Panama's mission to conquer Italy
Wednesday 07 May 1997
If this victory was vindication for the decision to supplement the colt for Epsom it was also one that tested the heart chambers of his connections. Panama City was last turning into the straight and had to strain every sinew to force his head past State Fair. Peter Chapple-Hyam, his trainer, conceded that Rome rather than Epsom should be his next destination. Connoisseurs of the arts would probably agree with him.
"We weren't planning to ride him like that because we wanted to go from a long way out, but John [Reid, the jockey] said he couldn't get out and had to sit and suffer," Chapple-Hyam said. "He had to use speed, which isn't his forte as he's more of a stayer."
Chapple-Hyam added that Revoque, his 2,000 Guineas runner-up, had worked pleasingly (for him) in a morning gallop at Manton and would probably take in the Irish 2,000 Guineas before being committed to the Derby. The colt's owner, Robert Sangster, has gone this way before, with The Minstrel, and certainly sees no reason to be petrified by Entrepreneur, even if the Guineas winner is odds-on for Epsom.
There was another entry for the chunky family scrapbook belonging to Entrepreneur's sire, Sadler's Wells, yesterday when two more of his sons fought out the previous race, Conon Falls, Pilsudski's half-brother, hanging on from Solo Mio. The winner's rider, Frankie Dettori, also sees Entrepreneur as an incredible force, if not an irresistible one. "I was very impressed by Entrepreneur and I'm just hoping one comes out of the pack, and my pack in particular, to challenge him," the Italian said. "He still has to stay the extra half mile, but as far as I could see from the race and the replays he looked so laid back and he has such a fluid action there is no problem.
"The next 10 days is vital as York in particular is always a very good Derby trial. But my Dad [Gianfranco] rode Wollow, who was 10-11, in the Derby and he finished sixth, and Tenby was 4-5 when he lost so there is still a chance for anybody."
The opening contest, the Joseph Heler Lily Agnes Stakes, was more Catch No 2 than Catch 22 as Daunting Lady was pumped to the front from the rail draw by Pat Eddery before leading all the way. Richard Hannon, the trainer, often wins this contest and also the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot (Fly Baby, Lyric Fantasy and Risky have done it before) and now Daunting Lady will attempt to improve his record.
Eddery's likely Epsom ride is John Dunlop's Silver Patriarch, who was third in Sandown's Classic Trial and now goes for Lingfield's Derby audition on Saturday. He, too, gave a morsel of hope for those who have not got fancy numbers of an ante-post voucher about Entrepreneur. "He's definitely a top-class horse," he said. "I followed him all the way in the Guineas and he travelled so easily he could have won over five [furlongs].
"His mother was a six furlong plus animal and he's by Sadler's Wells, who was a mile and a quarter horse [Eddery rode him] so he's not a certainty to get a mile and a half. But if he does we're all in trouble."
As Pat Eddery knows, the only certainty in racing is that people use cliches all the time.
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