Brittain readies Zaidan to follow Kentucky dream

With neat appositeness, the youngest winner at Royal Ascot was saddled by the oldest trainer. But though he is 76, Clive Brittain has yet to reach for the plaid slippers. No sooner had he welcomed Zaidan into the winner's circle after the Chesham Stakes last week than he was outlining, with ageless enthusiasm, next year's ambitious target for the colt, a tilt at the Kentucky Derby.

A quarter of a century ago Brittain was plotting the same route for a smart juvenile called Bold Arrangement and duly sent him to Kentucky the following spring, the first from a British stable to contest North America's most famous race. The left-field venture was viewed with raised eyebrows by much of the establishment here but it so nearly came off when the chestnut horse led down the home straight and was caught only by Ferdinand.

It remains by far the best European result in the race, despite more recent challenges by the might of Godolphin and Coolmore, and Brittain is relishing another go. "I said that the next time I went to Kentucky with a horse, it would be only with one with a chance," he said, "and this one could be it. As always, I'm a dreamer."

Brittain may have something of the Don Quixote in him but his imagination has much of Sancho Panza's down-to-earth practicality and where he has led, others have followed. He was the first trainer in Newmarket to install an equine swimming pool, for instance. And was the first to appear at bloodstock sales during the 1980s with a brick-like cellphone clamped to his ear, despite the mockery it provoked. He was the first trainer from this country to win a Breeders' Cup race, the Turf with peerless Pebbles, and the first to take a Japan Cup, with Jupiter Island.

And if he has acquired a reputation for rather tilting at windmills with some horses, the results have proved him right. Amfortas was a 66-1 shot when he won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot; Terimon started at 500-1 when he ran second in his Derby; Radetsky 16-1 for the first of his Royal Ascot victories, the St James's Palace Stakes, and 25-1 for the second, the Queen Anne Stakes; Rajeem 50-1 when she took the Falmouth Stakes.

Horses have been Brittain's life since he first earned money from breaking in ponies at the age of eight. He spent 23 years learning the racing business with Sir Noel Murless before, largely helped by investment with bookmakers in his early recognition of the talent of the yard's dual Classic heroine Altesse Royale, setting up on his own 28 years ago.

Zaidan, unbeaten in his two outings, carries the colours of long-time patron Saeed Manana under the banner of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation, a link established when the Sheikh bought Pebbles from Marcos Lemos after she won the 1,000 Guineas.

Brittain spotted Zaidan's potential rapidly but will now bide his time with the US-bred, a still-developing May-foaled son of Street Cry. "We won't be in a rush with him," he said. "He's had two runs, he's experienced the big occasion. He was always going to improve for the step up to seven furlongs in the Chesham and will certainly get further in time, but we weren't afraid to start him over five, he has that sort of class. Sir Noel always said that top colts could perform between five furlongs and a mile and a half and he started Crepello [the superb 1957 Derby winner] in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, where he was beaten only a head.

"When you get an exciting colt like this, who is going to progress from two to three, the trick is to go at their pace and not to spoil the talent they are showing."

Last week might have been even better for Brittain; Hibaayeb, whom he sent out to take last year's Fillies Mile, was transferred to the Sheikh's elite Godolphin team during the close season and on Thursday won the Ribblesdale Stakes. "That's the way it is and I was thrilled she won," he said, "and the best of luck to them with her."

Newmarket's most venerable trainer, who still beats his colleagues to the gallops of a morning shortly after dawn, reckons his youth squad is one of his best in years, naming the as yet unraced El Wasmi as another exciting prospect to follow. "I've got a fistful of lovely two-year-old colts," he said, "and when I'm being sent horses like them with all the potential in the world, I've no reason to retire. When you do something you love, why on earth stop?"

Turf account

Sue Montgomery's nap

Namaskar (8.30 Newbury)

Her entry in the Irish Oaks may be ambitious but she should progress from her seasonal debut, when she chased home the subsequent winner of the Italian Oaks.



Next best

Ajool (4.15 Beverley)

Has not yet fulfilled the promise of her two-year-old debut but the step up in distance may help her get off the mark.



One to watch

Undone by an ordinary early pace at Newmarket on Saturday, Ertikaan (M A Jarvis) can pick up his progress again in handicap company.



Where the money's going

Deauville Flyer heads the market for Saturday's Northumberland Plate after yesterday's penultimate declarations, at 8-1 with Totesport.



Chris McGrath's nap

Polish World (3.45 Beverley).

News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily 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

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Business Project Manager

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager job vaca...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor