Gamilati hot – before a tot of Whisky?


Originally devised to keep the racing and betting industries on the move during exactly this kind of freeze, the all-weather has since evolved into a surface for all seasons. Many trainers nowadays like to start off well-bred young horses on the polytrack rather than on firm, heavy or unevenly watered turf.

In 2009, indeed, Ghanaati won the 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes on the foundation of two maidens round Kempton. The deeper surface at Southwell, equally, provides the nearest available approximation to American dirt racing, and has come to be respected as a discipline in its own right.

Nobody, then, should disparage the surviving programme should Ffos Las today join the other jumps cards in succumbing to the weather. It would certainly be a shame, however, as the hot favourite for the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle is due to run in the colours of Dai Walters, who has gained so many friends since building our newest track on the site of an old mine. Having won the inaugural race last year, horse and owner are entitled to another lap of honour before the proud folk of Carmarthenshire.

Admittedly, some of Oscar Whisky's admirers are still imploring Walters and his trainer, Nicky Henderson, to persevere at two miles in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month. Their cause is hindered by a want of competition today, as Oscar Whisky can hardly make a compelling case for doing so simply by outclassing his inferiors. Moreover, it is easy to see why Henderson should instead be disposed to try him over three miles in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, even if he must meet a stayer on the brink of history in Big Buck's. The bottom line is that he was readily outpaced by Hurricane Fly when third over this trip at last year's Festival, and the champion's breathtaking comeback at Leopardstown last Sunday leaves Oscar Whisky between a rock and a hard place.

At least he would return to Cheltenham as an unknown quantity over the longer trip, and three starts at intermediate distances this season have done nothing to discourage the experiment. You would love to know whether Big Buck's could run third in a Champion Hurdle. We will never find out, but perhaps he will at least meet some of the protagonists over two and a half miles at Aintree in April, in the very race won by Oscar Whisky last season.

Whatever the stewards conclude as they prod beneath the frost covers this morning, one or two of them might secretly wish they could instead be serving in a similar role at Meydan. It was gratifying to see a first winner out there for David Barron, an excellent trainer normally confined to Southwell at this time of year. Hitchens got up in a photo under Silvestre De Sousa to win a Group Three prize over six furlongs.

The class act was Gamilati, who coasted home from her stablemate Pimpernel in the UAE 1,000 Guineas. Mahmood al-Zarooni is now likely to train Gamilati for the UAE Oaks, which may well dilute her prospects for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas when Godolphin return to Newmarket. For now she is 12-1 from 16-1 with Paddy Power. A Classic over the Rowley Mile may seem something of a mirage, at this stage, but at times like these you must settle for whatever cold comfort is available.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's nap

Handy Andy (2.10 Ffos Las) Irish point winner and looked a smart prospect at Newbury last season.

Next best

Cashelgar (3.35 Lingfield) Very well treated on smart form in his younger days and shaped well on his debut for this yard last time, looking ready for this step back up in trip as he closed from midfield.

One to watch

Right Enough (Tim Walford) gave the winner a bit of a start at Newcastle on Wednesday but the way he kept on confirmed him on the upgrade.

Where the money's going

After his rehearsal at the track last weekend, Midnight Chase is 16-1 from 25-1 with William Hill for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup next month.

Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice