Tamburlaine can boost the Classic case for Nayef


Nap: Wellbeing (Newbury 2.30) NB: Tamburlaine (Doncaster 3.45)

Nap: Wellbeing (Newbury 2.30) NB: Tamburlaine (Doncaster 3.45)

There used to be a time when we knew what was running from Ballydoyle from some way out. The gavel would go down, Vincent O'Brien would lead out his choicely-bred yearling from the sales and then map out a programme for the next 18 months. It happens no longer.

When it comes to race planning these days out of the Tipperary stronghold, the name is the same, but the system is different. Aidan O'Brien likes to enter a substantial cast for two-year-old races, most of them the bearers of substantial human names from the past.

At the forfeit stage for today's Racing Post Trophy on 3 October there were 43 possibles, 21 trained by O'Brien. Twelve of the 20 at the five-day stage emanated from Ballydoyle. Yet even now we will not see O'Brien's preferred runner.

That was to have been Hemingway, who did himself a mischief in mid-week and, like another big gun in Minardi, who missed the Dewhurst, we will now have to wait until next season before we discover where exactly he settles in the pecking order.

Team Coolmore will instead be represented this afternoon by Freud, Giant's Causeway's brother who finished fifth in the Dewhurst, Darwin and Bonnard. They have a reputation to uphold as the stable won this last year with Aristotle and in 1997 with Saratoga Springs.

Britain's final Group One of the season is the starting point for an unlikely £1m bonus scheme for a horse that wins this, the Derby and then the St Leger. It is not, however, unprecedented. Reference Point managed the treble in 1986-87.

The contest has not given us anything of his majesty for some time now, and certainly Aristotle's subsequent performances proved to be more Cockney rhyming slang than lofty Greek achievement.

We will, however, get some sort of line to the great two-year-old hierarchy today. Freud was beaten just over two lengths by Tobougg at Headquarters last week, so we should discover how good Godolphin's new acquisition, the 2,000 Guineas third favourite, is by comparison. And then there is Cd Europe, half of the Mick Channon entry. He was second to Noverre - himself runner-up to Tobougg in the Dewhurst - in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, and then fourth in the Grand Criterium at Longchamp after pulling too hard.

Most telling of all though is the presence of Tamburlaine. Richard Hannon's colt trotted up at Newmarket last time, and, before that, succumbed by just a neck to Nayef in a conditions race at Newbury. Nayef went on to both success at Ascot and 2,000 Guineas favouritism, and Tamburlaine (next best 3.45) represents a serious form line this afternoon.

There should also be success for Hannon in the preceding Doncaster Stakes, in which he saddles Zilch (3.10), who may have lived up to his name thus far but is now ready to build on some near-misses.

At Newbury, the main race is the St Simon Stakes, which contains horses looking for less plump prizes following efforts in a Classic. Marienbard will be happier on this easy going, in the wake of his sixth on firm ground in the St Leger. He worked pleasingly on Newmarket's Racecourse Side gallop this week under Philip Robinson. WELLBEING (nap 2.30), the Derby fifth, performed well in the same environs on the same day. Henry Cecil's colt beat Pawn Broker in a fine time at Newmarket on his return to action last month.

The National Hunt season is gathering pace and Chief's Song's appearance in the race named after him at Kempton today is a reminder of the continuity which makes jumps racing so attractive. We also have one of the name events of the early season. In the Charisma Gold Cup, Real Value, the Cheltenham Foxhunter runner-up, makes his handicap debut, but may have to give second best to Fard Du Moulin Mas (2.55).

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