Racing: Little to detain Revoque on the road to Epsom

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The Independent Online
In France, live coverage of racing is sparse at best, while in the United States, it is almost unheard of, so this must be the perfect day to celebrate one of the benefits of being a punter in the British Isles. Anyone with a television will be able to watch 12 races, while those who pay their monthly subs to that nice Mr Murdoch can receive another eight this evening.

The first instinct on discovering that it will be possible to enjoy the equivalent of three entire meetings without leaving the sofa is to let out a holler, head straight for the nearest bookie and fill out a series of accumulator bets of such size, complexity and optimism that anyone who passes one over the counter should be offered counselling. Another way of looking at today's action is that while 20 winners will pass across the screen, they will be followed by 181 losers, and anyone who plans to remain solvent until nightfall will need to exercise restraint.

One excellent reason to do so, in fact, is that Revoque (4.10) is surely going to win a fourth Irish 2,000 Guineas in five years for Peter Chapple- Hyam, his trainer, at the Curragh tomorrow, albeit at cramped odds given that none of his rivals come into the race with form which might put them within half a dozen lengths of Robert Sangster's colt. Assuming that all goes to plan, Revoque will then head to the Derby at Epsom a fortnight today, where he is likely to start second-favourite to Entrepreneur, who beat him in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

From a punting point of view, today's Irish 1,000 Guineas at the same track is far more appealing, with Oh Nellie and Dazzle, runner-up and third to Sleepytime at Newmarket, leading the British challenge against six home-trained runners. The best of these appears to be Strawberry Roan, who represents Aidan O'Brien, but nothing in her form suggests she is good enough to win, and while Dazzle has been backed recently to reverse Newmarket form with Oh Nellie (3.55), she was annoyingly inconsistent last year and Neville Callaghan's filly is the one to be on.

The best place to start the search for winners at home is Doncaster, with an intriguing conditions event. There are several races which claim to be the last worthwhile Derby trial, but this one is surely the genuine article, with Stowaway, Godolphin's first runner since their post-York shutdown, and Paul Cole's Isle Of Man attempting to secure a place at Epsom.

"Obviously we wouldn't be running the horses [Swiss Law contests the Heron Stakes at Kempton] unless we thought they were 100 per cent OK," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said yesterday, "but the stable has been out of form and I would urge punters to watch and wait, as they would with any other stable."

It is a warning to take to heart, but since Isle Of Man has yet to run this season, it could pay to look elsewhere for the winner. LAWAHIK (nap 4.20), whose recent winning form was franked at the Dante meeting, should be the one to benefit, and the prospects are not good for Godolphin's other runner either, since Among Men (3.35), who showed great promise at Newmarket last time, will be very difficult to beat.

As for the handicaps, treat them with caution, not least at Haydock where the rain-softened ground is an added imponderable, but Shining Dancer (next best 4.05) should go close at Kempton, while Waypoint (3.20 Doncaster) and Amyas (3.00 Haydock) who has form on the soft, are others to consider.