Road just too fast for Dancer

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The Independent Online
Glory Of Dancer failed by honourable inches to follow his Derby fourth place with victory in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp yesterday. The Paul Kelleway-trained colt went under by an agonising short-head as Grape Tree Road pipped him in the shadow of the post.

Cash Asmussen, riding Glory Of Dancer for the first time, shadowed the leaders in fifth place towards the outside as Le Triton took the field along, and victory for the 5-2 favourite looked assured as he surged to the front a furlong out. Most of those behind him were playing dodgems as they scrambled for position, but Thierry Jarnet found a freeway on the rails in the last hundred yards for Grape Tree Road and his flying finish prevailed on the Andre Fabre-trained colt.

Kelleway, whose Risk Me had been the last British-trained winner of the Group One event nine years ago, was philosophical in defeat. He said: ''What can you say? Mine ran his race, but Cash said he probably hit the front just too soon.''

Two lengths behind the principals the next four home, headed by the winner's stablemate Android, finished virtually in line abreast. Henry Cecil's challenger, Farasan, ran a blinder in fourth on his first venture in Pattern company, but the stewards judged him the chief culprit in the barging match in the straight and demoted him to sixth behind Le Triton and Blackwater. His rider, John Reid, earned a four-day ban, from 2-5 July, in the process, but Cecil has not lost faith in Farasan, unbeaten in two runs before yesterday. ''He got no sort of run, but this is a very good horse," Cecil said. "He'll be suited by further and we will seriously think about the King George.''

Grape Tree Road, who was dropping back to 10 furlongs after a seventh place in the French Derby, was Fabre's fifth Grand Prix winner in eight years, and owner Michael Tabor's first Group One winner in France. Tabor said: ''I'd been chatting to Paul [Kelleway] beforehand, and when I couldn't see mine in the final furlong I started shouting for his.

''But Grape Tree Road found that incredible burst of speed, so I had to change my allegiance back. It was a tremendously exciting race, and I'm just enjoying the moment. But this distance clearly suits him, so I suppose the York International and Irish Champion Stakes must be on the agenda.''

It was an up-and-down - literally - day for Jarnet. Half an hour after his Grand Prix victory, he was unseated from Met Mech Nich as the filly jinked left after leaving the stalls for the Prix de Malleret. In the race, the Oaks third, Mezzogiorno, trailed in last after leading into the straight, and will now have a break. The easy winner, the Aga Khan's Shamadara, may now take her chance in the Irish Oaks.

One man who would have been waiting for the Grand Prix result with particular interest was William Haggas, who yesterday confirmed that his Derby hero, Shaamit, will be supplemented tomorrow for the Irish Derby on Sunday. Glory Of Dancer was the third of those who finished behind Shaamit at Epsom to reappear, and although none of the trio has won (third-placed Shantou was narrowly beaten at Royal Ascot and Acharne, eighth, went under by a short-head to Astor Place at the Heath fixture on Saturday) all have performed with credit.

Ladbrokes make Shaamit their 6-4 favourite to confirm his superiority over the runner-up, Dushyantor, who is bracketed at joint second spot with Tabor's Dr Massini, who missed the Derby because of injury.

The Epsom fifth, Alhaarth, likely to be blinkered for the first time, is next in the list at 7-1, with the French Derby second, Polaris Flight, at 10s and the Godolphin candidate, Sharaf Kabeer, 14-1. Alhaarth's trainer, Dick Hern, said of last year's champion two-year-old : ''He is a very relaxed individual and the blinkers might help him concentrate. I am sure he'll be better suited by the flatter course at the Curragh, as he did not come down the hill too well at Epsom.''

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