Racing: Patterns of history point to Tabook: Past successes pave the way for Alex Scott's progressive sprinter in today's feature event at York

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The Independent Online
PUNTERS tend not to believe in coincidence, preferring instead to see patterns and signs which map out a path to prosperity. It is a view of the racing world which will suffer a fatal blow if Tabook fails to win the William Hill Trophy at York this afternoon.

Consider the following: Tabook's sire, Cadeaux Genereux, won the corresponding race six years ago (and, for good measure, the sprint at Newmarket in which Tabook recorded his most recent success). Alex Scott, Tabook's trainer, also took this valuable handicap three years ago, with the subsequent Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, Sheikh Albadou. Same trainer, same preparation, a win in the race every three years - it seems too obvious.

And perhaps it is. Though Tabook has been entered for the July Cup (1989 winner: Cadeux Genereux), Scott is unconvinced that Tabook can take the pattern much further. 'I hope that the horse can progress through the season, but we haven't seen any signs that he's going to do what either of the others has done. But he's very tough, every bit as much as both of them, so that's encouraging.' Whatever the future may hold, even a 7lb penalty for his latest success seems unlikely to stop Tabook taking the sequence one stage further this afternoon.

Tabook apart, today's cards are thoroughly prosaic, predictably so given the imminence of the Royal meeting. Betting on next week's feature races was brisk yesterday, with Ladbrokes reporting money for Distant View (6-1 from 8-1) in the St James's Palace Stakes on the opening day. Turtle Island eased slightly, to 11-8 from 5-4, in the same contest, while Las Meninas, the 1,000 Guineas winner, shades Mehthaaf, who beat her in the Irish equivalent, by a quarter-point in the same firm's list for the Coronation Stakes on Wednesday. The current odds are: 9-4 Las Meninas, 5-2 Mehthaaf, 4-1 Relatively Special, 10-1 Lemon Souffle, 12-1 bar.

British interest in the weekend's big race on the Continent, the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly tomorrow, evaporated earlier this week when Neville Callaghan's Fairy Heights was scratched. From a less partisan point of view, though, the Classic offers an interesting rematch between the first three home in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas), East Of The Moon, Agathe and Belle Argentine.

Since then, Belle Argentine has been purchased by Godolphin Racing, the Dubai-based arm of Sheikh Mohammed's operation, and will thus carry the same jockey (Lanfranco Dettori) and colours as last week's Oaks winner, Balanchine. If all patterns were repeated, though, there would be no bookmakers, and East Of The Moon, who even in victory at Longchamp showed distinct signs of inexperience, can be expected to confirm her superiority.

PRIX DE DIANE HERMES (1m 2f 110yd, Chantilly, tomorrow): Cheyenne Dream (F Boutin) Pat Eddery; Kalajana (A de Royer-Dupre) G Mosse; Her Ladyship (A Fabre) T Jarnet; Sierre Madre (P Bary) D Boeuf; Belle Argentine (H Ibrahim, UAE) L Dettori; East Of The Moon (F Boutin) C Asmussen; Shahmiad (V Valiani, It) F Jovine; Truly A Dream (R Collet) W Mongil; Agathe (A Fabre) O Peslier.

BETTING: evens East Of The Moon, 4-1 Agathe, 11-2 Belle Argentine & Her Ladyship (coupled), 7-1 Kalajana, 8-1 Cheyenne Dream, 10-1 Shahmiad, 14-1 Sierra Madre, 16 Truly a Dream.