Racing: Visindar confirms rare talent in Derby rehearsal

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The Independent Online

Visindar will face a fresh set of questions at Epsom, but he has certainly been unequivocal in answering those he has been asked to date. His rehearsal in Paris yesterday confirmed that none of his rivals for the Derby has a more vivid talent.

The possibility remains that others will be better equipped for the peculiar demands of the race, in terms of stamina and agility - none more so, perhaps, than the colt travelling across the Channel in the same box. But Linda's Lad is not the type that can light up a Classic on his own, the way Motivator did last year. Win, lose or draw, the Derby has found its cornerstone in Visindar.

The Sinndar colt is 2-1 favourite after dismissing five inferiors with élan in the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud. At Longchamp last month, Christophe Soumillon spent much of the final furlong theatrically shaking a hand over the colt's withers, as though he had been scalded. This time the jockey concentrated on keeping the attention of his mount, making just his third start, rather than the spectators.

Visindar travelled easily as his pacemaker stretched the field, before raking his way into the lead 300 yards out and surging four lengths clear. Soumillon pushed him out to the line, but Visindar will still go to Epsom as an innocent. He has never felt the whip in his life, and can hardly tackle his next, most gruelling assignment with the same nonchalance.

André Fabre, his trainer, left the course immediately after the race and Soumillon confined himself to saying it had been a good trial. But the Aga Khan's racing manager confirmed the colt had earned his Epsom passage.

"What I wanted to see was for him to finish the way he did," Georges Rimaud said. "It was a proper pace throughout and when he was asked he went on. He has a lot of speed. Sinndar had speed and stayed a mile and a half and if he can maintain that we'll be happy."

Sinndar was no mere brutish stayer, and breeders never showed adequate respect for the flair he showed on fast ground. Over another two furlongs at Epsom, however, it is to his sire that Visindar must turn for extra reserves of stamina. His dam, Visor, represents an American family in which several speed influences converge: Mr Prospector, Spectacular Bid, Forli. His third dam, for instance, was a sister to Shadeed, who was a miler even though he was by Nijinksy.

There will be no hiding place at Epsom, of course, where Visindar will join a bustling field over a physically exacting course and distance. And being such an imposing animal, with such a generous stride, he could scarcely be described as the nimble type at home round Tattenham Corner.

But he seems guaranteed to start favourite, even though the trial that yielded the past two winners has still to be run. Unfortunately Michael Jarvis said yesterday that Hala Bek, favourite for the Dante Stakes after impressing at Newbury last month, will not make York on Thursday.

"He didn't have a perfect scope, so we thought it prudent not to run," the trainer said. "The Derby is on hold. He couldn't run before Epsom now. Shaamit won the Derby on the back of only one run, so it can be done. We'll just have to see."

Chris McGrath

Nap: Queen's Echo (Newcastle 4.50)

NB: Celtic Carisma

(Newcastle 3.20)

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