Racing: Carmine Lake speeds to l'Abbaye triumph

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The Independent Online
British-based trainers may have been out of luck in the Arc, but they dominated the rest of the weekend at Longchamp winning six races and walking off with the championship events for both stayers and sprinters, writes John Cobb.

"Horses make you laugh and they make you cry," Peter Chapple-Hyam revealed yesterday. Punters everywhere will empathise and, as Chapple- Hyam was delivering these words from the winner's enclosure at Longchamp, you can bet which way the corners of his mouth were turned on this occasion.

The man from Manton had just seen his Carmine Lake win France's top sprint, the Prix de l'Abbaye to compliment the trainer's success with Chief Contender in that country's top event for stayers, the Prix du Cadran, the previous day.

It was a glorious conclusion to a week that had begun with the loss of four horses from his stable -gobbled up by the Godolphin cheque book.

"It is unbelievable," Chapple-Hyam said. "Last Monday was very depressing, but I fancied Carmine Lake very strongly coming into this race. Her saddle slipped when she was fifth last year. I made sure I tightened the buttons properly this year."

Carmine Lake was providing Britain with its ninth success in the last 10 runnings of the Prix de l'Abbaye and was lucky to get there at all. Arthritis in the knee had restricted her to just one previous outing this year and this may be her last race.

"The arthritis troubled her last season as well and for most of this year I haven't been able to train her," Chapple-Hyam said.

Because of her condition, the trainer is not keen on a tilt at the Breeders' Cup Sprint. "I am against her running on the dirt with her knee the way it is. It wouldn't be a good idea."

Earlier, Frankie Dettori had the huge British contingent in the stands roaring their approval when Decorated Hero landed the Prix du Rond Point.

Dettori, who notched a treble on the first day of the meeting, on horses trained by the Newmarket-based Saeed bin Suroor and John Gosden, kept Decorated Hero going in the final furlong to hold Kaldou Star.

Gosden, again the winning trainer, said: "Frankie said he would sit on the tail of the favourite and make him race, look him in the eye and see if he was good enough.

"Decorated Hero only just gets a mile but he is a brave little horse. We call him `square wheels' at home because he has got a funny little action."

Ashraakat, Britain's main hope for the Prix Marcel Boussac, failed to make an impression as victory went to the Criquette Head-trained Loving Claim, who is now 5-1 favourite, with Embassy, for the 1,000 Guineas.