Racing: Cape fear inhibiting Godolphin

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The Independent Online
CAPE VERDI once again added to her reputation yesterday morning but the decision whether she will also be added to the Derby field stays on hold. Godolphin's 1,000 Guineas winner was let on to Newmarket's Limekilns to exhibit her majesty and summarily dispensed with a galloping companion left behind in a cloud.

It will cost her Arab owners pounds 75,000 to submit the filly at Saturday's supplementary entry deadline. They are hoping to lose money and then regain it with interest over Cape Verdi, which places them in an unusual alliance with Britain's big bookmakers.

This first year of a Derby supplementary stage has doused the ante-post market. Since the first day of the Chester meeting earlier this month - when it was mooted that Cape Verdi could run, as well as the unconfirmed Aidan O'Brien pairing of King Of Kings and Second Empire - the market has dribbled along. A dam may break, however, a week on Saturday.

"The ante-post market for the Classics has been decimated," Simon Clare, Coral's spokesman, said yesterday. "We would now usually expect betting to be building up to a crescendo, but it's all been killed off by the confusion over running plans. A late supplementary stage must surely deter punters from stepping in months in advance as the whole shape of the race can change.

"Entrepreneur [the Derby favourite last year] made the market stagnant last year because he was such a short price after the Guineas, but even so things were more lively then."

The supplementary stage was added to the Derby in the wake of the 1995 season when just about all the Epsom trials seemed to fall to a horse not entered for the Classic. The best of the non-runners was Pentire, one of the best colts of his generation and a horse who would have won the Derby had Lammtarra not been around.

"It was devised as a final throw of the dice entry stage just to catch anybody who hadn't been in at the yearling entry stage or hadn't got in as three-year-olds in April," Andrew Cooper, the Epsom clerk of the course, said yesterday.

"It's the ultimate safety net because the whole intention of all this is to make sure the best field is assembled at Epsom. It's also an evolution of the race because the entry system hasn't always been the same for the Derby."

An initial fear was that the Maktoums would change their Derby policy of making a mass entry. It proved unfounded. "When we looked at the mathematics we made sure it was always going to be worthwhile for the block entries to get involved at the yearling stage," Cooper added. "They did their sums as well and there was only a very slight drop-off in the entry level. They are still better off entering a load at pounds 250 and then following it through, rather than putting one in for pounds 75,000 the week before. And Cape Verdi wouldn't have stood a chance of getting into the race this time last year."

As the system stands, if Cape Verdi runs in the Derby she will have to go forth and fill a similar position on the Downs to at least regain the money needed to put her in the race. Go on Godolphin. Do it.

lBoth Coral and William Hill cut High Rise from 25-1 to 20-1 for the Derby yesterday after reporting each-way money for Luca Cumani's colt. Saratoga Springs now looks unlikely to go to Epsom after being confirmed a runner by Aidan O'Brien for Sunday's Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly.


NAP: Supreme Sound

(Folkestone 4.40)

NB: Hevergolf Princess

(Yarmouth 3.50)