Racing: Laurentide a breaking force

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The Independent Online
IT IS UNFORTUNATE for Silver Patriarch that he was not born with an abnormally long nose. Had that been the case, he would surely now be enjoying himself at stud, probably in Japan, fawned over in every waking hour for being that rarest of creatures, a Derby winner.

But he still had three inches or so to make up on Benny The Dip when they flashed past the post at Epsom two years ago, and though he was ahead in the very next stride, and won the St Leger three months later, breeders do not value such things so highly. As a result, he faces yet another season in races designed to suck every last drop of perspiration from him, and in anything but Group One events he can expect to be giving weight away too.

His loss, though, is the punters' gain. Silver Patriarch always takes a while to get going, but his supporters can be fairly certain that he will appear on the heels of the leaders as they pass the two-furlong pole. As often as not, his relentless gallop is enough to get him home.

But his life is not going to get any easier, and this could be the day when a new order is established among the stayers. Silver Patriarch will probably start favourite for the Yorkshire Cup this afternoon, but there are some improving and unexposed horses lined up against him, Laurentide (next best 3.10) in particular.

The Henry Cecil-trained colt has not seen a track since finishing a close second at Royal Ascot last year, but that was an impressive performance, and just as importantly, came on an easy surface.

The going could be very significant this afternoon, and it would be unwise to back anything without form on the soft ground. Warningford (2.35), who won in the mud last time out, fits the bill in the Duke of York Stakes, while Return Of Amin (2.05), another with form on an easy surface, could be the one in the opening handicap.

Beat All, the Derby favourite, missed yesterday's Dante Stakes when the ground turned soft, but he could be an even shorter price for the Classic this evening if Mukhalif, who was behind him at Newmarket recently, wins the Glasgow Stakes. The interesting runner here, though, must be MIGRATION (nap 3.40), who won his only race to date on soft ground at Bath last month. He did so in a good time, and in what looks a very open year, he is well worth a bet at around 33-1 for the Derby.