Racing: Guineas favourite swishes through to record

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The Independent Online
Bahhare, trained by John Dunlop, put three and a half lengths between himself and a talented field in the Champagne Stakes here yesterday, giving just the sort of performance that could persuade Willie Carson, his partner, to continue riding for one more season. The colt will also carry the hopes of many punters through the winter months before next year's 2,000 Guineas, for which he is now the 6-1 favourite. Those prepared to take such skinny odds will take further comfort from the fact that Willie Carson's mount completed the straight seven furlongs in a time which broke the course record set in 1967.

Less encouraging was the swish of the tail with which Bahhare responded to Carson's first crack of the whip. Some observers sensed the beginnings of an attitude problem, but Dunlop did not share the concern. "Willie's first comment was that he's just a bit of a baby," the trainer said. "I think that's the first time he's been hit and it just took him by surprise."

Bahhare's education is unlikely to continue this season. "I don't think we'll go for the Dewhurst, though we'll discuss it with Sheikh Hamdan [Bahhare's owner]. He's relatively backward still so I think that's the right decision."

The only disappointment in yesterday's contest was the absence of Revoque, withdrawn by Peter Chapple-Hyam as the ground continued to dry. His rest will be a brief one, however, as his alternative assignment will pit him against Andre Fabre's Zamindar, who at 12-1 is Bahhare's closest rival in the Guineas betting, in the Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp tomorrow. Zamindar was beaten for the first time in the Prix Morny last month, and his position in the Classic market will be untenable if he cannot cope with either Revoque or The West, who was third in the Gimcrack at York last time.

An exceptional card at Longchamp - much of which will be televised live on BBC2 - also includes France's three principal Arc trials, with two of the first three names in Arc betting taking part. Pentire, the King George winner, who is a 6-1 chance with William Hill to emulate Lammtarra and complete the Ascot-Longchamp double, contests the Prix Foy, while Helissio, 5-1 favourite for the Arc, races for the first time since June in the Prix Niel.

Elie Lellouche's colt, who has been beaten just once in his five races, will need to be close to peak fitness to repel the challenge of the Aga Khan's Darazari, a 10-1 chance for next month's race, and Peter Chapple- Hyam's Polaris Flight, runner-up in both the Irish and French Derbys. The Group One Prix Vermeille, meanwhile, has attracted 10 entries including Bint Salsabil (Dunlop), Papering (Luca Cumani) and Zafzala (John Oxx) to take on Fabre's Miss Tahiti and Tulipa.

Bahhare's was not the only performance of note from a juvenile at Town Moor yesterday. Cape Cross, the winner of a maiden which often pinpoints a useful prospect, quickened well to beat the debutant Shaya. The latter, trained by Dick Hern, had found some ante-post backers for the Guineas before even setting foot on a racecourse. Both names are ones to remember.