Sport

St Nicholas Abbey, the Classic flop who became the winner of six Group One races and the highest-earning runner in the history of Ballydoyle, lost his battle with chronic health problems when he had to be put down after an attack of colic.

'Sleepy' Workforce awakens to lay down a marker on comeback

While his juniors remain confined to talking the talk, for another eight days at least, the colt who actually holds the Investec Derby trophy last night showed them the way to walk the walk. Dropped in trip for his reappearance, and carrying a 7lb penalty, Workforce would have been readily pardoned defeat in the Piper Heidsieck Brigadier Gerard Stakes. But he combined all the diligence suggested by his name, and all the class transparent in his record, to lay down a most persuasive marker at Sandown for the months ahead.

Stoute builds confidence in Carlton House

It is safe to say that the next time he faces so many cameras will prove somewhat more instructive. As it was, little more could be gleaned from a brief glimpse of the Investec Derby favourite in Newmarket yesterday morning than that he has emerged from his rehearsal at York last week with a leg at each corner. A coachload of film crews and press none the less stood rapt on Warren Hill as Carlton House rippled through the sunshine, in leisured pursuit of his lead. They then turned to the man supervising his preparations for Epsom and found that he, too, seemed to be gliding through a familiar routine. In the case of Sir Michael Stoute, however, even this might be treated as a legitimate positive.

Animal Kingdom adapts as Triple Crown evolves

The drought stretches back to 1978, when Affirmed became the 11th US Triple Crown winner. In the meantime, the thirst for a 12th has become so acute that some have sacrilegiously proposed extending the intervals between the three legs, out of consideration for the modern American thoroughbred – a creature whose genes have been diluted by drugs, and an obsession with speed. Fortunately, the present crop is still measured against the standards set, and met, by its greatest ancestors. So it is, then, a bare fortnight after winning the 137th Kentucky Derby, Animal Kingdom will drop back in distance for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. And, if successful, he will generate three weeks of hype and hope before undertaking (by local standards) a ruthless test of stamina in the Belmont.

Queen's colt now Derby favourite after regal display

Anyone baffled, or worse, by the somewhat unreconstructed public response to a recent nuptial ceremony at Westminster Abbey would be well advised to avoid Epsom on 4 June. For the success here yesterday of Carlton House appears to give the monarch her best chance yet of winning the greatest race staged in her kingdom – and you may rest assured that the sport will be milking the moment.

Seville's proven class can put Derby rivals in their place

Ever since connections of Frankel decided against stretching out his phenomenal speed, the Investec Derby has seemed only to draft characters in search of a plot. All that is supposed to change at York today, however, when a warm favourite will surely volunteer himself from the convergence, in the Totesport Dante Stakes, of three of the first four in the Epsom betting. Certainly, it is an engrossing race – and a most unusual one, too, in that the odds should implore all self-respecting punters to the same conclusion.

'Lazy' Recital hits winning if off-key note in Derby trial

it was easy to see why connections should have wanted a jockey who could also ride Recital in the Investec Derby; less obvious, however, was how some bookmakers could be persuaded to make the colt second favourite.

No Derby date for Dordogne

The Derby market, in the absence of 2,000 Guineas winner Frankel, is waiting for a seminal performance to emerge from the current round of Classic eliminators to capture the imagination anew. There may be one at Leopardstown this afternoon, or at York later in the week, but events at Lingfield yesterday will definitely not impact on next month's Blue Riband; neither Dordogne nor Hurricane Higgins, the first two home in the Surrey track's trial, is entered at Epsom.

So You Think wins new converts

We in these parts may believe we have a wonder horse; on the other side of the world they know they have one. The beast in question, So You Think, has a cult following back home in Australia and yesterday took his first northern hemisphere steps toward explaining his hero status with an effortless win at the Curragh.

Blue Bunting proves an accidental winner

if frankel had appeared to meet an inexorable destiny the previous day, then the second Classic of the weekend was won here yesterday more or less by accident. Blue Bunting would probably have started her season in an Investec Oaks trial but for the setback that ruled her stablemate, White Moonstone, out of the Qipco 1,000 Guineas. In the event, however, they went off so hard into a headwind that her stamina proved a decisive asset even over a mile, and Godolphin could celebrate their first Newmarket Classic since Kazzia won this race in 2002.

Cecil eyes Ascot over Epsom for phenomenally fast Frankel

As he broke free of his hapless pursuers, apparently ambling one stride for their every two, Frankel shattered the fetters of both expectation and convention. Here is a champion who sets his own parameters. It seems pretty certain he will stay at a mile for his next start, at Royal Ascot, not least because connections can instead measure the Investec Derby competence of World Domination at York next week. But after seeing what he did on Saturday, who would presume to tell him – or his trainer – the limits of his reach?

Slumber stirs in good time for Epsom party

The Saudi Arabian Prince Khalid Abdullah, whose Juddmonte breeding operation is the most successful on a global scale of any of the top-end organisations, yesterday rolled out yet another potentially high-class bearer of his famous white, pink and green colours. The handsome colt Slumber emerged from his winter hibernation as a wide-margin winner of the only Derby trial to be held on the idiosyncratic course which hosts the Classic, though it has yet to be decided whether he will join his owner's Epsom party in June.

Weekend leaves Cecil frankly dominating the Classic picture

The pieces of the Classic jigsaw are starting to fit into place, so smoothly and with coincidences enough that even a cynical observer might start to believe in predestination. The Henry Cecil-trained Frankel is a hotter favourite than ever for the 2,000 Guineas after his wide-margin success in Saturday's Greenham Stakes; the last winner of the Newbury trial to win on the Rowley Mile was, 35 years ago, a likewise unbeaten Dewhurst Stakes winner under Cecil's care, Wollow.

Ballydoyle Derby hope Recital only third in trial

Recital, one of Ballydoyle's leading Epsom contenders, lost his unbeaten record on his reappearance at Leopardstown yesterday. The Montjeu colt, fast-tracked from a maiden success to win a Group One in France last autumn, was only third as Banimpire proved herself a tough filly typical of those trained by Jim Bolger.

Wolves take deserved Birmingham derby win

Wolves 1 Birmingham 0

The horsey set bridles at Earl's Newmarket plan

John Gosden's acceptance speech was the customary string of thank-yous as he picked up International Trainer of the Year in front of the racing fraternity this week. But a sudden frisson gripped the audience at the Horserace Writers' and Photographers' Association lunch as the usually mild-mannered trainer launched a barbed attack on a man sitting nearby, the Earl of Derby, the event's patron.

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