Racing: Mission Australia for Tara

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The Independent Online
KAYF TARA duly completed his Irish St Leger double at the Curragh yesterday to give Godolphin its target 15th Group One win of the year and now starts his countdown to the Dubai-based team's assault on the southern hemisphere's top prize, the Melbourne Cup. The weather in Ireland was thoroughly unpleasant in human terms, with rain and wind lashing across the course, but the sodden ground was entirely to Kayf Tara's taste and the big Sadler's Wells five-year-old won as he pleased by eight lengths with Frankie Dettori's whip still sheathed.

Yavana's Pace, whose gallant but unavailing effort against a rival of such superior class caused him to drift across the course, was the closest pursuer, ahead of last year's runner-up Silver Patriarch and the Ascot Gold Cup winner Enzeli, who was unsuited by the underfoot conditions. It was a case of mission accomplished in most satisfactory style.

"His whole year, with his races spaced out, has been geared to the Melbourne Cup," said the Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "He would not have been ready for a race like that last year, but this year he is. He has developed into a very good horse indeed and he has got to have a good chance. He has top-weight, but we feel he has been fairly treated."

Kayf Tara, accompanied by his lead horse Central Park, will go into quarantine for the Australian venture before leaving for Melbourne on 11 October .

The Godolphin team will be looking towards a target closer to home today at Newbury, where last year's Derby winner High-Rise, still a possible contender for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in two weeks' time, makes his long-awaited British seasonal debut in the Arc Trial.

"He is in tremendous form and if he should run well today it will give us another option for Paris," said Crisford. The blues' King George winner Daylami is the big-race favourite, but is not yet a confirmed runner.

Kayf Tara was the 52nd winner at the top level world-wide for Sheikh Mohammed's squad and was the first of a three-pronged attack this weekend. Late last night Almutawakel, this year's sole success outside Europe, when he kept the Dubai World Cup at home, went down by a whisker to ex- English River Keen in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont and tonight in Canada Cape Cross flies the blue flag in the Atto Mile at Woodbine, Toronto. But the Godolphins may come up against an immovable object in the quest for number 16 in Europe this season at Ascot on Saturday, in Sendawar.

The one department where the Dubai-based team have cut little ice so far this year is with two-year-olds. The only Group winners among the 130 young colts and fillies (which include the as yet unraced Abshurr, who cost three million guineas at auction a year ago) under David Loder's care at Evry have been City On A Hill and Dignify.

There were no Godolphin runners in yesterday's two prestige two-year- old contests, the Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp and the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, nor will there be in the National Stakes back at the Curragh today.

The dominant force among the youngest generation of racehorses so far this year has been the Ballydoyle team overseen by Aidan O'Brien and nothing changed yesterday as Giant's Causeway made all the running under Dominic Boeuf to win the Salamandre. The seven-furlong Group One contest was the first real test for the chestnut son of Storm Bird and he came through it - and the testing ground - in exemplary fashion, coasting in by two lengths and the same from two British-trained colts, Race Leader and Bachir.

The Mill Reef Stakes, a six-furlong Group Two event which often produces a useful horse - Golden Silca and Arkadian Hero being the last two winners - went in spirited style to the favourite Primo Valentino. The Primo Dominie colt, owned by a group of a dozen patrons of Peter Harris's small but extremely competent stable near Tring, led virtually from the start and galloped on strongly to see off Trouble Mountain by a long-looking length and a half to complete his four-timer.

After the day's most valuable race, the Ayr Gold Cup, both Kieren Fallon and his fans will be blessing the fact that Ian Balding invoked a three- line whip to keep him in Grangeville's saddle. The champion jockey's name was linked last week with the runaway Portland Handicap winner Astonished but Balding, who has a claim on his services, insisted, and was proved right.

Fallon's strength kept Grangeville, the 11-1 second favourite, ahead of Evening Promise, Royal Result and Marsad in a blanket finish. Astonished, the 3-1 favourite failed to land the gamble as he came home in the ruck.

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