In winning the Cambridgeshire Handicap yesterday, one of the season's keenest betting contests, Pipedreamer provided a nightmare result for bookmakers. The John Gosden-trained three-year-old had been backed from long double figures to 5-1 favourite and the only doubt about his victory came beforehand, as connections dithered during the week about letting him take his chance on drying ground.
But once, to the relief of his supporters, he was safely in the stalls, it was a case of pay, pay, pay. Not for a stride did the jockey Jimmy Fortune have to worry; he settled the striking son of Selkirk off the pace, brought him smoothly through the pack a quarter of a mile from home and became the point of an arrowhead down the centre of the track as he strode clear of his 33 rivals to land the plunge by a comfortable length.
"Never in doubt, really," said the rider, "he travelled like a Group horse all the way and I'm sure that's what he is, really. He's a lovely big horse and he's done nothing but progress from race to race."
Docofthebay, at 8-1, proved best of the rest, claiming second spot with a strong late flourish, a length and a half ahead of Teslin (12-1), with Yarqus (33-1) fourth and The Illies fifth.
"With the public support we had, I wouldn't have pulled him out of the race lightly,"¿ said Gosden. "I very much wanted to run him – we'd been waiting two months to do so – but the horse must come first and when the ground started to dry it was a concern. Fortunately, when I walked the course this morning, the ground had no jar in it."
Cheveley Park had to settle for the minor placings in the Sun Chariot Stakes, when Nannina and Echelon, the 3-1 favourite, came in second and third to surprise 16-1 winner Majestic Roi. The Street Cry three-year-old was finally fulfilling her early-season potential. "She's only just got the hang of racing," said trainer Mick Channon, "and I should think she'll stay in training."¿
After Pipedreamer, the bookmakers are dreading victory for Frankie Dettori and the favourite Authorized in this afternoon's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. "If he wins," said Ladbroke's Dave Williams, "we might as well not bother going to work on Monday."¿
Dettori limbered up with a sparkling success over the big-race course and distance, bringing Richard Fahey-trained Anna Pavlova from last to first in the Prix de Royallieu to score the only away victory. "They went a proper pace up front and I let them get on with it," he said, "and by the bend I could feel her starting to come with me. It was good to get the win on the board."¿
Had injury-stricken Manduro, conqueror of both Dylan Thomas and Mandesha during the season, turned up for today's big one, he would have started at odds-on. And the spectre of the lost raider of the Arc hovered over Longchamp as 100-1 shot Toylsome, in the same colours, won yesterday's Group One feature, the Prix de la Foret.
Outside his own country, the German-trained veteran is best-known as Manduro's pacemaker. He had his own moment of glory when, under a perfectly-judged ride from the front by Stéphane Pasquier, he belied his insulting starting price – one of the longest-ever in a top-level contest – by leaving his 12 talented rivals trailing. It was his 16th win from 35 runs.