Presenting injured

Sue Montgomery reports on the Irish Derby withdrawal of a market leader
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The Independent Online
THE hazards of transporting racehorses were illustrated yesterday when Presenting, second favourite for today's Budweiser Irish Derby, was injured as he boarded the plane due to take him from Newmarket to Dublin. The colt panicked as he went into his stall and banged his head, and although his injury is not career-threatening, he was withdrawn from this afternoon's contest.

His disappointed trainer John Gosden said: "It is a great shame, but that is horses for you. The cut on his head is not serious but he had become very upset and we decided to call it a day."

Presenting's defection, and that of the Derby winner, Lammtarra, earlier in the week, has considerably eased the task facing Celtic Swing, who is now even-money favourite. The Damister colt, last season's two-year- old wonder, has been on a hiding to nothing this year but has acquitted himself admirably on all his appearances and is the clear formbook choice.

But the French Derby winner no longer has overwhelming command of his generation, and there will be no hiding place up the Curragh straight for the crooked-legged three-year-old. He has a pacemaker to take him along, and the racecourse management has aided his cause by pouring 1.8 million gallons of water on to the course to offset the ground-firming effects of Ireland's heatwave, but Celtic Swing will have to be every inch the horse everyone hopes he is to take today's pounds 338,350 prize for Peter Savill and Lady Herries.

Presenting's withdrawal left Walter Swinburn twice thwarted, as the Newmarket- based jockey's first string had been Lammtarra. He switched to Annus Mirabilis to try to achieve the rare feat of winning the English and Irish Derbies in the same year on different horses. The last man to do it was Lester Piggott on Sir Ivor and Ribero in 1968.

The burden of representing the Epsom form in Ireland's showpiece now falls on the shoulders of Court Of Honour, who was three and a quarter lengths behind Lammtarra in fifth place, but 10 lengths clear of Munwar.

Robert Sangster's colt, previously an unlucky runner-up in the Italian Derby, ran above expectations in the Derby to earn his place in the field today. His trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam, was typically bullish about his chances. He said: "He ran a hell of a race in the Derby, and he won't let us down this time, even with Celtic Swing in the field. He won't mind the fast ground and the Curragh will suit him far better than Epsom."

With its star sidelined, Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stable pulled Classic Cliche off the subs' bench for today's test, supplementing him to the race at a cost of pounds 60,000. The colt, who beat Annus Mirabilis and Presenting in the Dante Stakes and then ran fourth to Celtic Swing at Chantilly, seems exposed as a few lengths below the very best.

But the Sheikh's best chance today seems to be with his other supplementary entry Winged Love, who finished best of all in the French Derby, his first run over 12 furlongs, to miss second place by a whisker, just half a length behind Celtic Swing. The colt, trained by Andre Fabre, bids to become the first French-trained winner since Malacate 19 years ago.

The improving Winged Love, by the Coronation Cup and Breeders Cup Turf winner In The Wings, worked in eye-catching style at Chantilly five days ago.

In the last 25 years only five Irish-trained horses, the latest St Jovite in 1992, have won. This year the home side's defence lies chiefly with Definite Article, who pleased his trainer Dermot Weld enormously when he trounced his stablemate Humbel (six and a half lengths behind Lammtarra when eighth in the Derby) in a workout during the week. But the Indian Ridge colt's stamina is unproven.

However Winged Love fares in Ireland, Sheikh Mohammed has a clear chance in the day's other Group 1 event, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. His Carnegie should turn Coronation Cup tables on Tikkanen and the Luca Cumani-trained Only Royale, though Clive Brittain's Italian Derby winner Luso should not be underestimated.