Rip may give Stars a wake-up call
Having duly been transformed by a more exacting test of stamina on Sunday, Fame And Glory has left ajar the possibility that he may yet prove a match for Sea The Stars, given the right circumstances. Clearly the colt who beat him at Epsom has not put a hoof wrong so far, not least in nimbly sidestepping a rematch at the Curragh. But the Fame And Glory camp nonetheless hopes to trap Sea The Stars in a pincer movement, following him to Sandown on Saturday with Rip Van Winkle.
This colt's transparent Group One potential admittedly remains unfulfilled. He has had all manner of mitigation in each of his three starts at the top level: palpably still learning the ropes in the Dewhurst last autumn; ring-rusty behind Sea The Stars in the 2,000 Guineas; and set a lot to do off a steady gallop in the Derby. He stayed on for fourth that day, just behind Fame And Glory, but was overtaken by another stablemate, Masterofthehorse – whose 16-length thrashing behind Fame And Glory on Sunday showed how very shallow a test of stamina they shared at Epsom. All in all, the return to 10 furlongs should suit Rip Van Winkle ideally.
Naturally the same is true of Sea The Stars himself. The sponsors duly make this immaculate colt evens to emulate Nashwan, the last colt to complete the Guineas-Derby double in 1989, by proceeding to beat older horses here. But Rip Van Winkle looks a very solid each-way proposition at 9-2, given that their preferred second favourite at 3-1, Conduit, seemed to confirm himself somewhat lacking in raw pace when narrowly beaten on his reappearance last month, over this same course and distance, by Cima De Triomphe.
Conduit, of course, really came of age last autumn in the St Leger and Breeders' Cup Turf respectively, over 14 furlongs and 12 respectively. Significantly his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has a potential pacemaker on Saturday in Lang Shining, who is in the same ownership. With no penalty this time, Conduit will at any rate be 7lb better off with Cima De Triomphe. The latter is quoted 8-1, with Archipenko offered at 14-1, and Twice Over 16-1. It is 20-1 bar.
Naturally the whole point of this race is to gauge the relative merits, for the first time, of the 2008 and 2009 Classic generations. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but instinct suggests that those older horses who have stayed in training lack the necessary flair – over this distance, at any rate.
As it happens, one of the most talented older horses around – another in Stoute's care – is ineligible for the big all-aged contests in Britain this summer. Spanish Moon's misdemeanours at the stalls have earned him a six-month suspension from racing on these shores, but he found a lucrative sanctuary in Paris on Sunday when winning his first Group One prize in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khaled Abdulla, expressed due gratitude for the forbearance of the French stalls handlers. "The horse is a bit of an enigma," he said yesterday. "He doesn't give any trouble at all at home. I went to see him do an unofficial stalls test the other day, and he went in 10 times without a bother. He races genuinely, too, so there is no questioning his attitude."
Stoute will duly prepare the pariah for more big races abroad. "I don't see why the Breeders' Cup should not come under consideration, along with Hong Kong and Dubai again," Grimthorpe said. "He was winter favourite for the Derby all those years ago, so it's nice to see him prove what a good horse he is."
The Saint-Cloud race proved something of a rogues' gallery, in that it also featured the perennially frustrating Youmzain. Ridden for the first time by Christophe Soumillon, he finished tamely in third and the dual Arc runner-up's stomach for a fight hardly seems to be increasing with age.
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Nap: Sarwin (3.45 Hamilton)
Thriving in his first season for Alan Swinbank, and easily excused a disappointing run when turned out quickly at Carlisle last time. His previous course and distance success looks solid form.
Next best: Keepitsecret (7.45 Stratford)
Left no doubt that his revised rating is not beyond him at Worcester last time, looking set to win when blundering two out. Runs off the same mark here.
One to watch
Gaselee (Rae Guest) started her handicap career off a modest mark at Lingfield on Saturday, and looked unlucky, going easily when short of room and finishing too late in fourth. Out of a half-sister to Hernando, that was the three-year-old's first start at 12 furlongs.
Where the money's going
Sea The Stars is 6-1 from 7-1 with Paddy Power for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
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