Glory Of Dancer's victory was rich vindication for his trainer, Paul Kelleway. "Kelloggs" never sells his horses short and yesterday's runner was sent in to bat on the customary wave of hyperbole. Even Kelleway, though, must have had doubts as the race unfolded. His bay was hemmed in for much of the journey as Jack Jennings set a ponderous pace.
Four furlongs out the field went screaming through the gears, a race pattern more familiar in France than Britain. This rather suited Glory Of Dancer's jockey, a chap by the name of Olivier Peslier. The 23-year- old Frenchman gradually eased his mount to the centre of the course before bursting to the front and holding the late thrust of Dushyantor. "I was worried when they went no gallop that he [Peslier] would get impatient, but he kept his cool," Kelleway said. "He didn't panic."
The trainer took over Glory Of Dancer at the beginning of the year following the horse's juvenile campaign in Italy. Kelleway's Shalfleet yard in New- market has gained something of a reputation as a sanatorium following his exploits with another ex-Italian horse, Pelder, and Glory Of Dancer too has had his problems.
The colt has had cartilages removed from his knees and one joint is lower than the other. This hardly makes him the most balletic of figures on the gallops. Newmarket has its share of morning glories but this beast is a morning slob. "If you saw him at home you'd never fancy him," Kelleway said. "He's lazy, he slops along and he looks lame all the time. But he has got an engine and a turn of foot, and that's the difference between a brilliant horse and an ordinary one.
"He's a chunky, rough and tumble sort of horse and I think he'll suit Epsom."
Peslier will keep the ride in the Derby despite the fact that he has never ridden around Tattenham Corner. The jockey is hardly trembling at the thought of negotiating Epsom's contours as he has experience of undulating tracks. As a youngster he rode in pony races at Craon, west of Paris, around circuits that were more suited to motorcycle scrambling than equine activity.
This was Peslier's first win in Britain aboard a horse he considers the best he has ever ridden, which is no small claim as he has also piloted Freedom Cry and last year's Irish Derby winner, Winged Love.
As the first six home were covered by just over three lengths there were plenty willing to speculate that the order could be juggled in the Blue Riband. Certainly there was much to admire about the performance of the inexperienced Dushyantor, especially as his trainer, Henry Cecil, felt the colt had been set a task from the back of the field that Hercules would have rejected.
The disappointment of the race was the much-vaunted Nash House and this was felt most keenly by his trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam. The man from Manton was so upset he refused to present himself for interrogation.
John Reid, the colt's jockey, did however offer his thoughts. "I can't believe he's run like that," he said. "He's definitely the best of ours at home. He came there cantering and he just cut out on me. I wouldn't be surprised if there was something wrong with him."
This prognosis looked particularly relevant as Nash House was close to collapse in the unsaddling area. The racecourse vet had to be called.
By then, though, the attention was on the winning trainer, the man who looks as though he has just undergone root-canal treatment. The lantern- jawed Kelleway was talking of his great horses of the past, his great achievements with cheaply bought animals. "They don't deal me many cards," he said, "but I always get an ace." In this blizzard of euphoria it seemed misplaced to mention that this was his first winner of the season.
THE DERBY (Epsom, 8 June):
Coral: 5-1 Glory Of Dancer, 11-2 Even Top, 7-1 Dushyantor & Mark Of Esteem, 8-1 Alhaarth;
Ladbrokes: 5-1 Glory Of Dancer, 6-1 Even Top & Mark Of Esteem, 7-1 Dushyantor, 8-1 Alhaarth, 12-1 King Alex, 14-1 Nash House, 16-1 Dr Massini, Shaamit, 20-1 Astor Place, Storm Trooper; 25-1 Grape Tree Road, St Mawes;
William Hill: 5-1 Glory Of Dancer, 11-2 Dushyantor, Even Top & Mark Of Esteem, 8-1 Alhaarth, 12-1 King Alex, 14-1 Nash House, 16-1 Shaamit, Spinning World, 20-1 Astor Place, 25-1 Jack Jennings, Mons, 33-1 Dr Massini, Kammtarra, Legal Right, Mystic Knight, Sacho, Silver Dome, St Mawes, Storm Trooper, Supreme Commander;
Tote: 5-1 Glory Of Dancer, 6-1 Dushyantor, Even Top, 7-1 Alhaarth, 8- 1 Mark Of Esteem, 10-1 King Alex, 14-1 Astor Place, 20-1 Jack Jennings, Shaamit, Spinning World, Storm Trooper.Reuse content