Doctor toughened bylong road to the top

By Chris McGrath, Racing Correspondent

Instinct suggests the present crop of three-year-olds to be a vintage one. The photograph dividing Henrythenavigator and New Approach in the 2,000 Guineas is already acquiring the hue of immortality, while the unbeaten filly Zarkava is considered a meteor in France. But they will be properly measured only when leaving the sanctuary of their own generation, and for now a little more respect for their elders might still be in order.

True, it is already difficult to think of an older miler that might beat Henrythenavigator in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next month, but fresh detail should emerge on Sunday – and with pleasing symmetry, too – about the relative state of play over a mile and a half. Any remaining differences between New Approach and the horses he beat at Epsom will presumably be settled in the Irish Derby at the Curragh; but a revised standard will promptly be established by the older horses converging, the very same hour, in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud.

Though Soldier Of Fortune is favourite to build on the foundations he laid in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, the best gauge in the Paris field is perhaps Doctor Dino. This remarkable alloy of mental and physical steel has spread his last seven starts across six countries, never missing the frame, and has unmistakably improved with every mile of his odyssey. But his trainer, Richard Gibson, weighs his words with care when he assesses his next challenge. "I think this is the best race run over a mile and a half since the Arc," the expatriate Englishman said yesterday. "Anywhere in the world."

And he should know, because no thoroughbred in training has gone to greater lengths to evaluate global standards than Doctor Dino. Funnily enough, the six-year-old has himself discovered new horizons of late, trying Sunday's distance for the first time only last December, when he won the Hong Kong Vase. He was then third in the Sheema Classic in Dubai, before finally seeking honour in his own country, winning the Grand Prix de Chantilly just down the road from Gibson's stables.

The fact that he is once again racing on home soil does not mean that his passport has been mislaid. "There's not that much for a horse like this in the spring and early summer," Gibson explained. "He was very unlucky in Dubai, where he had a very bad draw and was last into the straight. He was in front three yards after the post, and I was spitting. Everything was wrong for him in the race here, too – he hates that sort of slow pace, but he got up because he is so brave.

"I think he'll be ideally suited by the fast ground and fast pace on Sunday, and that he's proving worthy of a much higher rating since going over a mile and a half. Whoever wins will have real bragging rights, because they're all there, all the best [older] horses."

Blue Square make Doctor Dino 5-1 third favourite, behind Soldier Of Fortune on 10-11 and Getaway, who already seemed to be struggling with the track when hampered at Epsom in the Coronation Cup, on 3-1. "I must admit I'm slightly perplexed by the way Getaway is still being hyped," Gibson observed. "He was a stayer last season and has not yet won a Group One."

Youmzain, three times a runner-up at that level, looks tempting at 12-1, while the other British raider, Lucarno, is 20-1. Whatever happens, Doctor Dino will forever be cherished by his trainer for putting him on the map – almost literally. "We have had him since a yearling," Gibson said. "And he cost nothing, €30,000 (£21,000). Since then he has won €2m (£1.4m). We've got only one major league horse in the barn at the moment, so it's important he keeps us involved at this level.

"I so admire his athletic prowess, and he has this exceptional appetite to go with it. He's so receptive to training, just thrives on it. Really, he's a Jonny Wilkinson of a horse."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam