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)

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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open