Racing: Revoque takes Rodrigo route

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The Independent Online
Revoque , last year's champion juvenile, lost his unbeaten record in the Greenham Stakes here yesterday, but the least perturbed man on the racecourse was his owner Robert Sangster. After watching the handsome bay colt go down by a head to Yalaietanee in the last of the recognised 2,000 Guineas trials, the shrewd master of Manton expressed himself delighted with the performance.

Sangster said: "We're not at all worried. Not many of them can win everything, and today was not the big one. And I can tell you, he will be spot on for that. He is bone idle, and does nothing at home."

The vibes emanating from Peter Chapple-Hyam, Revoque's trainer, beforehand had indicated defeat would not be a surprise and, although the son of Fairy King looked well, there was clearly plenty to work on before the Guineas in 13 days' time.

The Greenham Stakes has a poor overall record as a trial, the last winner to go on to Guineas success being Wollow 21 years ago, but Sangster can take comfort from the fact that horses placed here often run prominently at Newmarket. Indeed the last Greenham runner to win the colt's Classic was his own Rodrigo De Triano, beaten into fourth place five years ago.

Yesterday, In Command led his five rivals until the final furlong, where Yalaietanee took over with Revoque in pursuit. And, while it must be acknowledged that John Reid was not at his most severe on the favourite and the drop back to seven furlongs will not have been in his favour, it was a smart performance by the winner, previously untested at this level but rated towards the top of the three-year-old pecking order in the stable of Michael Stoute, his trainer.

Stoute said: "That was very pleasing. The form of his maiden has not worked out very well and on the book, he had a lot to find. But we have always rated him highly and he has been working well."

The one caveat with Yalaietanee is that he must have cut in the ground - it was riding softer than the official good to firm yesterday - and he will be divert ed to Longchamp if the ground is fast at Newmarket. But Frankie Dettori, yesterday's winning rider, was impressed enough to advise Stoute: "If you get the rain, go for it."

Stoute, whose four-year-old filly Whitewater Affair gave Freemason Lodge a Pattern-race double with a gutsy win in the John Porter Stakes, has an embarrassment of riches where the Guineas are concerned. Desert Story, like Yalaietanee owned by Maktoum Al Maktoum, took the Craven Stakes on Thursday and in the wings is the Derby favourite Entrepreneur, reputedly top of the pile. Of the stablemates it was he whose Guineas price was significantly affected by yesterday's events; Michael Tabor's colt is now 4-1 joint favourite with Shamikh in Coral's 2,000 Guineas list. Stoute added: "We'll know more about where we stand after [Entrepreneur] works this week."

Several Derby fancies had their aspirations firmly quashed by Royal Amaretto in the Arlington International Racecourse Stakes. The white-faced colt, given a superbly judged ride by Olivier Peslier, came home nine lengths clear of Falak with King Sound a further eight away third, but is not entered at Epsom. "He's not a round the bend and downhill type of horse." said Brian Meehan, his trainer.

In the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, Belmont King proved that his enforced withdrawal from the real thing at Aintree was a blessing in disguise. The top-weight, trained by Paul Nicholls in Somerset, led throughout the second circuit and, despite a blunder at the last which Tony McCoy did well to sit, stayed on gamely to hold Samlee's persistent challenge.

Paul Carberry picked up a five-day ban after dropping his hands when booked for third place on Act The Wag, and was joined in the sin bin by Daryll Holland, who was stood down for a total of six days for two separate steering offences on Hunters Of Brora, first past the post in the Spring Cup Handicap at Newbury but subsequently disqualified.