Racing: Entrepreneur back in business

Hailed as the greatest horse of his generation, Entrepreneur's standing crumbled when he trailed in fourth in the Derby. Yesterday he was back on course for the first time since June, working towards the Ascot race that could restore his reputation, writes John Cobb
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Michael Stoute has the knack of rehabilitating jaded, injured or just plain clapped-out horses. It is probably his greatest skill and he has no wish to share it. Yesterday, after Entrepreneur had completed an impressive mile gallop at Ascot racecourse, enquiries about the identities and abilities of his galloping companions were met with the response that he "could not remember" who they were.

Stoute's skill and patience have been sorely tested by Entrepreneur, the horse that topped the sales as a yearling, went through the winter as a leading light in Classics betting, galloped away with the 2,000 Guineas in the style of a world-beater, started odds-on favourite for the Derby, but was beaten, badly beaten.

Although he managed to reach fourth place behind Benny The Dip, Silver Patriarch and Romanov at Epsom, it was an exhausted, distressed Entrepreneur that returned to the unsaddling enclosure that day. He had been bumped and buffeted about the track and had looked incapable of winning after the field had raced no more than a couple of furlongs. A hamstring injury was later diagnosed as causing at least part of the problem.

After a summer in which the races pencilled in for his comeback came and went -usually falling to a member of an older generation and often falling to one of his stable companions, Pilsudski or Singspiel - Entrepreneur is to rejoin the fray in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week.

Yesterday he worked well at the Berkshire track. Just how well is difficult to gauge. The names of the riders on his two Stoute-trained work companions are known -Kevin Bradshaw and Greville Starkey, but their mounts have not been disclosed. In the hands of Michael Kinane, the colt came from last to first in the home straight to finish eight to 10 lengths clear.

"I was pleased with that," Stoute said. "Entrepreneur needed a change. He has spent lots of time in Newmarket since the Derby. We'll be coming back to Ascot on Saturday week."

Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the defeat of Peintre Celebre in last Sunday's Prix Niel at Longchamp has taken a further turn with the colt's trainer, Andre Fabre, ordering the removal of a quartet of horses owned by the Niarchos family from his Chantilly yard.

Alan Cooper, representing the family, said: "The Niarchos family are complying with a request from Mr Fabre to remove the four horses they have in his stable on the grounds that it is not possible to have horses in training with someone who does not want them."

Peintre Celebre's jockey, Olivier Peslier, had blamed the tactics of Cash Asmussen, who was riding the Niarchos-owned Ithaki for the defeat of his mount in Sunday's Arc trial. Fabre has said he will no longer employ Asmussen on the Niarchos horses that he trains despite the fact that the Texan-born jockey has a retainer with the family.