Steinbeck sequel slow off the press

O'Brien's brilliant prospect misses July Festival and might not race again until autumn

John Steinbeck once claimed that his own profession made "horseracing seem a solid, stable business", but the colt named in his honour seems determined to charge the writer with exaggeration.

A foal from the first crop of Footstepsinthesand, Steinbeck looked a brilliant prospect when beating previous winners on his debut at Naas in May, and is already quoted no better than 14-1 for next year's Stan James 2,000 Guineas. But while a series of targets have been proposed in turn, he has failed to resurface since, and last night his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, disclosed that Steinbeck is now unlikely to be seen before the autumn.

He was not declared for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot – a blessing in disguise, given the staggering speed and precocity shown by Canford Cliffs – and then missed his next appointment, the Railway Stakes at the Curragh. O'Brien won the race anyway with Alfred Nobel (the close third had been brushed aside by Steinbeck at Naas) and afterwards indicated that Steinbeck might come to the July Festival at Newmarket this week.

But the colt's name did not appear among the entries, and O'Brien explained that he has now decided to give him the whole summer off. "Steinbeck is on a break and probably won't run until the end of the season," the Ballydoyle trainer said. "But there's no big problem – just growing pains."

The situation is unhappily reminiscent of last year, when minor setbacks kept Rip Van Winkle off the track between July and October. O'Brien feels that a lack of grounding was still evident when Rip Van Winkle finally came off the bridle against Sea The Stars in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last Saturday.

It must duly be hoped that Steinbeck can gain some more experience in the autumn, because O'Brien was making no bones about his potential even in the spring, when he memorably observed that the birds in the trees at Ballydoyle were all singing about him.

In the meantime Richard Hannon is planning to give Canford Cliffs his next start in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte on 26 July, a trip of just five and a half furlongs.



Rainbow needs July showers

Even without Steinbeck, the July Festival promises to be as gorgeous a spectacle as usual. On Friday, Scenic Blast is hot favourite to confirm himself the best sprinter seen on these shores in many years in the Darley July Cup, while the meeting opens tomorrow with a contest between Goldikova and Rainbow View in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes.

Rainbow View looked on the way back when third over this trip in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, albeit the going remains officially good to firm and she would be grateful for the forecast showers. Goldikova, in contrast, craves a faster surface after a dismal comeback run in testing ground at Longchamp. She had sent sparks flying off firm going in the Breeders' Cup Mile last autumn, but it may yet prove pertinent that her form improved throughout the season. She could be one of those fillies that reserve their best for the autumn.

The eight runners declared yesterday also included Spacious and Heaven Sent, first and second in the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot, while the first of the meeting's juvenile Group races, the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes, is dominated by Habaayib, impressive winner of the Albany Stakes.



Curragh to get late Midday

High noon beckons on Sunday for Midday, the Oaks runner-up, when she is likely to follow her narrow Epsom conqueror, Sariska, to the Irish equivalent at the Curragh. Khaled Abdulla would have to pay €50,000 (£43,000) this morning to supplement his filly to the Darley Irish Oaks field, but his racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, indicated that only a very wet forecast would discourage him from making that investment.

The tensest showdown of the week, however, remains at the guns-holstered stage. Yesterday the British Horseracing Authority again postponed publication of their verdicts against those charged in the wake of the "race-fixing" trial which collapsed at the Old Bailey in 2007.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

Nap

Rhinestone Ruby (9.20 Uttoxeter) Only beaten in a photo over course and distance last time, and while her revised rating makes it close at the weights this time with Candle, third that day, she has tended to look more enthusiastic than her rival.



Next best

Jeer (4.0 Pontefract) Has quickly tumbled down to a very lenient rating for his new yard and showed signs of renewal when staying on steadily last time. It's now a matter of when, not if.



One to watch

Having failed to build on his juvenile promise at three, Alfathaa (W.J. Haggas) was gelded before resurfacing at Royal Ascot and running an excellent fifth from a poor draw in the Hunt Cup. On Saturday he was set too much to do in another valuable handicap at Sandown, and already looks an ideal type for the Cambridgeshire.



Where the money's going

Ben Chorley is 14-1 from 20-1 with William Hill for the John Smith's Cup at York on Saturday.

News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Life and Style
Kissing
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test