Buick flies into strife before beating Goldikova


No wonder the police were sent to investigate the private plane that brought William Buick to France yesterday. Air traffic controllers had supposedly tracked its path over a secret nuclear site, but subsequent events made it seem more likely that they were actually worried about the nation's coffers.

On a trying day for the hosts, British trainers saddled four Group One winners - two ridden by Buick.

Frankie Dettori, who also rode a double on the card, took his career aggregate in Group races to 501. Buick may or may not accumulate quite so many over the years ahead, but here was another day to confirm that he, too, is a born big-race rider.

His biggest scalp was Goldikova, in a photo for the Prix de la Foret, on Dream Ahead. Olivier Peslier as usual seemed anxious not to give the great mare too hard a race so close to the Breeders' Cup, but David Simcock deserves maximum credit for gambling on a return to seven furlongs with the colt who has put him indelibly on the map. This was his fifth Group One win in just nine starts. "There's no point saying David's a good trainer because everybody knows that already," Buick said. "But he has trained this horse to perfection – it's not been easy the whole way through."

Goldikova acquitted herself very honourably on her final start on home soil and still looks the one to beat in Louisville. But Freddy Head, her trainer, admitted: "I think the mileage is maybe starting to catch up with her maybe."

Buick had already won the Prix Marcel Boussac despite Elusive Kate hanging markedly across the track. John Gosden, who may now aim her at the Breeders' Cup, related how "two charming young gendarmes" had been sent to receive their party at the airport.

Having failed to observe anything more interesting than people lying on the beach, he was assuming that their passports would be restored on the way home.

His Newmarket neighbour, Roger Varian, crowned a remarkable first season when Dettori got Nahrain home in a photo for the Prix de l'Opera. Winner of all three previous starts, the filly had been expertly primed for this after a three-month break. Dettor''s other winner was Dabirsim, who extended his own unbeaten spree in the Prix Lagardere. It is going to take something pretty extraordinary at Newmarket on Saturday to volunteer a champion juvenile with superior claims, because Dettori did not decorate his landmark success with his very finest riding. Few of the previous 499 can have finished with the sort of flourish that catapulted Dabirsim from last place when a gap opened on the rail.

In contrast Tangerine Trees in the Prix de l'Abbaye was a maiden Group One winner for Tom Eaves. Scalding rival frontrunners, they stopped the clock in 55.5 seconds. Had they taken 55.6, they would have been caught by Sole Power, who had to settle for a podium finish in a three-way lunge to the line alongside Secret Asset. Tangerine Trees has thrived remarkably over the past year or so in the care of Bryan Smart, unfortunately detained at home by a family illness.

Turf Account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Desert Chieftain (2.30 Windsor)

Suddenly produced a performance more in keeping with his good pedigree at Yarmouth, picking up smartly, and can surpass what remains a modest rating.

* Next best

Flying Power (5.30 Windsor)

Remains well treated after improved form in cheekpieces a couple of starts ago, idling in front, but was unable to show as much against a pace bias last time.

* One to watch

Commitment (Luca Cumani) caught the eye on his debut at Newmarket on Saturday, green early but learning all the time as he came through traffic for fourth.

* Where the money's going

Uncle Mo, the champion juvenile who missed the Triple Crown with illness, is 7-2 from 6-1 with William Hill for the Breeders' Cup Classic after an impressive win against older rivals over the weekend.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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