Racing: Patriarch to justify the praise

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The Independent Online
Of all the excesses unloaded by Thatcherism in the 1980s one of the most striking in racing was Lingfield's domination of the Derby trials. While the Lady was not for turning during that decade, the course always was and its contorting resemblance to Epsom led several trainers to audition their best horses at the track. Many were rewarded.

During the 1980s, Lingfield winners Cacoethes and Mashkour ran into the frame at Epsom, while Kahyasi, Slip Anchor and Teenoso actually triumphed in the Derby itself. Since then though, Lingfield's significance has not so much waned as evaporated altogether. No horse this decade has gone on from its Blue Riband Trial to finish in the first five in the Derby. Twelve have tried.

Today's class of '97 contains five horses, four of them entered for the Derby, two of which have been arousing ante-post interest this week. The name of Tanaasa, a stablemate of Entrepreneur, was patted out on the tom- toms of the bookmaker's bush telegraph after Michael Stoute's team had exercised on Newmarket's Racecourse Side on Wednesday. As a consequence, he was cut for the Derby by Coral, who have also reduced Silver Patriarch.

The grey was only third of six on his seasonal debut in Sandown's Classic Trial, but positive noises have been emanating from the mouths of his trainer, John Dunlop, and rider, Pat Eddery, this week. The chance of Silver Patriarch (next best 3.00) is clear, which is more than can be said about the movements of Frankie Dettori. The Italian retired unwell after a single race at Lingfield yesterday and went straight home to the duvet. A decision on whether he partners Papua in today's trial comes this morning.

Lochangel, who was part of Dettori's seven at Ascot last year, contests the first televised race but may struggle to contain Baked Alaska (2.00), whose trainer, Alec Stewart, is due another winner now that Mtoto has gone into retirement. Just five go to post for the Oaks trial, and two of those have already been Sandown victims, by 10 lengths and more, of UKRAINE VENTURE (nap 2.30).

Britain fields three in tomorrow's Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Longchamp. The best of them is one of the reasons why Peter O'Sullevan is retiring, Yalaietanee. He attempts to make Michael Stoute the first trainer to win the opening colts' Classic in both Britain and France since Guy Harwood with To Agori Mou and Recitation in 1981.

Yalaietanee's form looks no less scruffy following the Newmarket performance of his Greenham Stakes victim, Revoque. Also involved are Godolphin's Bahamian Bounty and the chattiest of Clive Brittain's talking horses this year, Fantastic Fellow. Dear Clive may still be recovering from his colt's failure to carry off the Eurovision Song Contest last weekend.

Team Britain supply five of the seven runners for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas). Godolphin send out Nightbird and Star Profile, while Seebe, Dances With Dreams and Mark Prescott's Red Camellia complete the battery. The last-named is hardly surfing across La Manche on a tide of expectation. "My worries would be whether she is good enough and whether she will handle the soft ground," Prescott said. Apart from that, everything is covered.

Despite the visitors' strength, the favourites are the home pair. Mousse Glacee will be trying to overturn recent form with the unbeaten Always Loyal, whom Criquette Head has referred to as "my secret weapon".