x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Farhh is facing 'tall order' in Eclipse Stakes

Previous run failed to excite manager Crisford while Al Zarooni's two horses test positive.

Frankie Dettori, onboard Farhh, will give his Godolphin's first string blue cap to Mickael Barzalona.
Frankie Dettori, onboard Farhh, will give his Godolphin's first string blue cap to Mickael Barzalona.

LONDON // Simon Crisford has suggested, in the build-up to the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park tomorrow, that Farhh may have been overrated by his Royal Ascot run behind So You Think.

Farhh finished strongly in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes two weeks ago, having been hampered by Planteur, the Dubai World Cup runner, at a crucial stage.

Frankie Dettori angled out his mount and once the pair got going the time of Farhh's final furlong was faster than any runner in either of the Group 1 sprints during the five-day meeting.

"Farrh has a lot to do. I do think it is a tall order for him," said Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager.

"Royal Ascot was an interesting run. He might have been a bit flattered. He looked unlucky; he missed the break and met trouble in running. I can't help feeling he got sucked into it and was passing tired horses."

Although the margin of defeat was nearly three lengths, Saeed bin Suroor, the trainer, was convinced in the closing stages that his charge would pick up the winner.

"I thought in the last 100 yards this horse was going to win the race," he said.

"He showed a good turn of foot and plenty of speed but I thought, last 100 yards, he is coming to win. He was just unlucky," he added, in an interview with the British Champions Series.

Dettori, who will carry the Olympic torch at Ascot racecourse on Tuesday, will once again ride Farhh, and although the racing cognoscenti would have it that the lightly raced colt is the stable's first string, that is not how jockey silks would have it.

In a move that will add further oxygen to the debate surrounding who is the team's first jockey, the Italian will wear the white cap of Godolphin.

Mickael Barzalona will renew his Dubai World Cup-winning association with Monterosso and will wear the blue cap of the first string, while the Emirati jockey Ahmed Ajtebi will ride City Style in the red of the third choice.

Monterosso will be having his first outing since his heroics at Meydan Racecourse in March, and Crisford reported that the five-year-old stallion would come on for the run ahead of more lucrative targets later in the year, which could also include the Breeders' Cup.

"He's going to be a little bit rusty as we have our eye on the big international races later in the season," he said.

"If he can translate his Dubai form to a different surface and a different track he will have a big chance.

"He's won at Royal Ascot, so turf suits him fine and we know that he stays well."

Since saddling Godolphin's two successes at Royal Ascot, Colour Vision and Tha'ir, Bin Suroor has continued to fire home winners, including a double at Kempton Park with Dettori on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the British Horseracing Authority has launched an investigation into Mahmoud Al Zarooni's stable after two of his horses tested positive for a banned substance. Mariner's Cross and Lyric Of Light were found to have in their systems traces of the prohibited painkiller propoxyphene.

Mariner's Cross's sample was taken after he won the Wood Ditton Stakes at Newmarket on April 19, while Lyric Of Light tested positive after finishing last in the 1000 Guineas on May 6.

Al Zarooni has been summoned to appear at a hearing. If he is found responsible for the positive tests, he faces a fine of up to £10,000 (Dh57,000), and both horses could be disqualified.

sports@thenational.ae

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