Yeats weakens after shaky debut

Poor run makes favourite drift in Gold Cup betting as Alandi impresses at Navan

His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, had cautioned beforehand that Yeats was "a year older, and a year wiser", and only just ready for his reappearance at Navan yesterday. After watching him run, however, bookmakers instead decided that one of the great stayers of all time is simply a year slower.

That may yet prove a hasty judgement, O'Brien being increasingly comfortable with the idea of letting horses work their way to peak form on the racecourse. But that unprecedented fourth success in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot is no longer deemed a formality after Yeats was one of the first beaten in the Vintage Crop Stakes, dropping away to finish a distant sixth of eight behind the impressive Alandi. Yeats unquestionably needed the run, but his performance was so lacking in gusto that Coral eased him right out to 7-2, from 6-4, for the Gold Cup.

In fairness, Seamus Heffernan did not give his mount a hard time, once he had begun to tire in the sticky conditions, and it may even prove something of a blessing that Yeats could not engage Alandi. For he could only have done so at the expense of a very searching race, first time out.

Having only the second start of his career, Alandi betrayed his inexperience before coming back on the bridle and surging three-and-a-half lengths past Hindu Kush. Yet another feather in the cap of Galileo, his remarkable young sire, Alandi is trained for the Aga Khan by John Oxx. "We had plenty of offers to buy him as a hurdler at the end of last season," Oxx admitted. "But we decided to hold on to him, as he's very well bred. He holds back in his homework, so he should improve from this, and will now go for the Savel Beg Stakes at Leopardstown."

Heffernan, meanwhile, did not sound too downhearted with Yeats. "He just didn't go with me down the dip," the jockey shrugged. "He got a bit tired on the ground. When he gets his ground, and he's a bit fitter, he'll be a real competitor. I'm sure Aidan will have him right for the day that matters." O'Brien himself was on his way home from Longchamp, where he had saddled Thewayyouare for the Prix Ganay, the first Group One prize of the European season. Making his first start since leaving André Fabre, Thewayyouare was always handy as Red Rock Canyon set a slow pace, but Vision d'Etat proved much the best equipped for the sprint finish. Winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and fifth in the Arc last year, Vision d'Etat had clearly progressed from his own comeback over the course, three weeks previously, and idled as Loup Breton and Adlerflug closed to within a length. Thewayyouare kept on steadily for fourth with the Newmarket raiders, Cima De Triomphe and Tajaaweed, respectively sixth and last of eight.

Eric Libaud, his trainer, said that the winner has strengthened since last year and indicated that Royal Ascot could now be on his agenda. Johnny Murtagh meanwhile dismounted from Thewayyouare to suggest that he might have found the ground quicker than ideal.

It seems safe to predict better to come from Cima De Triomphe, whose new trainer, Luca Cumani, had earlier confirmed his standing on the world stage by winning the QEII Cup at Sha Tin with Presvis. After an exasperating series of near misses in big international races, this was an overdue success for Cumani, who will now send Presvis on for another valuable prize in Singapore next month.

Remarkably Presvis was ridden by Ryan Moore, who had flown out overnight after getting Tartan Bearer home in a photo at Sandown only the previous tea-time. Runner-up in the Derby last year, Tartan Bearer is unmistakably going to reach a new peak this summer. Clearly there is little prospect of Yeats doing the same, at the age of eight, but it is none the less too soon to consider him over the hill.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Box Office (3.50 Newcastle)

NB: Mr Newton (4.10 Towcester)

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
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: Front End Web Interface Developer - HTML, CSS, JS

£17000 - £23750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Liverpool based international...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness