Newbury: Muthabara shows her class

Dunlop's filly is co-favourite for Newmarket but Confront's Classic hopes are in tatters

Catching pigeons at home is one thing, going past rivals on the racecourse quite another. The leading 1,000 Guineas fancy Muthabara upheld her behind-the-scenes reputation hereyesterday with victory in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes. But half-an-hour later another set of expectations disappeared in the Berkshire gloom as the much-hyped 2,000 Guineas contender Confront failed to make the frame in his Classic trial, the Greenham Stakes.

Muthabara's race was muddling and she won despite the course she took along the straight seven furlongs. Early on, as the pack went down the centre, Richard Hills kept her in a group of three on the stands' side. Two furlongs out, well adrift of the leaders and apparently under pressure, her cause looked hopeless.

But, in an instant, came transformation. She veered left-handed, joined the herd, and once among rivals it seemed she remembered what to do. She engaged her turbo boost and ran past Dream Day for a length-and-a-quarter victory that was, in the end, comfortable.

Muthabara, who had not run since July, was one of the least experienced in yesterday's field, and, with her winter coat trace-clipped, looked one of the least forward in condition. "She hadn't run for a long time, and she felt ring-rusty," said Hills, "but once I got her racing, she really went whoosh. She will most certainly improve for that."

The 1,000 Guineas is something of a specialist subject for her owner, Sheikh Hamdan, who already has won four, with Salsabil, Shadayid, Harayir and Lahan. Muthabara's performance was not spectacular enough for her to be promoted to clear favouritism for the Rowley Mile showpiece two weeks today, but was certainly good enough for her to maintain her position and one of the co-favourites, with the week's other two trials winners Infallible and Natagora.

Her trainer, John Dunlop, who started his Guineas sequence with Quick As Lightning and added Salsabil and Shadayid, was better pleased with the daughter of Red Ransom than her rider. "It wasn't particularlysmooth for her," he said, "going from one side to the other like that. Two furlongs out I was getting quite concerned, but it all worked out in the end."

Dunlop, too, anticipates progress from Muthabara. "This race was as much about match practice as anything, and the experience will have done her the world of good. She was doing her best work in the final furlong and the step up to a mile in the Guineas will suit her well. She is certainly a very nice filly. But whether she is a very good one, we'll just have to see."

The eclipse of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Confront, who started a warm favourite for the colts' equivalent race but finished a well-beaten fifth, has increased the likelihood of Twice Over running for their owner, Khaled Abdullah, in the 2,000 Guineas in 13 days' time. The Greenham Stakes winner, the race-fit Paco Boy, is not entered at Newmarket, but may be supplementedafter he and Richard Hughes cut down the front-running Bobs Surprise close home, on ground considered far softer than ideal.

"We've got the money now," said trainer Richard Hannon, "so we'll have a think about it. The horse has done hardly anything wrong and Richard thinks he'll stay a mile no problem."

At Ayr, the 66-1 outsider Iris De Balme produced an extraordinary performance to take the day's richest contest, the Scottish Grand National. The eight-year-old had won for the first time at the 32nd attempt in February and was 26lb wrong in the weights yesterday. But as the field came into the straight for the final time in the four-mile marathon it was as if the eight-year-old had just joined in, so strongly was he galloping. He and the 7lb claimer CharlieHuxley streaked clear of the top-weight, Halcon Genelardais, to win by 14 lengths.

Iris De Balme may turn out again on Saturday at Sandown in the Bet365 Gold Cup. "He'll be out of the handicap again," said surprised trainer Sean Curran, who still holds his jockeys' licence and will be riding at Plumpton tomorrow. "I didn't think he'd win like this today, so we may as well have another go."

Eight horses have the chance of making history shortly after 2.10 in Essex today. One will be the winner of the opening race at Great Leighs, the first new racecourse in Britain since Taunton in 1927.

Suggested Topics
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
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

IT Portfolio Analyst/ PMO

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn