Racing: Big names take a battering in trials

THE BIN MAN is going to be angry this week. All those extra bags to take away. We are used to the phenomenon of equine reputations being punctured in the spring and betting slips bearing the names of the exalted being turned into refuse, but seldom can the process have started so early.

Stravinsky hit the first bum note for Aidan O'Brien two weeks ago, and the Irish trainer was let down again yesterday when Blackrock Desert was badly beaten behind Two-Twenty-Two in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh. He is now 33-1 (from 12-1) for the 2,000 Guineas with William Hill.

O'Brien's great Godolphin rivals might be able to revel in this minor misery, but they have little to cheer from within. The Arabian team's Prado's Landing was last of eight in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday night and his Kentucky Derby chances look as close to nil as man has yet discovered. Worldly Manner and Aljabr are still on course for the Run For The Roses on 1 May following their domination of a trial in the Emirates.

Trials in the desert have taken on even greater importance since Almutawakel won one and then a fortune in the Dubai World Cup. But Team Godolphin did not get the results they expected when they held their British Classic trials at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday.

The colts' race over a mile was won by the former David Elsworth boarder, Island Sands. Behind him came Mukhalif, a graduate of the David Loder academy who won a conditions race at Ascot last year, and Adair, who collected on his only start over nine furlongs at Belmont Park for Bill Mott as a two-year-old. Back with the flotsam were previously sparkling names such as Iftitah, Rhagaas, Dubai Millennium and Lujain. The last-named is almost certainly destined for a sprinting campaign.

"You plan the whole winter around this event in order to answer questions before we decide our team for the Classics," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said. "Some of the horses we held high expectations for disappointed.

"Iftitah, Dubai Millennium, Rhagaas and Lujain did not perform to the standard required for Classics. I would also put Saytarra [last year's French Group winner and disappointing in the fillies' trial won by Pescara] into that same bracket so some big names have dropped slightly by the wayside. Some very high-profile horses did not live up to expectations.

"Rhagaas and Dubai Millennium, who we were hoping were going to be Derby horses, are going to have to prove themselves. We're not now going to set such ambitious targets for them to begin with because they didn't perform as well as other middle-distance colts like Adair and Mukhalif.

"Rhagaas is a mile-and-a-half horse, but if he's a Derby contender he needs to be up there in a race like yesterday's.

"Dubai Millennium was behind schedule in his work and will improve, but even taking that into consideration we thought he would finish closer. He was well beaten.

"We've not lost faith in those horses and we think, along with Lujain, they're going to have a cracking season. But what emerged from last night is that we've got to be a little less ambitious. So Dubai Millennium will not be wheeled straight into the Dante Stakes. He'll start in a conditions race. Adair might be able to go for a Dante and Mukhalif could take in a Listed race at Newmarket.

"What we've learned from the trials is that there's no Cape Verdi [last year's 1,000 Guineas winner] and probably no Mark Of Esteem [the 1996 2,000 Guineas winner]. But, let's not forget, this was a very strong trial, stronger than what Mark Of Esteem had to go through. It wasn't a circus, a Mickey Mouse event. The handbrake was off. We were looking for that fifth gear and some of them just don't have it."

n Olivier Doleuze yesterday received a 15-day ban from the Longchamp stewards for mistaking the winning post and will miss the ride on the 1,000 Guineas favourite, Moiava in the Newmarket Classic on 2 May.

n Blue Royal will run in the 1,000. The Andre Fabre-trained filly's place had been uncertain after she won the Prix Imprudence by just a neck at Maisons-Laffitte on Friday.

1,000 Guineas (2 May) William Hill: 5-1 Moiava, 6-1 Etizaaz, 10-1 Mother Of Pearl, Sunspangled, 14-1 Blue Cloud, Calando, Zahrat Dubai (from 50- 1), 16-1 Imperial Beauty, 20-1 Edabiya, Pescara (from 50-1), Wannabe Grand, 33-1 others.

2,000 Guineas (1 May) William Hill: 3-1 Mujahid (from 7-2), 6-1 Killer Instinct, 8-1 Commander Collins (from 9-1), Enrique, 10-1 Orpen (from 12-1), 12-1 Ballet Master, Stravinsky, 14-1 Island Sands (from 25-1), 16-1 Auction House, Iftitah (from 10-1), 20-1 Dubai Millenium (from 16- 1), Mukalif (from 40-1), 33-1 others.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Research Executive - Quantitative/Qualitative

£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ETL Developer / Consultant

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

DT Teacher, Full time supply role, Maidstone school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week