Racing: Haydock Storm brews as Holland vanishes

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The Independent Online
ONE OF Britain's leading jockeys was missing on the Continent last night despite his surname. Darryll Holland, the youngest man to ride for the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club in the former colony, was uncontactable in Sweden, where he had missed rides on a notable card.

Holland, 27, arrived in Scandinavia on Saturday night in preparation for competition at Jagersro racecourse in Malmo, at the southernmost tip of Sweden. Nothing has been heard of him since.

The Mancunian had travelled abroad on Saturday evening from Heathrow with Mark Johnston, for whom he was to ride Gaelic Storm in a Listed race, the Zawawi Baltic Cup. The two men completed their journey by hydrofoil, but that was the last they saw of each other.

"I left the hotel this morning at about 8.30am to go to the track to see the horse," Johnston said yesterday evening from Amsterdam as he was about to board the last leg of his return journey to Newcastle.

"I haven't seen him since last night, since we checked in. I didn't realise I had a problem until about 40 minutes before the race. One of the trainers [who had also booked Holland] was panicking for a later ride and he telephoned the hotel. They reckoned he had left three hours earlier. But the racecourse is only 10 minutes from the hotel.

"We have to hope that nothing has happened to him and that he hasn't had an accident of some sort. If he hasn't had an accident then we will have to think about that when we find out what has happened to him.''

Johnston's substitute for Holland was the Swedish champion, Kim Andersen, but even his local knowledge was not enough.

"I got a replacement and I can't say the jockey did anything wrong whatsoever," the trainer said. "The horse finished third in a race which, on form, he should have won by half the track. But it's difficult to tell when the chap has never ridden him before.

"There are question marks about the form and the biggest one of all is that he had a strange jockey on board.''

There were no such worries for another trainer, in Ireland, yesterday. Aidan O'Brien was able to welcome Michael Kinane to the racecourse at Leopardstown and also welcome him back from a ride of considerable skill on Fasliyev in the Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes, the first juvenile Group One event of the season.

Fasliyev became the ante-post favourite for the 2,000 Guineas after his victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but had subsequently relinquished that crown of thorns to his stablemate Bernstein.

His form explained his price yesterday and the son of Nureyev was sent off an odds-on favourite despite having to labour in ground turned very soft by a serious downpour. All looked well nevertheless until the latter stages, when Fasliyev, the property of Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier, hung badly left inside the final furlong.

"He struggled a bit on the ground when I let him down," Kinane reported. "He dived across, but picked up well again when I got him straightened.''

Fasliyev has now won all four of his starts, but will not be helped into the hammock. "He wants racing now and he could go for the Prix Morny or something like the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster," O'Brien said. "He had got very relaxed at home since winning at Ascot, and probably wasn't concentrating there, though he won well enough after losing so much ground.''

There was victory too for another odds-on favourite, in France, when Godolphin's Diktat performed his customary late rally to capture the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

Frankie Dettori's mount beat the home side's Gold Away, with John Gosden's Bertolini, partnered by Gary Stevens, back in third. "They went very fast early on," Dettori said, "but then they came back to me as expected and we won a bit cosily.''

Elsewhere on the Deauville card, Olivier Peslier's mount Hijaz passed the post first, but was demoted. Peter Chapple-Hyam's String Quartet, ridden by Richard Hughes, was awarded first place. A four-day ban was imposed on Peslier, starting on the first day of next week's big meeting at York. Peslier intends to appeal.