Racing: Bijou keeps quartet waiting

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The Independent Online
The Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Tuesday could well be contested by the smallest field in its history. Only six horses were declared for the race yesterday but, of those, only four are definite runners.

Although the quality of that quartet - 1996 Champion Stakes winner Bosra Sham, Derby victor Benny The Dip Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby winner Desert King, and Japan and Dubai Cup victor Singspiel - such a field would be fewer than the five who went to post for the inaugural running in 1972.

Of the other two acceptors Reams Of Verse, winner of the Oaks at Epsom in June, is thought more likely to go for the Yorkshire Oaks on Wednesday, while Bijou D'Inde, remains doubtful. A decision will be made this weekend.

"Bijou D'Inde is sparkling and well but is still about 20 kilos overweight," the colt's trainer, Mark Johnston, said yesterday. "We'll know more when Bobby Elliott gallops him again on Sunday.''

Bijou D'Inde has not run since injuring a tendon when brought down in the Dubai World Cup in April. "It's a hard decision as although running would not do him any harm, there is the down side of his potential stallion value to consider,'' Johnston added.

Betting on the International Stakes was quiet yesterday. William Hill offer: 10-11 Bosra Sham, 9-4 Singspiel, 5-1 Benny The Dip, 7-1 Desert King, 33-1 Bijou D'Inde.

Rival bookmakers Coral reported support from ``the right people'' yesterday for Shmoose in next year's 1,000 Guineas at 25-1. Whether it is in fact mug money will soon be tested - at Newbury this afternoon, when the Godolphin filly makes her debut. She is the mount of Frankie Dettori in the first race.

Another race shaping up as small but beautiful is the top event at Deauville on Sunday, the Prix Jacques Le Marois. Six runners are set to contest the Group One prize over a mile.

The David Loder-trained Starborough, runner-up to Ali-Royal in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, is the sole British representative. Starborough will have to overcome a strong-looking home challenge, including Dubai Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) winner Daylami.

The Prix Jacques Le Marois field: Spinning World (C Asmussen), Zamindar (O Peslier), Daylami (G Mosse), Starborough (L Dettori), Neuilly (T Jarnet), Piperi (F Sanchez).

King Of Kings, the deposed favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, will attempt to redeem his reputation in the Listed Flame Of Tara Tyros Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh tomorrow.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt, who runs in the colours of Mrs Sue Magnier, was beaten in the Group Three Omni Racing Anglesey Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh last month. The impressive winner of his first two starts, both at the Curragh, King of Kings, was a 30-100 favourite when going under by a short-head to Lady Alexander. But O'Brien later reported that the bay was sick.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for O'Brien's Ballydoyle stable confirmed King of Kings on course for tomorrow's race. "King of Kings is a definite runner," she said. "The horse is fine, absolutely fine, and Christy Roche will ride." King Of Kings was the subject of a bet of pounds 1,000 with Coral at 12-1 yesterday for the 1998 Guineas and is now 10-1, having been pushed out to 14-1 after his defeat. Daggers Drawn remains 6-1 favourite.