Racing: Revoque in a run for the money

A dramatic performance turned round the Classic picture yesterday. The Goodwood executive would have hoped their Predominate Stakes, which they continue to purport is a Derby trial, was the vehicle for the transformation but the definitive action came in the even more sparsely populated arena of a morning gallop at Manton.

Revoque was the figurehead in Wiltshire, shrugging off his trademark morning lethargy to establish himself as a definite contender for both the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Sunday and the Derby. Less shimmering targets will be considered for his galloping partner, Romanov. "They've both been declared for the Irish Guineas but Revoque will run," Peter Chapple-Hyam, who trains the colts, said. "Revoque is in very good form and it is all systems go with him for the Curragh and then Epsom.

"Romanov will run in Ireland only if something goes wrong with Revoque. They worked very well. John Reid rode Romanov and one of the lads was on Revoque because he is so lazy at home and needs knowing.''

This was welcome news to Reid. "I'm pleased he's running in Ireland because I think he'll win," he said. "It won't be detrimental to his Derby chance because he's tough and he'd need a gallop on a race-track anyway so why not get paid for having a run? It's not as if he's had a hard life. He's been dossing at home all winter so it's time he got out and did something.''

Cashmans, the Irish bookmakers, believe Chapple-Hyam will win his fourth Curragh Guineas in the last six years following the exploits of Rodrigo De Triano, Turtle Island and Spectrum, and reduced Revoque to 5-4 from 7-4 for his mission. Cashmans then go 5-1 Desert King and Zamindar.

The boys at Manton may soon be able to sneak in a few lie-ins as the boss is away on foreign sorties. Panama City and Single Empire represent Chapple-Hyam in Sunday's Italian Derby, while Voyagers Quest is a runner in the French Derby.

Goodwood's contribution to Epsom's equivalent may be Grapeshot, who won the Predominate without exactly giving himself a stitch yesterday. He has yet to fully wriggle into the probable category however.

The Sussex Downs were a depressing backdrop to yesterday's fare as clouds took their leave of Trundle Hill only just before racing. Grapeshot nevertheless managed to generate lather on his belly in the parade ring and another disastrous indication for paddock judges was that Running Stag too was spotted with moisture. The sweaters went on to fill the frame.

Grapeshot is owned by a syndicate of eight including Bob and Gina Goldhammer, the Dunkin' Donuts franchise holders. The conditions may have been dreary for most, but for Mr Goldhammer they were pure bliss. "This is a beautiful place compared with New York City," he said. "I think Luca [Cumani, the winning trainer] will be very happy.''

Cumani is not happy about running at Epsom, though. "In a normal year and an open Derby I would say let's go, but in a year like this when the first two spots aren't available it might be tempting to think again," he said. "Grapeshot always looked like a horse who would stay and today gave an indication that one and a half miles shouldn't be a problem. But I take the view that the Derby is a foregone conclusion. It's a two-horse race with Entrepreneur in front and Revoque chasing him."

Cumani's is a popular assumption, but John Reid vocalised better the foibles of the turf. "It doesn't often go the way the story is written and if it did there would be no bookies and no sport," he said. "It is very unusual to hear people predicting that the first and second in one race will fill the same places in another, especially when they're both Classics. It doesn't usually go by the book."

DERBY (Epsom, 7 June): Coral: evens Entrepreneur, 5-1 Revoque, 7-1 Silver Patriarch, 8-1 Benny The Dip, 14-1 Grapeshot, 16-1 Fahris; Ladbrokes: 4-5 Entrepreneur, 5-1 Revoque, 7-1 Benny The Dip, 8-1 Silver Patriarch, 16-1 Fahris & Grapeshot; William Hill: evens Entrepreneur, 5-1 Revoque, 7-1 Silver Patriarch, 8-1 Benny The Dip, 16-1 Fahris, 20-1 Grapeshot.