Beauty deflates Ballydoyle's Derby build-up

Although the two Classics at Epsom this weekend, the Derby and the Oaks, are rightly at the forefront of anticipation, there are so many other facets to the sport, not least the quest to find a successor to the peerless Yeats. The exploits of the great horse, who completed an unprecedented Ascot Gold Cup four-timer last June, revitalised interest in the staying division, but his retirement at the end of the season left an imposing set of horseshoes to fill.

Hopes that his erstwhile Ballydoyle stablemate Age Of Aquarius could fill the void, though, stuttered at Leopardstown yesterday, when the four-year-old appeared to own neither the class nor stamina to cope with the Dermot Weld-trained Profound Beauty in the Saval Beg Stakes. The mare, ridden by Pat Smullen, was always travelling the better as the pair drew clear of their rivals in the straight and had a cosy length to spare at the line over the 2-5 favourite.

Profound Beauty, who carries the famous black-and-white Moyglare Stud colours, is a proven marathon woman with a progressive profile and may yet be improving further at the age of six; yesterday was her first outing for eight months and Age Of Aquarius was race-fit. She has been beaten, though, in all three of her tries at the top level in the past three seasons – the Irish Oaks, the Melbourne Cup and the Irish St Leger – and does not hold an entry for next month's Ascot long-distance showpiece.

Her long-term target this season, via the Curragh Cup and perhaps the Yorkshire Oaks, is another tilt at Australia's best-known contest, a two-mile handicap in which she finished a creditable fifth, beaten less than three lengths, two years ago. "I do think she's better than she was last year," said Smullen, "and it felt as if she's even getting a shade quicker in the finish. I may have asked her to go to the front a bit soon, but I'd no choice – as soon as I gave her a squeeze she took me there. She got a bit tired in the last 100 yards but class always tells and she got me home."

Weld already has two Melbourne Cups on his CV, with Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle, the only European trainer to take the prize. "If everything goes right through the year we'll take her back there," he said. "She's a joy to train."

After Age Of Aquarius's defeat Manifest, trained by Henry Cecil, hardened as favourite for the Gold Cup. Aidan O'Brien, though, was far from disheartened by the effort of the white-faced four-year-old, who was conceding weight to the winner. "I'm delighted with him," he said, "and he'll come forward for it. The idea is to go to Ascot."

A defeat for an odds-on shot, though, will not have been the ideal start to Derby week for the trainer, who will finalise his stable's running and riding arrangements for the premier Classic after his contenders go through their final workouts tomorrow and Wednesday.

Ahead of Friday's Oaks, Michael Jarvis confirmed an ambitious schedule for Sajjhaa, an eyecatching winner of her first and only start at Sandown 11 days ago by seven lengths. The King's Best filly, who carries the colours of Sheikh Ahmed al-Maktoum, will thus step straight from maiden to Group One company and was backed over the weekend, from 16-1 to half that price, to do it successfully.

"She's in great order," said Jarvis, who sent out Eswarah to take the Oaks five years ago with only two previous outings under her girth and Sajjhaa's grand-dam Noushkey to finish second in 1999. "They have only one year to have a crack at the Classics, so if you feel they are good enough they deserve the opportunity."

With a dry week forecast, watering of the track will start at Epsom this morning. "I'm calling the going good, good to firm in places," said the clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, after inspecting underfoot conditions yesterday, "and it walks to me just on the fast side of good. It's lovely safe Flat racing ground and we want to maintain it."

Kieren Fallon took his first Classic of the year yesterday, albeit one of Europe's lesser ones. In the Italian Oaks in Milan, downgraded some years ago to Group Two level, he brought the Luca Cumani-trained Contredanse home by inches from another British raider, Richard Hannon's charge Middle Club. Contredanse had previously won two handicaps this year but on her final run at two had finished third behind Friday's Epsom favourite, Aviate.

Turf Account

Sue Montgomery's Nap

Iguacu (5.35 Leicester)

Has winning form over today's trip and will be sharper for his run at Lingfield 12 days ago, his first after a break. On a fair mark, further reduced by his rider's allowance.



Next best

Escape Artist (3.00 Redcar)

Showed a glimmer of ability in his three runs over an inadequate seven furlongs last year and makes his seasonal debut over a distance more in keeping with his breeding, by Act One out of a Shirley Heights mare.



One to watch

The Galileo filly Saggiatore (E A Dunlop) was comprehensively outpointed by Oaks contender Sajjhaa over 10 furlongs at Sandown as she acquired a handicap mark but will be seen to much better effect over further.



Where the money's going

Fame and Glory has been cut from 11-8 to 5-4 by Victor Chandler at the head of the market for Friday's Coronation Cup at Epsom.



Chris McGrath's Nap

Christmas Carnival (5.00 Leicester)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Support Assistant - Hampshire - up to 40K

£25000 - £40000 per annum + 23 days holiday Pension Scheme: Deerfoot IT Resour...

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

.Net Developer -London - up to 55K

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits : Deerfoot IT Resources Limited...

Long Term Primary Teacher - Oldham - Start September 2014

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Key Stage 1 Teache...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil