Racing: Good ground for taking Grand value: Island returns as conditions come right for a true decider between some evenly matched milers
Saturday 27 August 1994
Since that stroll at The Curragh in May, he has appeared only once, when third to Grand Lodge on unsuitably fast ground in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, and in his absence other milers, particularly East Of The Moon and Distant View, have muscled him aside in the memory. If Turtle Island is to receive the credit he deserves when the season closes, he will need to assert himself once again this autumn.
That campaign begins at Goodwood today, when Turtle Island runs for the first time in 75 days in the Celebration Mile. Grand Lodge is again among his opponents, as are Mehthaaf, the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, and Swing Low, who won the Milelast year, but the bookmakers have shown little hesitation in making Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt the favourite today, at around 2-1.
It is a price which says as much about the esteem in which Turtle Island's trainer is held as the perceived merit of that run in Ireland. After all, though Grand Lodge was almost 20 lengths behind him on the heavy going at The Curragh, on the fast ground of summer which has frustrated Chapple-Hyam's plans for Turtle Island, Grand Lodge has performed with distinction.
Today's good going should offer no advantage to either side, but with September almost upon us, it is not a situation which is likely to arise again. This may prove to be the definitive meeting between these two excellent colts, and while Grand Lodge might prefer a stiffer mile, at the odds on offer he must be the selection for punters seeking value (with only seven runners, an each-way bet makes no appeal).
Expect a much shorter price about Midnight Legend, who is ante-post second favourite for the St Leger two weeks today despite the fact that this afternoon's appearance in the March Stakes is his first step beyond handicap company. The precedent on which his long-range supporters are relying is Commanche Run, who was also steered through handicaps by Luca Cumani prior to his success in the final Classic.
Yet placing great emphasis on handicap form when assessing a Pattern contest is risky at best. While Midnight Legend is certainly a useful and improving three-year-old, his prominence in the Leger betting may reflect little more than the desperation of bookies (and punters) to find an alternative to Red Route, the Henry Cecil-trained 2-1 favourite.
Opposition to Midnight Legend today appears thin, but one horse who might upset him is Golden Ball. Michael Stoute's colt won for the first time at Ascot recently, but backers with good memories will recall him running seventh behind Erhaab in the Derby, and Michael Stoute's colt has long seemed likely to show his best form when sent beyond 12 furlongs.
Stoute's string is in excellent form at present, and yesterday the trainer picked up Group Three wins in both Britain and Germany. Cezanne took the Spreti-Rennen at Baden-Baden, while Pure Grain outstayed Tajannub, the favourite, to take the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea players allowed 20 minutes to celebrate, says Jose Mourinho after Capital One Cup victory
Diego Costa keeps coin thrown at him during Capital One Cup final
Liverpool vs Manchester City match report: Stunners from Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson sink Manuel Pellegrini's side
Arsenal 2 Everton 0 player ratings: Who scored highest at the Emirates?
Eden Hazard didn't like the champagne on offer in the Chelsea dressing room
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...