Racing: Rain required before Turtle can run: Deposed ante-post favourite likely to miss the 2,000 Guineas and Nicolotte ruled out by injury

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The Independent Online
As if to humour its debt-collecting sponsors, the 2,000 Guineas is expected to send many punters into the red this morning. Turtle Island, once the 3-1 ante-post favourite for the Classic, is unlikely to advance beyond the overnight declaration stage as the ground here continues to dry.

'If it was today, he'd run,' Peter Chapple-Hyam, the colt's trainer, said after hearing evidence from John Reid, jockey on the stable's Delta One, in the opening race. As anyone with a washing line knows, though, the warm, breezy conditions at Headquarters yesterday are perfect drying weather

'We will wait until the last minute,' Robert Sangster, Turtle Island's owner, said. 'We'd look absolute idiots if we said no and the heavens opened. But if it doesn't rain he's very unlikely to run, we wouldn't want to risk him.'

A definite non-runner tomorrow is Geoff Wragg's Nicolotte, who fractured a leg at exercise yesterday morning. 'It's not serious and there's no displacement, but he'll need three months off to recover,' the trainer reported.

Wragg's three-strong entry has now evaporated, but Sangster can fall back on Colonel Collins, a fast-ground performer, in tomorrow's Classic and also holds a small stake in another Chapple-Hyam runner, Golden Nashwan. Colonel Collins was strongly supported with Coral yesterday, and is 6-1 from 10-1. Also well-backed was State Performer who, like yesterday's narrow 1,000 Guineas runner-up Balanchine, is a former charge of Chapple-Hyam's who wintered in Dubai. He is 14-1 from 20-1 with Coral.

Crazy Paving, a rank outsider for the Guineas, won the opener here yesterday and may yet contest tomorrow's main event. A more likely Classic candidate, though, is Wind In Her Hair, who is 25-1 for the Oaks after defeating Wijdan in the Pretty Polly Stakes.

'She's been crying out for some sunshine,' John Hills, her trainer, said. 'She had a good blow after the race so she should come on.' Wijdan, a half-sister to Nashwan, was reportedly also in need of yesterday's race, and is another 25-1 chance for the Oaks. William Hill's market is headed by Bulaxie, a late absentee from the 1,000 Guineas, at 11-2, with Balanchine at 7-1, Moonlight Dance on 10-1, and 20-1 bar.

Less positive Epsom pointers were provided by Dover Straits and Airport, both Derby entries trained by John Gosden. The former finished second to Seismograph, another Dubai-based runner, in the maiden here, while Airport was beaten by Wishing in a conditions event at Salisbury.

Results, page 39

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