Racing: Dazzle may yet shine again when it matters most

Ian Davies canvasses the views of Timeform's clock guru on the Classics
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The Independent Online
Election day - time for some Wright thinking. Not about who governs Britain, but who will be the guv'nors of the Rowley Mile after the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas this weekend. This year's Guineas trials have been less than conclusive and Chris Wright, who compiles Timeform's much-respected timefigures, admits this year's search for that winning ante-post Classic bet is harder than ever.

Wright says: "Entrepreneur is impossible to assess. He cannot be faulted in terms of having done everything asked of him so far but his timefigures in his three races as a two-year-old of 52, 88 and 71 are meaningless in terms of assessing his chances of a Classic, where the winner is expected to return a figure of at least 120."

"Yalaietanee and Revoque returned reasonable figures of 110 each when separated by just a head in the Greenham Stakes. They make more appeal than Desert Story, an exposed colt who returned a figure of 109 when winning the Craven Stakes. That's a fair figure, but they finished in a heap and you have thought that form was not good enough for a Classic.

"Hidden Meadow recorded a figure of 103 when winning the Free Handicap and needs to improve."

For the 1,000 Guineas, the trials have been even more muddling. Wright says: "Reunion returned a figure of 101 when winning the Nell Gwyn Stakes while Dance Parade clocked just 78 in the Fred Darling Stakes. So, with nothing having impressed this year, I'm inclined to go back to last year's figures and Dazzle's 118 when winning the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket over six furlongs in July. Admittedly she disappointed on both subsequent starts in the autumn and there is an argument for saying she has failed to train on and that figure has little relevance for a Classic over a mile.

"However, the Cherry Hinton form looked solid at the time - Ocean Ridge, the runner up, subsequently won the Prix Robert Papin - and Dazzle [14- 1 for the 1,000 with Coral and Ladbrokes] reminds me a bit of Kerrera.

"She was ultimately disappointing as a two-year-old in 1988, having clocked a fast figure in the early summer, but bounced back to run a big race [she was second to Musical Bliss] in the 1989 1,000 Guineas."

Looking further ahead to the Derby, although the key trials have yet to be run, at this stage Wright likes Fahris, winner of the Feilden Stakes. Wright says: "Fahris returned a figure of 119 - the best by a three-year- old this year. If you take the view that he is bred to be better at a mile and a half than nine furlongs, he would be fair value [William Hill and the Tote go 20-1] for Epsom."