Vacamonte dream extinguished in Solario

The nightmare season being endured by Henry Cecil continued at Sandown yesterday when the regally bred two-year-old colt Vacamonte, the 1-4 favourite for the Solario Stakes, finished fifth of seven. The chestnut, the hugely impressive winner of his only previous race, went into the race as the 16-1 favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas and came away from it with his tall reputation and his trainer's dreams intatters.

The nightmare season being endured by Henry Cecil continued at Sandown yesterday when the regally bred two-year-old colt Vacamonte, the 1-4 favourite for the Solario Stakes, finished fifth of seven. The chestnut, the hugely impressive winner of his only previous race, went into the race as the 16-1 favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas and came away from it with his tall reputation and his trainer's dreams intatters.

Vacamonte, a Caerleon half-brother to Wemyss Bight, an Irish Oaks winner, is not the first odds-on shot to flop and will not be the last. But his defeat was another in a succession of hammer-blows for Cecil, whose personal problems - some of his own making, others sadly not - have been mirrored by the ill-fortune surrounding his professional life this year. Unusually, for he is normally good at keeping his chin up in public, he slunk from the Sandown weighing-room by a back door without comment.

The Solario winner, the Richard Hannon-trained King's Ironbridge, had finished eight lengths behind Vacamonte when the pair met at Newmarket last month. Yesterday, with a strong gallop set by Barking Mad, he was much more settled and stayed on well to hold Storming Home's late thrust by half a length. "That was more like it", said the man in the saddle, Richard Hughes, "we think a lot of him, but he had wasted a lot of energy pulling at Newmarket."

Richard Quinn, Cecil's stable jockey, was non-committal about Vacamonte's effort. "He got beat," he said, shrugging his shoulders. The firepower of Cecil's usually prolific Warren Place string has been compromised for much of the season by an assortment of equine viral illnesses and has produced only two Group One winners this year. One of them, Beat Hollow, is now out for the rest of the year after another setback; the other, the Oaks winner Love Divine, has the chance to boost her team's morale at York this week.

The filly is one of two winners of the Epsom Classic to contest the Yorkshire Oaks on Wednesday, the other being her four-year-old stablemate Ramruma.

It will be the first time that two Oaks winners have met since Intrepidity finished fourth and year-older User Friendly 22nd behind Urban Sea in the 1993 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the first time in the last 100 years (and maybe ever) that a pair from the same yard have done so.

Both showed themselves to fine effect on the Newmarket gallops yesterday morning. Quinn, who rode Love Divine, said: "She is in very good form and seems ready. It should be an exciting race."

The three-day meeting at York, the last of the great summer festivals of the domestic programme, features a Group One race each afternoon and marks the half-way point of the élite season with the power struggle between the sport's juggernauts finely balanced.

The Group One score reads Godolphin eight (courtesy of Dubai Millennium, Bachir, Aljabr, Kayf Tara, Mutafaweq and Muhtathir), Tabor/Magnier eight (Ciro, Giant's Causeway, Montjeu and Minardi) and, before the games begin on the Knavesmire on Tuesday, the two high-rolling teams lock horns at the top level this afternoon at Deauville, where Godolphin's Noverre and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Pyrus contest the Prix Morny, the 43rd Group One race of the European campaign. The British-based challenge is led by John Gosden's Richmond Stakes winner Endless Summer, like Vacamonte a bearer of the Khaled Abdullah colours.

At the top level the business has more to do with the making of stallions than sporting endeavour for those who invest the huge sums involved. Giant's Causeway, who will be going for his fourth Group One race in a row (a feat not achieved by a colt since Nashwan 11 years ago) in the International on Tuesday, is already more than assured of his future as a progenitor. But watching the performances that have given this massive chestnut his reputation as the iron horse of the sport is surely a more pleasurable way of recouping investment than most.

The Godolphin team will not be involved in Group One company until Thursday, when Bertolini is among 16 declared yesterday for the five-furlong Nunthorpe Stakes. The French-trained King's Stand winner Nuclear Debate is the early favourite.

At Ripon, the trainer David Nicholls applied the timehonoured success by numbers formula to yesterday's feature handicap, the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, at Ripon, with eight of the 22 runners, but could get no nearer than third, with Bahamian Pirate. The winner William's Well continued a family affair with the race; his dam Catherine's Well, also trained by Mick Easterby, won 14 years ago.

At Newbury, Murghem, an admirably consistent stayer, made it five wins out of six in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes, fending off a lively challenge from Savoire Vivre, John Gosden's St Leger hope, by a length and a quarter.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence