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Helissio dominant as Hills paces into difficulty

For about 13 minutes on Saturday, after Shantou and Dushyantor provided the forecast for the St Leger, the Derby form looked solid. Then Shaamit ran in the Irish Champion Stakes. The Blue Riband victor finished only fourth to Timarida at Leopardstown and his form is now so patchy that it could be he will not be purchased by the Japanese.

William Haggas, his trainer, reflected on Shaamit's defeat yesterday and refused to blame his jockey, Michael Hills, for a troubled passage. "If a horse doesn't win the first thing people do is blame the jockey, but the horse didn't run fast enough," he said. "They went no gallop and Shaamit needs a good pace."

Shaamit's next contest will be the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on 6 October and it is a measure of British Classic form that he can be backed at 20- 1 with William Hill. The French staged their Arc auditions yesterday and the lead is now held by Helissio, smooth winner of the Prix Niel. The 4-1 Arc favourite was the subject of a warning from his trainer, Elie Lellouche. "He was only 80 per cent fit today and this will put him spot on for the Arc."

For the second day running Michael Hills was drawn into a web of a contest, on Pentire in the Prix Foy, and again found himself playing the role of a twitching fly. Pentire was forced to make the pace before being gobbled up by Swain but this did not perturb his trainer, Geoff Wragg. "It was the opposite to how he usually runs but at least he has had a blow," he said. Pentire remains at 6-1 for the Arc.

Elsewhere on the card, the visitors did rather well. The largest jolt was provided by Rae Guest's My Emma, who cut down a selection of far more fashionable fillies in the Prix Vermeille. Peter Chapple-Hyam's Revoque toppled a Redwood in the Prix de la Salamandre, in the shape of Zamindar. The winner is 10-1 (from 25-1) with William Hill for the 1997 2,000 Guineas.


2.40: (1m 4f Group 1 Prix Vermeille)

1. MY EMMA C Asmussen

2. Papering L Dettori

3. Miss Tahiti O Peslier

10 ran. Hd, sh-nk. (R Guest) Pari-Mutuel: 30.1; 4.8, 2.4, 1.5.

3.10: (1m 4f Group 2 Prix Niel)

1. HELISSIO O Peslier

2. Darazari G Mosse

3. Radevore T Jarnet

10 ran. 1, 11/2. (E Lellouche). Pari-Mutuel: 1.80; 1.1, 1.4, 2.3. DF: 3.3.

3.40: (7f Prix de la Salamandre)


2. The West T Quinn

3. Zamindar T Jarnet

5 ran. 3, sh-hd. (P Chapple-Hyam). Pari-Mutuel: 3.1, 3.70, 7.1. DF: 11.7.

4.15: (1m 4f Group 3 Prix Foy)

1. SWAIN T Jarnet

2. Pentire M Hills

3. Leeds S Guillot

5 ran. 1/2, 3. (A Fabre). Pari-Mutuel: 2.0; 1.1, 1.1.