It is only four years since Peter Chapple-Hyam brought a young colt by Montjeu to Newbury for the most historically resonant race of its type in the calendar. Authorized made a promising debut, in third, without suggesting himself an especially obvious heir to such distinguished graduates of the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes as Nayef, Shahrastani, Rainbow Quest, Henbit and Shergar. But Authorized then won the Racing Post Trophy at 25-1, and the following year the Derby.
To the exasperation of his many admirers, Chapple-Hyam has since contrived to lose some of his best patrons and is now down to 40 horses. After a career of giddy ups and downs, it is surely asking too much for him to return to Newbury today and revive the memory of Authorized with a colt who cost just 3,000 guineas last October.
With another round of yearling sales under way, however, perhaps Cloud Rock can restore Chapple-Hyam in the regard of investors prepared to compromise on some of the fawning attention they might get elsewhere. A son of Tiger Hill, Cloud Rock was sent off odds-on for a maiden at Folkestone last month and duly outclassed his rivals.
"He's got to be the cheapest horse in England," Chapple-Hyam enthused yesterday. "I promise you he's decent. We found him at Tattersalls, [bloodstock agent] Tom Goff and myself, and he's always gone like a nice horse, from day one. Even last Christmas the lads were already telling me he was a racehorse, but I assumed that they had been drinking. A few mates are in the horse – they're the Coalition Partnership –and I must say I was quite keen to run him at Sandown on Wednesday, because it would have been the million-dollar horse [Treasury Devil] against the three-grand horse. But he would probably have been beaten."
As it is, Cloud Rock faces four other maiden winners. "I've always liked this race," Chapple-Hyam said. "Even though I think I've managed to get everything beaten in it – not just Authorized, but White Muzzle as well."
He acknowledges that he could do with another good one now, but is satisfied with the form of his string. "The ones I've got are going OK," he said. "I don't have expensive yearlings. I never did. Authorized is the only expensive one I ever had. Dutch Art cost 16 grand, and he wasn't too bad. We knock around with what we've got."
The card also offers Godolphin's older horses the chance to match the fine work of their juveniles at Doncaster last week. Campanologist, whose two Group One wins in Germany represent half Godolphin's tally for the year, arguably faces a stiffer task giving weight to Rainbow View in a Listed race. There is no mistaking the elite calibre of Delegator, however, and the drop to seven furlongs for his comeback looks a smart move. Though not seen since being swatted aside by Goldikova in California last November, Delegator has gone well fresh in the past and could yet set himself up for another crack at the Breeders' Cup Mile.
An excellent afternoon's sport extends to eight juvenile races at Newmarket, and the second day of the Western Meeting at Ayr. The Listowel Festival, meanwhile, continues its marathon challenge to the livers of Co Kerry, though yesterday it briefly tarred one of the most blameless men in Ireland with the brush of excess. Davy Russell, a teetotaller, managed to fail a breath test after using a mouthwash – giving a reading twice the limit. Luckily he had time for a second test, which proved negative, and was permitted to take his mounts after all. "The last time I had a drink was 15 years ago," Russell said. "Fortunately, because I'd arrived early, they allowed me a second test. It has to bring into question the whole system. If I'd been a bit later to the track, I wouldn't have been allowed to ride."
One eminent visitor to Britain would doubtless approve of his abstinence. Whether he might perceive divine intervention in the success of Man Of God, in a two-year-old maiden at Yarmouth yesterday afternoon, would seem less certain. But someone up there certainly seems to be taking a benign interest in John Gosden's juveniles, Man Of God being the sixth to win inside barely 24 hours.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Descaro (5.05 Ayr) Rookie trainer has made a big impression and quickly unlocked the latent talent in this Irish import, giving him a big step up in trip to win at Ripon last time.
Rainbow Peak (3.10 Newbury) Looked ready for a stiffer test when second over 9f at York last time, but looks the one to beat even on that bare form.
One to watch
Blazing Desert (J J Quinn) Was disappointing, on the face of it, at Chester on Saturday, but made up good ground once finding his stride in the straight.
Where the money's going
The sponsors eased Poet's Place to 6-1 from 5-1 for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup tomorrow after the favourite was last out of the hat for the draw, leaving his trainer with no choice but stall 12.