Cecil feels Dante is divine for Twice Over

Only the maddest-eyed of conspiracy theorists would read anything into it, but there was nonetheless a certain symmetry about yesterday's announcement that Twice Over will miss the 2,000 Guineas to concentrate on longer races. On Monday, the Henry Cecil-trained colt took over as market leader for the Derby when Jim Bolger removed winter favourite New Approach from the Epsom game. And now, with one of his perceived chief rivals a defector, New Approach has hardened at the top of the Guineas lists.

Though Twice Over, owned and bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah, beat the horse with whom he was disputing second favouritism for tomorrow week's first Classic, Raven's Pass, in the Craven Stakes, he needed every inch of the Rowley Mile to do so and his next task will be over 10 furlongs at York.

"After consulting with Henry Cecil," said Abdullah's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, "the Prince has decided that Twice Over will miss the Guineas and run in the Dante Stakes, with a view to going to the Derby. The decision was taken with the horse's long-term future in mind."

Twice Over has already won over 10 furlongs – he took the Zetland Stakes as a juvenile – and seemingly is considered to defer to his dam Double Crossed, winner of a Lingfield Oaks Trial, rather than his sire Observatory, a top class miler, in terms of stamina.

But the Derby, which Cecil and Abdullah combined to win with Commander In Chief 15 years ago, is not yet indelibly inked in. "If after the Dante it was thought that the colt would not stay a mile and a half," added Grimthorpe, "then the Prix du Jockey-Club would become an option."

In fairness to Twice Over's connections, they left the Guineas decision open after the Craven Stakes, so ante-post punters knew they were taking a chance. Big-race sponsors Stan James cut New Approach to 2-1 from 9-4 yesterday.

Flat horses have been putting down markers for some imminent top-level dates with destiny; at Punchestown a longer-term line was drawn in the sand as Blazing Bailey confirmed his status as the horse most likely to take over from Inglis Drever as king of the long-distance runners.

Three weeks previously at Aintree, the admirable Alan King-trained six-year-old reversed Cheltenham form with the triple World Hurdle winner and followed up yesterday with a seven-length rout of his 11 rivals in the World Series Hurdle. Though rider Choc Thornton was hard at work for the last mile of the race, Blazing Bailey responded with typical doggedness to catch last year's winner Refinement at the last. "He's a real little grinder," said King, "so tough and genuine, just a very special horse."

The La Touche Cup, over the famous Punchestown banks, brought more than usual satisfaction to winning rider Ken Whelan, who drove 25-1 shot Oh Jackie to a hard-fought two-length success over 9-4 favourite Wonderkid.

Whelan had been on board the Tony Martin-trained runner-up when he finished sixth, also as favourite, in the cross-country chase at Cheltenham, and was replaced yesterday by Paul Carberry. Oh Jackie was Northern Ireland trainer Stuart Crawford's first success under rules, but Enda Bolger's bid for 11 successive wins in the unique race came to an end when Freneys Well could finish only fourth.

Today's Grade One feature at the Co Kildare track is the Champion Hurdle, in which four unsuccessful in the real thing at Cheltenham in March seek compensation. Sizing Europe, more or less pulled up after starting favourite at the Festival, will not be on the redemption trail; the injury that caused his eclipse is still niggling.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Marodima

(Perth 2.40)

NB: Ask

(Sandown 1.50)

Wolverhampton tonight

Hyperion's selections: 2.15 Skadrak 2.50 Straight Face 3.30 Near The Front 4.05 Playtotheaudience 4.45 Sovereignty 5.15 Floodlight Fantasy

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor