Racing: Dettori's youth policy pays off

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The Independent Online
FRANKIE Dettori's decision to invest in the future paid off here yesterday when he and Kareymah overturned the odds-on favourite, Etizaaz, in the Sweet Solera Stakes. Dettori could have gone to Ascot to ride his old favourite Decorated Hero in the big handicap, but preferred to take the reins on the two-year-old filly.

Kareymah and Etizaaz came to the seven-furlong race with similar credentials, both impeccably bred, Maktoum-owned, once-raced maiden winners with bags of potential. But physically they are dissimilar; the bay Etizaaz tall, scopey but unfurnished, the chestnut Kareymah smaller and a much more organised-looking athlete.

The race confirmed the paddock view. After a slowish early pace Kareymah, a daughter of Zafonic, was the one whose act was together soonest; Dettori sent her clear two furlongs out and at the line she had done enough to repel her rival by a comfortable enough head.

The Sweet Solera Stakes, named after one of Newmarket's dual war-time Classic heroines, sometimes produces a decent performer - Life At The Top, Moon Cactus and Bint Salsabil have won in the past decade - but is not normally a guide to Classic form. However, both these fillies are highly regarded by their connections and both hold the entry in next month's Group One Fillies Mile at Ascot.

John Reid's decision to try to squeeze Mutadarra through a gap of dubious existence deprived the gelding of fourth place in the George Cleverley Memorial Handicap. But it will cost the jockey more; the stewards disqualified Mutadarra and banned Reid for irresponsible riding from 17 to 21 August, which means he will missYork's Ebor meeting.

At Ascot, Decorated Hero, one of Dettori's "magnificent seven" on his lucky course, ran a laudable sixth under top-weight in the pounds 150,000 Tote International Handicap, but sixth none the less.

The easy winner of the inaugural running of the seven- furlong contest, second only to the similarly sponsored Ebor in value among European handicaps, was the 14-1 shot Jo Mell, who came home three and a half lengths clear of Gaelic Storm, with Ramooz third and Showboat in front of Sugarfoot for fourth.

It was the second time in nine days that Tim Easterby has sent a horse south from Yorkshire to plunder bookmakers' money; his For Your Eyes Only took the William Hill Mile at Goodwood.

If the race needed it after High-Rise's splendid second place behind Swain in the King George last month, the status of the Derby form was franked twice during the afternoon. Sadian, seventh of 15 at Epsom after making High-Rise work hard at Lingfield and before disappointing again in the Irish Derby, showed the benefit of a drop in class and perhaps a change of scenery by beating Perfect Paradigm in the Ascot opener on his first run since transferring from Henry Cecil to John Dunlop.

And at Haydock two hours later Mutamam, 13th in the Derby, confirmed that the ability that made him one of last year's best juveniles is still there with an eye-catching performance in the Group Three Rose of Lancaster Stakes. The Alec Stewart-trained son of Darshaan found an extra gear when tackled by Teapot Row in the final furlong in a fashion which bodes well for the remainder of his season.

The best-quality sport is to be found overseas today, with Group One contests at Leopardstown and Deauville. The Irish track hosts the year's first top-level race for the youngest generation, the pounds 150,000 Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes, which has attracted its biggest field, 11, since being transferred from defunct Phoenix Park seven years ago.

The six-furlong heat occasionally spotlights a performer of Classic calibre - notably when the subsequent Guineas winners Turtle Island and Las Meninas finished first and second in 1993 - but is more often a pointer to young sprinters.

One of the fastest fillies to grace the course in the modern era was Pharaoh's Delight, who took the Heinz nine years ago. Today her Dermot Weld-trained daughter Pharmacist, impressive in beating Bugatti Reef in a Listed race over the course and distance last month, is one of seven Irish-trained runners. The home side has taken only three of the last 10 runnings, but has a strong hand this time; Aidan O'Brien's trio includes the Queen Mary Stakes third, Coralita.

The best of the British squad of four is likely to be Black Amber, whose trainer, Neville Callaghan, won with Danehill Dancer three years ago.

Callaghan sent Black Amber to Maisons-Laffitte last month to win the Prix Robert Papin and today heads across the Channel again when his Danetime is one of five British challengers - the others are Grazia, Muchea, Kahal and Tomba - for the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

Results, today's cards, page 17