Shaamit to miss Irish re-match

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The Independent Online
Irish Derby favourite Shaamit will miss Sunday's race after sustaining a foot injury in his stable. Just 24 hours after giving the go-ahead for the Epsom Derby hero to be entered for the Curragh Classic at today's supplementary stage, the colt's desperately disappointed trainer William Haggas had to break the news that his star was lame.

''He shifted the shoe on his foot which made it sore,'' Haggas said yesterday: ''We found it at evening stables on Sunday night, and we took the shoe off and applied a poultice. He was almost right again by the evening and will probably be sound again by Wednesday. But you can't go into a race like this one at half-cock.''

The cause of the mishap is a mystery, but prolonged dry weather can affect horses' hooves (the horny walls of which comprise around 25 per cent water) making them dry out and become a less solid fixture for horse-shoe nails. Shaamit's sire Mtoto had a long history of problems with his shelly feet.

Haggas recalled: ''Yeast did exactly the same thing with a shoe in the winner's enclosure after he won at Ascot but he was lucky enough for a nail not to touch the tender part of his foot. With Shaamit it was just one of those unfortunate things but it is only a short-term setback."

The trainer, trying to salvage a bright side, added: "I suppose it is better that it happened when it did, as we have saved ourselves the pounds 60,000 supplementary fee. But it's Sod's Law. I spent most of Sunday telling everyone how well he was and now I have to turn round and say this."

Shaamit, owned by Khalifa Dasmal, will now be prepared either for the Eclipse Stakes, a step back to 10 furlongs, in 10 days' time, or the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at the end of July. Haggas said: ''I would like to win a Group One race with him over the shorter distance, but we will play it by ear, depending on how long it takes him to get over his foot problem.''

Ladbrokes, the first to bet on the Irish Derby, have promoted Derby runner- up Dushyantor to favouritism at 6-4, with the one-time Derby favourite Dr Massini, who missed Epsom because of a minor injury, 2-1 and fifth- placed Alhaarth 9-2.

Peter Chapple-Hyam had been in two minds about running his French Derby runner-up Polaris Flight, an 8-1 shot, but two factors - the injury to Shaamit and the fact that the colt was sold for a large sum to a Saudi prince over the weekend - mean he will take his chance.

The Irish have won their local Derby only once in the past 10 years (with St Jovite in 1992) and the home side's defence looks weak again this year, with Rainbow Blues, second in the 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh, the first in the betting at 20-1.

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