Phantom Gold the real thing

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The Independent Online
Phantom Gold, in the Royal colours, ended her career in perfect style yesterday in sun-drenched conditions here when she scorched home in the feature race, the Geoffrey Freer Stakes. Aided by her stablemate Whitechapel, the four-year-old filly took the Group Two contest by three and a half lengths from Posidonas, giving the Queen her first Pattern race of the season.

Phantom Gold, winner of last year's Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, had been behind Posidonas, a well-backed odds-on shot yesterday, on her previous two runs. But the presence of the reliable eight-year-old Whitechapel at the head of affairs, plus the fact that Posidonas ran into traffic problems as he should have delivered a challenge, made all the difference. By the time the favourite saw daylight in the final furlong, Phantom Gold had flown.

The filly's trainer, Lord Huntingdon said: "The pace was too slow when she finished behind Posidonas in Germany last time, so we put in Whitechapel to make sure they went a decent gallop." Phantom Gold, perhaps aptly a daughter of Machiavellian, is in foal to Cadeaux Genereux and will now retire to the paddocks. Her owner was not present to witness her triumph, but the Royal racing manager Lord Carnarvon said: "This is a marvellous way to bow out. She will make a lovely broodmare."

The win brought a double for Frankie Dettori, who gave a real test to the elbow injured in a fall at the Berkshire course nine weeks ago - he still has a metal pin in the joint - as he drove Head Over Heels to a short-head win in the St Hugh's Stakes.

Not to be outdone, Walter Swinburn, who returned to the saddle last week after an even longer absence, showed all his old skills at the Curragh by winning the Royal Whip on the Michael Stoute-trained Pilsudski, who led a quarter of a mile out to beat I'm Supposin a comfortable length and a half. It was Swinburn's second win since his successful comeback six days ago and he returned to a warm ovation. He said: "It may have been only a Group Three race, but it felt like a Group One to me."

In Deauville, Bal Harbour gave a boost to the prospects of Henry Cecil's York contenders with a fine second place in another Group Three race, the Prix Gontaut-Biron. The Khaled Abdullah-owned five-year-old, who has led the Great Voltigeur Stakes candidate Dushyantor in work this year, led until caught by Carling in the final furlong and beaten a length. Last year's French Oaks winner, back to her best over 10 furlongs, may go for the Champion Stakes in October.

At the seaside course today, Zamindar will start a hot favourite to repel the three British challengers for the Group One Prix Morny. The Andre Fabre-trained colt, unbeaten in his two starts to date, is already 8- 1 to emulate his half-brother Zafonic in the 2,000 Guineas.

Bahamian Bounty, Blue Ridge and the July Stakes winner Rich Ground represent Britain, but the main threat to Zamindar may be his compatriot, the highly regarded filly Pas De Response.