien's British runners.

Moreover he has plenty of ammunition for the second half of the campaign - notably Papal Bull, heading for the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, and Stage Gift, a dazzling handicap winner on Derby day, back in strong work after a lay-off. Then there are the two-year-olds, at least 100 of them - of which only three have so far dipped their toes into the water.

In the meantime, of course, there is Glorious Goodwood. Since he saddled Alphadamus to win the Stewards' Cup in 1973, only his second season, Stoute has produced another 56 winners at the Festival there and his team of possible runners this time stands at 15.

Fewer will make it to the races, however, as his three candidates for the Cantor Spreadfair Sussex Stakes include Jeremy - more likely to persevere over seven furlongs, over which trip he won the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot - and Peeress, who needs softer ground than seems conceivable. That leaves Rob Roy, who has recovered from a jarred shoulder and continues to tantalise his trainer.

"Things have gone wrong for him whenever we have tried him at Group One level," he said. "But we still have faith in him. The ground was too firm for Peeress in the Falmouth Stakes and she needs good or softer, which looks unlikely. And while we will look at both races for Jeremy, I think he'll go for the Betfair Cup. I was impressed with him at Ascot, he had a bit of running to do two furlongs out, but he showed a turn of foot we hadn't seen before."

And where might Jeremy have discovered such acceleration? You can only assume that he must one day have seen his trainer asked a particularly exasperating question.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Rushneeyriver

(Worcester 3.40)

NB: So Elegant

(Catterick 5.20)

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Caption competition
Caption competition
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: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links