Pennekamp pushed out

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The Independent Online
THE Flat season took off in earnest yesterday with Classic trials in three countries. The first to take the stage were the French pair, Pennekamp and Macoumba, who both booked their tickets to the Newmarket Guineas meeting with wins at Evry.

Pennekamp, France's champion juvenile and rated Celtic's Swing's most serious rival for both the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, opened his season against four moderate rivals in the Prix Djebel, and although Sheikh Mohammed's colt duly scored by a length and a half, Thierry Jarnet had to roust him to go about his business at the furlong pole. His trainer, Andr Fabre, was satisfied with the run over a trip - six and a half furlongs - patently too short, but Ladbrokes pushed Pennekamp out a point to 5-1 for the Guineas, and cut Celtic Swing to 5-4 favourite.

In the fillies' trial, the Prix Imprudence, the Criquette Head-trained Macoumba came from last to first to beat Pennekamp's stablemate Smolensk a head. Hills have slashed the daughter of Mr Prospector from 20-1 to 8-1 second favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, where yesterday's second will renew rivalry.

At Leopardstown in Ireland, both the hot-shots were turned over as the trainer John Oxx scored a double for the Aga Khan. Eva Luna could finish only fourth to Khaytada in the 1,000 trial, and Oscar Schindler failed to quicken when beaten three and a half lengths by Adjareli in the colts' race.

At Kempton the players had looked destined for only bit parts at best in the Classics, and nothing happened to change that notion. Two o'Clock Jump, who has no big-race entries, ran out a ready winner of the Easter Stakes and Subya, who took the Masaka Stakes, is bound for the German 1,000 Guineas. The one who might take higher billing in time is Presenting, who stayed on well to take the Durante Conditions Stakes and will reappear in Sandown's Classic Trial.