Racing: Cape overshadows Embassy in desert

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The Independent Online
CAPE VERDI strengthened her position at the head of betting on the 1,000 Guineas yesterday after sparkling in Godolphin's trial session in Dubai. But her market rival Embassy failed to impress as Sheikh Mohammed's outfit put its three-year-olds through their paces on the turf course at Nad Al Sheba and she drifted significantly in the betting.

In the colts' trials the Derby hope City Honours booked his place in the line up for the Dante Stakes at York next month.

Central Park will run in the 2,000 Guineas, as may Almutawakel - who was cut from 40-1 to 20-1 for the race by William Hill after reports emerged of his workout.

Godolphin's racing manager, Simon Crisford, said: "The trials were yesterday evening at dusk and everything went fine. We were very pleased with Cape Verdi. She went well and is right on target for the 1,000 Guineas. She will go straight there.

"But we were expecting Embassy to pick up better at the finish of her trial than she did. We will have to see how she improves over the next fortnight before making a final decision about the Guineas - but she has not definitely been ruled out.

"City Honours pleased us and he will run in the Dante at York next month and then we will map out his summer campaign. We were pleased with Central Park and he will go for the 2,000 Guineas. Although he will stay further than a mile we will start him off in the Guineas and take it from there.

"Almutawakel went nicely and we were pleased with him and he may well run in the Guineas. I need to talk to his owner but he may well take his chance. The first batch of horses will come across to Britain on 27 April [five days before the 2,000 Guineas]."

Godolphin are bidding to bounce back after a disappointing 1997, having previously won the 2,000 Guineas with Mark Of Esteem in 1996, the Oaks with Balanchine in 1994 and Moonshell the following year and the St Leger with Classic Cliche in 1995.

1000 Guineas: William Hill betting: 9-2 Cape Verdi (5-1), 7-1 Exclusive (8-1), Loving Claim, 10-1 Embassy (7-1), Jibe, 16-1 Ashraakat, Crazee Mental, 25-1 Glorosia, Musical Twist, Shmoose, Woodland Melody, 33-1 Alborada, Asfurah, Bahr, Doomna, Fairly Grey, Grazia, Heed My Warning, Insight, La Nuit Rose, Lovers Knot, Tarascon, 40-1 others.

2000 Guineas: William Hill betting: 11-8 Xaar, 9-2 King Of Kings, 12- 1 Lend A Hand, 14-1 Daggers Drawn, 20-1 Almutawakel (40-1), Fleetwood, Haami, Tamarisk, 25-1 Central Park, With The Flow, Zaya, 33-1 Anytime, Setteen, Bintang, Charge d'Affaires, La-Faah, Rabi, Teapot Row, Twickenham, 40-1 others.