Racing: Cape Cross scores cap in hand

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The Independent Online
CAPE CROSS, the old pro, put Josr Algarhoud, the young pretender, in his place here yesterday as the Godolphin team made it a one-two in the afternoon's feature, the Celebration Mile. But though the result of the Group Two contest may have been against the expectations of punters - they made Josr Algarhoud, the choice of Frankie Dettori, the 8-11 favourite - it came as no real surprise to those who run the sport's pre-eminent team.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, had warned beforehand that the one in the white hat should be ignored at anyone's peril. John Reid, bearer of the distinguishing helmet silk, bounced five-year-old Cape Cross out of the stalls straight into the lead and although Josr Algharoud, two years his stablemate's junior and lanky and babyish in comparison, did his best when Dettori asked, his inexperience showed as he became unbalanced on the tricky undulating course. He was a length and a half adrift of the winner, but still had a decent yardstick in Almushtarak two lengths behind him.

Cape Cross was putting his Goodwood record straight, for he had passed the post first in this race two years ago, only to have the win removed from his record after Dettori was found guilty of a riding offence. But since then the admirable son of Green Desert has proved himself among the best, winning the Lockinge Stakes last year and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

"We hope that Josr Algarhoud will be a major player in our camp next year," said Crisford, "and it was important for Frankie to ride him with a view to the future. And we did think that he had the better chance, as Cape Cross had a bit to do with his Group One penalty. But he had been in great form and is the proven horse of the two. Josr Algarhoud's run was no disgrace; this was only the fourth race of his life and he has a lot of catching up to do."

Cape Cross now has a choice of top-level engagements next month, either the Woodbine Mile in Toronto or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, for which Aljabr and Dubai Millennium, his stablemates, are also under consideration.

Yesterday's victory was a fine tonic for Reid, his first Group victory in Britain since returning to action 19 days ago after a four-month lay- off with a broken leg.

Kieren Fallon will presumably not be sending the video of the March Stakes to Sir Michael Stoute as part of his gissajob portfolio. Riding Iscan, the Newmarket trainer's charge, in the last of the recognised trials for the St Leger 13 days hence, the champion jockey produced a less than vintage display, but to his partner's enormous credit he was still beaten only half a length by Yavana's Pace.

Fallon kept Iscan, who had become rather upset before the start, at the rear of the field as the other fancied three-year-old Nowhere To Exit took the field of five along. As the runners swept downhill into the straight, Fallon steered the 5-6 favourite between his rivals and the far rails but found the door firmly shut in his face as the leader moved right. With Yavana's Pace and then Adnaan ranging up on his outside and Nowhere To Exit's effort spent, Fallon had no option but to drop back and come round horses. In the process, the hapless Iscan clipped Nowhere To Exit's heels and did well to keep his feet.

But once he recovered his balance and saw daylight, the son of Caerleon ran on with a will and despite everything managed to enhance his St Leger prospects. The colt, who carries Sheikh Mohammed's original maroon and white colours, has taken over as second market choice (6-1 with Coral) from the disappointing Nowhere To Exit, although at a respectful distance behind Ramruma, the triple Oaks winner who is the odds-on favourite.

Yavana's Pace, a tough seven-year-old winning the 10th race of his career from 39 starts, is also St Leger-bound, but for the all-aged Irish version at the Curragh a week after Doncaster.

Back at Goodwood today, Fallon has the chance to win his first Pattern race for the Stoute stable since the recent shake-up among jockeys that put him first in line for the number one job at Beech Hurst next season. He partners Hypnotize in the Group Three Prestige Stakes, but may have to give best to another daughter of Machiavellian, Marah. The seven-furlong race has not produced a Classic winner since Pebbles - the subsequent 1984 1,000 Guineas winner, was fifth in 1983 - but often throws up an above- average filly. Midnight Line and Bint Shadayid have won two of the last four runnings.

l Peter Walwyn, the former champion trainer who sent out Grundy to win the Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1975, is to retire.

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