Value in Matiya's Classic connection

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The Independent Online
When Pentire has run his last he will be boxed into an aeroplane and flown to Japan's Shadai Farm. It emerged yesterday that his journey could have been much shorter, and one he could have accomplished on foot.

Those at the National Stud at Newmarket were locked in negotiations for the colt until the big money from Japan forced them to pull their pennies from the table. "It is a disappointment," Nicholas Jones, the Stud's chairman, said yesterday. "We have been talking to Pentire's connections for more than 12 months, but we heard around the time of the Newmarket July meeting that the Japanese had entered the scene and we cannot match the sort of offers they are prepared to make."

It may be that the National Stud may have to settle for something more down market, such as First Island, who runs in the Mollers Racing colours in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood today. This colt's odds have been cut severely following reports that he worked competitively with Pentire on the gallops recently. This may be misleading as Pentire is now mature enough to appreciate that he should not hurt himself on the trial grounds.

Nevertheless, First Island did break a 20-year course record in capturing the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and is by no means the worst alternative. The strong favourite today is Charnwood Forest, and while he has slivers of top-class form his short price makes him less than irresistible. On a point of value, nothing stands out more than MATIYA (nap 3.20), who is available at 8-1. The filly represents Classic form, having finished closest to Bosra Sham in the 1,000 Guineas and one better in the Irish equivalent, a win which has been advertised by the subsequent exploits of the runner-up, Dance Design.

Alhaarth will again have his barmy supporters despite soiling a reputation that was forged in part on this course 12 months ago in the Champagne Stakes. Some interesting beasts turn out for the Group Three event this year, including Sahm, who can be found in racing's Debrett's as the product of a mating between Mr Prospector and Salsabil. But Putra (2.45), who is said to have improved since breaking the 13-year-old Sandown juvenile record, is the pick.

Frog has jumped too far up the weights and should not cope with Arabian Story (next best 3.50), while the first may fall to Southern Power (2.15).