Peter Chapple-Hyam stood by Frankie Dettori yesterday in the wake of the eclipse of the hot favourite Authorized in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Typically, the broad-shouldered trainer shifted criticism for the colt's disappointing performance at Longchamp to himself. "I thought I had him spot-on," he said, "but he has had a few hard races and maybe I had done too much with him. And I blame myself for that."
Chapple-Hyam has suffered from jockey error in the Arc in the past, when Yukata Take gave his charge White Muzzle a universally-judged nightmare ride into sixth in 1994, but refuted suggestions that Dettori had delivered an action replay. "Absolutely not," he said. "It was my fault."
Authorized, from the widest draw, came into the straight with all 11 rivals ahead and eventually beat two, the pacemakers of the winner, Dylan Thomas.
"Perhaps he was further back than we wanted but the draw didn't help," he said, "If he'd managed to lie fourth or fifth early in the race, the energy used in doing so may have resulted in him being beaten further. Who knows? Frankie ended up looking after him and I take my hat off to him.
"It wasn't Authorized's running as he is a horse who travels into his races so well. I was totally gutted and deflated after the race. But take nothing away from Dylan Thomas. He is such a hard horse and I'd like to congratulate Aidan O'Brien on winning his first Arc."
The son of Montjeu returned to Chapple-Hyam's yard yesterday evening. "His safe arrival was what matters most. He's done so much for me," added the trainer, "I'd like to thank my staff for all their hard work. Their input has been invaluable."
Chapple-Hyam was back on the talent-spotting beat yesterday in Newmarket; the country's premier yearling sale at Tattersalls, from which auction house Authorized was the third successive Derby winner to graduate, begins today. "The job now is to find another Authorized," he said.
Though racegoers have seen the last of the Derby winner, whose next home will be Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud, the Oaks winner Light Shift will be around to entertain at four, as did 2004 Epsom heroine Ouija Board to such good effect. The Henry Cecil-trained filly was also favourite for her Group One test on Sunday, the Prix de l'Opera, and also disappointed, finishing sixth to Satwa Queen.
Her connections believe she too may have been over the top, after a season that began in April. "Light Shift was in very good form and appeared to be at the top of her game," said Alan Cooper, racing manager to owners the Niarchos family, "but sometimes you find out it's one race too many. She'd had a very early start to the season to be right for Epsom so we'll put her away."
The Arc runner-up, Youmzain, from Mick Channon's yard, will race on next year, and will bypass the Breeders' Cup meeting in new Jersey this month.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Youmzain's owner, Jaber Abdullah, was refreshingly realistic about the four-year-old, who went under by a head. "The winner picked up so quickly, and that is where he won the race," he said. "When ours gets decent ground and a strong pace he is very good. But I'd almost be happier to have been beaten a length, then we could have enjoyed it more. To get so close is frustrating."
Nap: Rare Coincidence (Catterick 4.30)
NB: Sugar Ray (Leicester 4.10)