Racing: Yalaietanee switches to France

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The racecourse commentator at Newmarket will sleep a little more easily tonight. Not only have two runners defected from one of the largest fields for the 2,000 Guineas for many years, but one of them, Yalaietanee, would have required verbal gymnastics of Olympic standard for the commentator to have mentioned him more than twice over the course of the Rowley Mile.

Yalaietanee, along with the Clive Brittain-trained Fantastic Fellow, now heads to France on Sunday week and the softer option - in every sense - of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas). His absence leaves Michael Stoute, his trainer, with two runners with which to pursue a third success in the first colts' Classic tomorrow. It remains a formidable team, with the big-race talking horse, Entrepreneur, lining up alongside his stable-mate, the Craven Stakes winner Desert Story.

Stoute had consulted Yalaietanee's owner, Maktoum Al Maktoum, in whose colours Desert Story also runs, before deciding on which horses would attempt to supplement his 2,000 victories with Shadeed (1985) and Doyoun (1988).

Yesterday, the Sheikh's racing manager, Joe Mercer, said: "Why jeopardise a horse like Yalaietanee on fast ground when he will be better with a bit more cut? The ground at Newmarket will be good, fast ground, but it will be fast ground.

"It has been a scorching day today and any watering they have done today will have been absorbed, so Yalaietanee will go to France. Ray Cochrane will ride Desert Story on Saturday and we would like to get Frankie Dettori for Yalaitanee if he is available."

Fantastic Fellow, winner of France's principal Guineas trial for colts, the Prix Djebel, on his seasonal debut last month, had been left in at Newmarket in case the field for the Classic cut up.

But after consultation with Prince Ahmed Salman, mastermind of the Thoroughbred Corporation, in whose colours Fantastic Fellow runs, Brittain has opted for Longchamp. "John Reid will ride him. John has a lot of experience round there and will ride him in work on Saturday," Brittain said.

Revoque, who lost his unbeaten record when second to Yalaietanee in the Greenham Stakes in their Classic prep, was the colt in demand with the bookmakers yesterday. The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained colt is now 7-2 favourite, from 4-1, with Coral after sustained support.

The firm also shortened Criquette Head's Pas De Reponse for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas. The filly is now 4-1 joint second favourite with Godolphin's Moonlight Paradise.

The market is likely to be stirred again today when the first Godolphin runners of the season take to the track at Newmarket. The benefits of the winter sunshine of Dubai will be put to the test by Haltarra, Lammtarra's half-brother, in the Newmarket Stakes, a Derby trial, by Tulipa in the Jockey Club Stakes and by Zahir in the finale. Those who fancy Moonlight Paradise or, in the 2,000, Shamikh should consider stepping into the ring now.

2,000 Guineas Coral: 7-2 Revoque, 4-1 Entrepreneur, 9-2 Shamikh, 7-1 Hidden Meadow, 9-1 Putra, 12-1 Poteen, 14-1 others.

1,000 Guineas. Coral: 10-3 Sleepytime, 4-1 Moonlight Paradise & Pas de Reponse, 9-1 Reams of Verse, 10-1 Yashmak, 12-1 Dance Parade, 14-1 others.

Yesterday's results, page 31