Racing: Muchea bounces back for Channon

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TORRENTIAL rain could not disguise the fact that Mick Channon was over the moon as Muchea bounced back from a disappointing run at Royal Ascot to take the feature race here yesterday, the Van Geest Criterion Stakes. The four-year-old Shalford colt took the pounds 20,000 Group Three prize by a head from last year's winner Ramooz, with Cool Edge third.

Muchea had finished last to Intikhab in the Queen Anne Stakes 12 days ago but was well suited by the drop in class and distance. David Harrison kept the chestnut, one of the outsiders at 16-1, covered as Hidden Meadow cut out the running before launching a perfectly timed challenge through the last of the seven furlongs.

Channon said: "I don't know why he ran so badly at Ascot, but he came back in good form so we decided to run here. He is so consistent, though, we can forgive him one bad race."

It seems a while since Tamure had his day of days when he ran a gallant second to Lammtarra in the Derby, but three years on he is still earning his keep. The six-year-old had two blank years after his Classic season and Sheikh Mohammed chose to dispose of him, for 47,000 guineas, at the sales last autumn.

Yesterday, on the easy ground he favours - he has not the best of legs - he recouped pounds 10,676 of his purchase price for his new Italian-based owners in the Fred Archer Stakes after a tactical ride by Kieren Fallon worthy of the eponymous 19th-century champion.

Now trained by Luca Cumani, Tamure led the field into the straight, at which point five of his six rivals tacked over to the far rail in search of allegedly better ground. Fallon stuck to his guns on the stands side (Why give away ground if you don't need to?) and approaching the final quarter of a mile it was apparent that he had the situation under control. Inside the last furlong the horse himself hung left towards the others but still had five lengths to spare over Taufan's Melody.

Tamure, still an entire and destined eventually for a stud career in Italy, may return to the July course for the Princess Of Wales Stakes in nine days' time.

The last two Derby runners-up are both in action today. City Honours, who chased home High-Rise at Epsom earlier this month, is one of ten going to post for the 133rd running of the Irish Derby at The Curragh, and Silver Patriarch, beaten an inch by Benny The Dip last year, bids to confirm his status as one of the season's best middle-distance four-year-olds in the afternoon's other Group One event, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Though the Irish Derby has a long heritage, it has only been a true championship during the post-war era and entered the top-level international circuit as recently as 1962 with its first sponsorship. Bright News, winner of the first level-weights running in 1946, picked up pounds 1,099 for his efforts; Tambourine, winner of the inaugural Irish Sweeps Derby, won pounds 50,027; and the victor this afternoon, in the 13th Budweiser-backed race, will take home pounds 426,000.

That would be a fair consolation prize should City Honours become the ninth Epsom runner-up since the war (from 22 who have tried) to go one better at the Co Kildare track.

But he will face stern opposition from Dream Well, the tenth winner of the Prix du Jockey-Club to come on to Ireland. Two - Assert and Old Vic - have previously completed the double; Dream Well will be trying to become the first French-based French Derby winner to do so. He will also be out to prove a point, as his trainer Pascal Bary is smarting over the fact that the international handicapper has valued his Chantilly performance below High-Rise's.

At Newcastle yesterday the 12-1 shot Cyrian gave his trainer Paul Cole a second successive Northumberland Plate Handicap victory. The four-year- old, ridden by Tim Sprake, led inside the final furlong and held the fast- finishing Rainbow Frontier (15-2) by half a length with the gambled-on 7-4 favourite Arctic Owl third and Opaque (16-1) fourth.

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