Racing / Glorious Goodwood: Bleeding kills the Zafonic dream: Admirers of Fabre's fallen idol have been left with only memories of greatness by his retirement from the European scene: Richard Edmondson reports from Goodwood

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A DREAM died yesterday with the announcement that Zafonic, the horse once thought to be taking racing to new heights, will never again be seen by European racegoers.

Andre Fabre's colt, who burst blood vessels when finishing seventh in Wednesday's Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, is either to continue his racing career in the drug-assisted medium of American racing or embark on a new vocation in the breeding sheds. The colt leaves behind the tantalising memory of what he might have achieved in the shape of staggering performances in last season's Dewhurst Stakes and this year's 2,000 Guineas.

The end for Zafonic unfolded soon after the second defeat of his career 48 hours ago. 'Zafonic was actually scoped within an hour of the race and the horse had bled significantly,' Grant Pritchard-Gordon, racing manager to the colt's owner, Khalid Abdullah, said. 'Bleeding is obviously stress related and maybe the stress of running on ground which he didn't appreciate caused it.

'We are left with two options. We can consider a further racing career for the horse in America, where we would have to consider the use of medication if he were to bleed again, or we will have to consider retiring the horse to stud. A decision will be made in the next few days.'

If Zafonic is to redeem himself in the United States it will be with Bobby Frankel, who has already revived the careers of two Abdullah Classic winners, Quest For Fame and Toulon, but the messages are that this is the end.

Mister Baileys, on the other hand, has it all in front of him. Mark Johnston's colt entered the 1994 2,000 Guineas reckoning when he emerged out of Goodwood's Jack The Ripper weather yesterday to capture the Champagne Stakes.

Mister Baileys has been damned with the faint praise of being the best horse trained in the north, but Johnston for one expects him to make a mark in a broader realm. 'He's better than anything else in the yard of any age and what makes him so exciting is that he should stay a trip and he has got so much speed,' he said.

The forte of Sonus, the Goodwood Cup winner, is stamina and he benefited from the application of a visor to hoist his owner, Sheikh Mohammed, above Khalid Abdullah in the number of European pattern races won this year.

Sonus also benefited from a poised ride from Pat Eddery, who cajoled him into the lead close home. 'Pat thinks like a horse sometimes,' John Gosden, the winning trainer, said. This was meant to be a compliment.

Jeff Smith, the owner, proved that the fairies are still at the bottom of his garden when Lochsong and Philidor, who gave him a double at this meeting 12 months ago, repeated the feat.

Lochsong and Paris House made the King George Stakes a race to remember, sprinting from the start as if a pistol had been fired behind them at the stalls. At the end there was just a rifle's barrel-length between them.

Philidor won by an even narrower margin to give the claimer Neil Kennedy a memorable victory as he repelled his seniors Pat Eddery and Ray Cochrane.

Kennedy's other christian name is Armstrong, which gives some idea as to what his mother was doing when man first set foot on the moon, and the jockey himself beat the hacks to a pertinent line for the occasion. 'I was interviewed by a newspaper on my sixth birthday and I told them I wanted to be an astronaut,' he said. 'I'm glad I didn't now, but sometimes on these horses you feel as if you're up in the air anyway.'

(Photograph omitted)

Comments