Longchamp throws up a Royal prospect to savour

The wretched weather is giving an unhappily literal quality to the way the domestic programme treads water between Epsom and Royal Ascot. The card at Salisbury today is subject to a morning inspection, and likewise the turf races at Lingfield. And while the French did contrive a fleeting moment of quality yesterday, deteriorating conditions locally may also limit its significance.

On the face of it, you might argue that another reverse for Meandre confirms that he has reached a disappointing plateau. On the other hand, it may simply be that he does not handle the mud. After all, his big break as a three-year-old had come on fast ground in the Grand Prix de Paris last summer. His trainer André Fabre, pictured, had blamed the soft going when Meandre managed only fourth on his return at Newmarket last month, and yesterday he fared little better when again made hot favourite for a Group Three race over 10 furlongs at Longchamp.

Poet, the English raider, surely set too strong a pace before dropping away into a distant fourth of six. But while Meandre looked short of acceleration at this trip, No Risk At All led on the bridle before dashing away by three and a half lengths, Meandre in turn pulling miles clear of the rest.

Whatever the current state of play with his victim, it might prove hasty to dismiss the winner as a legitimate new force for the top middle-distance prizes. His trainer, Jean-Paul Gallorini, is better known for his success with jumpers, and No Risk At All had been treated as a mystifying interloper when beaten less than two lengths when fourth in the Prix d'Ispahan on his previous start.

That day he finished very strongly, on to the heels of two proven Group One operators in Cirrus Des Aigles and Planteur, and his relish for the extra furlong yesterday immediately prompted Gallorini to start talking in terms of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe itself.

Indeed, his jockey Ioritz Mendizabal said that No Risk At All would typically work harder on the gallops of a morning that in winning yesterday and, while acknowledging he enjoyed the ground, stressed his relentless improvement.

Regardless of its substance, his victory certainly did no harm to the reputation of Golden Lilac, whose performance in winning the Prix d'Ispahan prompted Fabre to salute her as unquestionably the best filly he has ever trained.

Fabre says she was sick when beaten for the only time in her career, on her final start at three, and may supplement her to the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot tomorrow week. That is already a target for Carlton House and So You Think, and a prospect to brighten even the dampest summer.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap: Perfect Mission (9.0 Brighton)

Should come on for a recent run, after a break, but may also prove better back at this shorter trip after going rather freely over a mile.

Next best: Chignon (8.30 Brighton)

Seven Veils is an obvious banana-skin, but this one proved ahead of her initial rating over course and distance last time and, just 5lb higher here, remains ahead of the game.

One to watch: High Jinks (James Fanshawe) confirmed himself a horse to follow when pulling the runner-up a long way clear at Newmarket on Saturday and will do better still when raised in trip.

Where the money's going: Ortensia is 5-1 from 6s with William Hill for the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next week, while Society Rock has been cut to 12-1 from 14s for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk