Racing: Fabre's Derby focus

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ANDRE FABRE has been bloated by big race success, but his appetite is acutely keen for the one major European race to elude him, the Derby. Yesterday came further evidence that France's champion trainer may soon be sated when Pennekamp won the Dewhurst Stakes. The colt is now as low as 12-1 with Ladbrokes for Epsom.

'My greatest excitement is that he could be a Derby horse' Fabre said, 'he is a very easy horse to train. He is very laid back, quiet, and he does nothing wrong. He is the good pupil of the class.

'On breeding and the way he is acting he will get a mile and he should also get a mile and a half. He has the speed and the temperament for the Derby and I think it is the first time I have trained a horse like him.'

Fabre also supervises another outstanding juvenile for Sheikh Mohammed in Goldmark, though he refuses to be drawn into comparisons with his horses. 'They are like my children and you don't rate children.'

Pennekamp is rated elsewhere as also a live contender for the 2,000 Guineas, which may be his first race next season. He is 7-1 joint-favourite for the first colts' Classic with Coral, jointly with Sri Pekan, whose trainer, Paul Cole, saddled the Dewhurst runner-up, Green Perfume. Cole, however, like Fabre, thinks of Pennekamp more as a Derby horse and is not unduly worried by the prospect of this French opposition over the Rowley Mile. 'I don't think he looks sharp enough for a Guineas,' Cole said.

Also at Newmarket, came news that one of racing's oldest benchmarks is under renewed threat, following Lanfranco Dettori's decision to cancel his intended sojourn in Hong Kong this winter. The young Italian reported that he was exhausted both mentally and physically and needed a break.

However, Dettori suggested that he would find further vigour if the chance to break Gordon Richards's domestic record, of 269 winners in the 1947 season, presented itself. Following Desert Shot's victory yesterday the champion elect is on 228, 41 winners behind Richards.

The partnership between jockey Jason Weaver and trainer Mark Johnston is splitting up. Weaver, it was disclosed last night, is turning freelance, though he will still ride occasionally for Johnston. The 22-year-old rider will, however, be seen more often on mounts supplied by Luca Cumani, David Loder and Roger Charlton.

1995 2,000 GUINEAS: Coral: 7-1 Sri Pekan, 7-1 Pennekamp, 14-1 Eltish, Chilly Billy, Celtic Swing; Ladbrokes: 6-1 Sri Pekan, 7-1 Pennekamp, 8-1 Celtic Swing, 12-1 Green Perfume, Chilly Billy; William Hill: 7-1 Sri Pekan, 8-1 Pennekamp, 10-1 Celtic Swing, 12-1 Chilly Billy, 14-1 Eltish.