Honour again for Manton

RACING: Spectrum launches a Group One double for Peter Chapple- Hyam but a 1996 prospect fails in Paris
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It was a mixed weekend for Peter Chapple-Hyam and one of the many affluent owners that support his Manton stable, Lord Weinstock.

Both trainer and owner had a Saturday to remember when Spectrum, almost ignored despite his persuasive form, won the Champion Stakes at Newmarket.

Like many owners, Lord Weinstock has shoved a lot of money down the grid in his pursuit of success in the sport but few have questioned his financial acumen until recently.

Now the leading figure at GEC is being questioned about his fiscal nous as he reaches a relatively senior shelf of business life. He might reply that his racing decisions seem to be reaching a new level of wisdom.

Chapple-Hyam was having a quiet season by his standards until Spectrum added to his Irish 2,000 Guineas success to make his chesterfield seem a lot more comfortable.

Unlike Lammtarra's abbreviated career, Spectrum will return next season in an effort to prove he is at least as capable at a mile and a half as he has been at 10 furlongs, but he will not be risked on Epsom's undulating terrain where he pulled a muscle while finishing 13th in the Derby.

"He seems to have lost 14 kilos in the race which is more than I expected, but he has got a long time to get over it," Chapple-Hyam said. "He will be put away now and we will decide what his targets are when next year comes. He will step up to a mile and a half but he will definitely not run in the Coronation Cup.

"Some haven't believed what I said about Spectrum and people might start making excuses for the others, but I was confident yesterday," he added. "Bahri has never beaten him and Tamure got 7lb from him when he beat him.

"It was a marvellous day. I always believed he was special and he proved it. This is a serious racehorse."

The glasses must have been chinking together after Chapple-Hyam collected a second, and even more valuable, Group One prize at San Siro, Milan, yesterday when Court Of Honour won the Gran Premio del Jockey Club Italiano in the colours of Chapple-Hyam's landlord at Manton, Robert Sangster.

At Longchamp, though, there was disappointment for Chapple-Hyam and Sangster when Astor Place, regarded as one of their brightest prospects for next year's Classics, could finish only fifth behind the Andre Fabre-trained Loup Solitaire in what is arguably France's top event for two-year-olds, the Grand Criterium.

Loup Solitaire, the only maiden in a seven-runner field, scraped home by a short-head in front of Manninamix, his stable companion and the warm favourite. With only about three and a half lengths separating the whole field there was nothing to suggest that any of the contenders would be able to lay a glove on Alhaarth in next year's 2,000 Guineas after his rather more emphatic success in Friday's Dewhurst Stakes.

Fabre enjoyed one of those afternoons when he might have written the results himself as he collected all three Group races. The most stinging result for the British came when Poplar Bluff, owned like Loup Solitaire by Daniel Wildenstein, defeated a field of 10 that included six challengers from this side of the Channel, in the Prix de la Foret.

Bin Ajwaad fared best of the British as Pat Eddery conjured a terrific run that looked as though it would take Ben Hanbury's colt to victory, but Poplar Bluff stuck his neck out again in the shadow of the post to secure the pounds 60,000 prize.

Alec Wildenstein, the owner's son, patting Fabre firmly on the back, announced ambitious plans for the winner. "We must be thinking about the Breeders' Cup Mile or perhaps even the Sprint for this improving colt."

Simon Dow, the trainer of the favourite, Young Ern, had said beforehand: "I am bringing a bag to take home the money." He could have used it to hide his blushes after Young Ern had trailed in last.