Pentire joins class exodus to Japan

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The Independent Online
When Pentire won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, it was accepted that he had probably run his last race in Britain, and that he would complete his competitive career chasing the rich autumn prizes in France and North America.

What many racegoers will find harder to digest, however, is yesterday's announcement that his offspring too will do their racing elsewhere. Pentire was the day's other big-money transfer, and like the last five Derby winners, the colt has been sold to stand at a Japanese stud. Both he and his descendants will be lost to the British breeding industry.

In a statement, John Ferguson, racing manager to Mollers Racing, Pentire's owners, said: "Terms have been agreed for Pentire's sale to the Shadai Group for an undisclosed sum. He will continue to race throughout 1995 with the Arc, Breeders' Cup and Japan Cup as his main targets. He will still be trained by Geoff Wragg."

This last piece of information was greeted with understandable warmth at Wragg's stable. "The team remains the same," the trainer said. "As far as the horse is concerned, the only thing that changes is the colours. The colours will be those of Teruya Yoshida, who raced White Muzzle in Europe a couple of years ago."

Pentire was a relatively cheap purchase when he was bought for 54,000gns at Newmarket in 1993. As a three-year-old, he won six Pattern races and was beaten a neck by Lammtarra in the King George. The horse who beat him that day is another recent recruit to Japan, while his neighbours at Shadai Stud will include Dr Devious, the 1992 Derby winner, and Tony Bin, who took the Arc in 1988.

A life of pampered luxury in the Far East is a more distant prospect for the runners in this afternoon's Gordon Stakes, one of the feature events on the first of five days at Glorious Goodwood. This race is almost a repechage for three-year-olds whose Classic season has gone awry, and while most may be condemned to the "has-been" file by this evening, for one this might just be the day when their campaign starts to turn around.

The field is almost a roll call of horses which seemed to be going places a few months ago, but in the end went nowhere. It is time to renew acquaintance with the likes of Storm Trooper, who was heavily backed for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby but was not sighted in either.

His opponents include Mons, one of last year's best juveniles but has run only once this year, and St Mawes, runner-up in the Chester Vase.

It is easy for a horse to lose its way, but harder for it to fight its way back through the undergrowth to the true path. These do not deserve any further support, and the choice for backers is between the promise of Unitus, a son of the Oaks winner Unite, and the experience of Desert Boy. Experience gets the vote, since Desert Boy (2.45) is a Group Two winner without a penalty. He won the Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud this month, but lost it, harshly, in the stewards' room.

The card's second Group Three event, the King George Stakes, includes last year's winner, Hever Golf Rose, but the Group One penalty she shoulders for last year's success in the Prix de l'Abbaye has anchored her in second and third places this season and may do so again. Lucky Parkes (3.50), who is ideally suited by a flying five, is worth a small interest.

The handicap which opens the meeting is equally perplexing, but those who support Confronter (next best 2.15) are on a horse close to a winning mark and saves his best form for a switchback track such as this.

There can be no question about the day's outstanding bet. ROKEBY BOWL (nap 3.20) made it clear that he retains his talent when third on his belated seasonal debut, and the William Hill Cup, the day's richest race, is a good place to start making up for lost time.

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