Racing: Injury scuppers Turtle plunge: Punters marooned as Chapple-Hyam colt treads water until York next week

THE hours leading up to the weekend's opening race are meant to be a time for cheerful optimism, before the day's first loser heralds a return to reality. Today punters are denied even that small comfort, thanks to the withdrawal of Turtle Island from the Group One Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville tomorrow.

This, of course, is the colt who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas by 15 lengths, such is his liking for a soft surface. Heavy rain at the Normandy track had been matched by floods of money for Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt in the ante-post book on the weekend's main event, but yesterday he was found to be lame.

It will be of little comfort to Turtle Island's supporters that the injury is sufficiently minor to make the International Stakes at York on Tuesday a possible alternative engagement. With typical insensitivity, the bookmakers quickly introduced him into the betting for that event, though Coral and Ladbrokes at least had the decency to add the 'with a run' proviso to their odds of 100-30 and 4-1 respectively. Hills prefer to target the incurable optimists with 8-1 all-in.

Though Turtle Island was favourite for the Jacques le Marois in some books, even without him the British challenge for the race down Deauville's straight mile remains strong. Sayyedati, winner of the race for Clive Brittain last year, will be joined by Barathea, Emperor Jones and Mehthaaf, though Francois Boutin's East Of The Moon, winner of both the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) and Prix de Diane (French Oaks) is expected to start favourite. Ski Paradise, to be ridden by the Japanese champion Yutake Take, Signe Divin, Lunafairy and Matelot complete the home team.

Deauville in August is as close as French racing gets to Royal Ascot but, in a country which phased out its own royalty two centuries ago, the month-long meeting is thankfully more about style than class. No such luck for British punters, who will be forced to make do with the 'French theme' to the day's racing at Newbury (probable translation: people in berets and hooped T-shirts selling overpriced baguettes and plonk).

Here, too, there is a name to make backers curse, as Henry Cecil's Red Route contests the card's feature event, the Group Two Geoffrey Freer Stakes. Red Route had a brief, inglorious day or two as a leading fancy for next week's Ebor Handicap, before Cecil made it clear that rather more prestigious assignments are anticipated for the three- year-old, in particular the St Leger. Success this afternoon against five experienced stayers would mark Red Route down as a live contender for the final Classic.

The most interesting race on the supporting card is, typically, not thought worthy of television time. The Yattendon Maiden Stakes is, almost without exception, the launch-pad for a useful two- year-old: former winners include Nashwan, while last year Pencader beat Hawajiss with a horse called Erhaab way down the field in 12th.

Peter Chapple-Hyam, Pencader's trainer, saddles Varnishing Day this afternoon, and all the yards worth mentioning also send representatives. Careful study of the promising also-rans will bring its reward in the weeks and months to come.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower