Sheikh wins in regeneration game

 

Salisbury

On the day Walter Swinburn announced that he is to quit, halfway through his second career, it was consoling to come here and see that the transition between different training generations tends to be rather less abrupt.

In barely an hour, three of Sheikh Hamdan's trainers each saddled a juvenile winner, giving their mutual patron much to anticipate next season. First there was John Dunlop, that upright stalwart of the old school, who seems to have been training for the sheikh since the cathedral spire first pierced the horizon here. Then there was Roger Varian, the rookie whose assimilation into the Shadwell empire could hardly have been more assured. And finally there was Charlie Hills, who only took over the licence from his father, Barry, a few days ago.

If Swinburn has found that all that glisters is not gold – and he will not be the last to do so, in this straitened industry – then horses often remind us that the reverse is also true. Certainly, Firdaws remains a 24-carat prospect, despite a performance lacking superficial gloss. Sent off at 2-5 after a promising debut at Newbury, she had to be organised pretty firmly before finally striding away by two lengths. Her jockey, Richard Hills insisted "it felt better than it looked" and, in fairness, they had been trapped wide – first by the draw, then a mid-race bump – before seeing off another promising filly in the Richard Hannon-trained Whimsical.

The winner's dam, Eswarah, won the Oaks for Varian's mentor, Michael Jarvis, who retired last winter through ill health. Firdaws is 20-1 to follow suit at Epsom next year, prompting a raised eyebrow from her composed young handler. "She'll have to win a better race before anyone can start talking about things like that," Varian stressed. "But if she's ever going to be good enough, then it will be over that kind of trip. She's crying out for a mile, but we thought we could get away with seven furlongs in a maiden."

Dunlop's contribution was a narrow success for Farhaan in the Whitsbury Manor Stud Novice Stakes. From the first crop of his owner's Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, he won by only a neck but did well to wear down a more experienced rival, who had controlled the pace. "He's a very attractive horse, with good character, and the encouraging thing is that he's going to stay farther," Dunlop said. "There's speed in the pedigree, but I think his sire is going to put some stamina into the mix."

Angus Gold, Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager, indicated that Farhaan may now tackle the Royal Lodge Stakes, with William Haggas instead inclining to run the owner's Entifaadha, winner of the Acomb Stakes at York a fortnight ago, at Doncaster next week. "William is talking about the Champagne Stakes," Gold explained. "The idea is to see if Entifaadha has enough speed over seven furlongs to have a look at the Dewhurst."

The Listed success of Sajwah was much the least expected of the three, and Gold was tickled by the notion that Hills Snr should be informed that the filly had plainly improved for a change of trainer. "The plan was just to get her settled in front, and I think the dead ground helped," Gold said. "She has always had scope and, physically, she's certainly not just a two-year-old."

Varian and Hills will be hoping that enough of their present enthusiasm endures when they reach 50, as Swinburn did only a few days ago. A sublime rider in his day, his sensitive mind equipped him well for the day-to-day challenges of training, but perhaps left him vulnerable to its broader attrition. He has sent out more than 260 winners since taking over from his father-in-law, Peter Harris, in 2004, but only 25 of them have come this year and he has never found a horse of the calibre he rode in winning three Derbys. He will hand in his licence at the end of next month.

Happily, the ups and downs of the Turf are being cheerfully embraced by Hayley Turner, whose golden season came to a painful end when she broke an ankle in a fall at Bath on Wednesday. "It could have been so much worse," she said yesterday. "No head or spine injury. It's simply part of our job, you have to cherish the highs and brush off the lows."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Free For All (4.10 Haydock) Burnt up plenty of fuel to see off competition for the lead over 6f last time and better again expected now he returns to the trip of an impressive earlier success.

Next best

Baptist (5.10 Haydock) Caught out by a steady pace last time, but was starting to work through the gears and this extra distance looks sure to draw out the progress implied in his previous start.

One to watch

Petomic (Richard Guest) Responded well to cheekpieces at Beverley last weekend, but was committed some way out and idled in front, nailed in the final stride.

Where the money's going

Shernando is 7-1 from 8-1 with the sponsors for the Betfred Old Borough Cup at Haydock tomorrow.

Suggested Topics
News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Art & Design Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Year 5/6 Teacher - Wrexham

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 5/6 Teachers needed in WrexhamWe ...

Science Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits