Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Bethrah is a picture of success in Guineas

After posed portraits for Fame And Glory and Jan Vermeer, not to mention Canford Cliffs the previous day, what was supposed to be the centrepiece at the Curragh yesterday instead proved something of a crowd scene.

So while Bethrah's Classic success formally entitles her to top billing, the fact that four other fillies finished within half a length suggested that other performances over the weekend will retain rather more resonance by the end of the season.

Either way, Bethrah has certainly made giant strides since winning a maiden at Limerick barely a month ago. Trained by Dermot Weld for Sheikh Hamdan, she then won a trial at Leopardstown by a neck, and here rattled through a gap on the rail to cut down Anna Salai in the final strides of the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Weld indicated that the Marju filly could improve again over 10 furlongs, while her jockey Pat Smullen paid tribute to the way she twice manoeuvred her way out of heavy traffic.

Anna Salai had travelled powerfully and for a long time threatened to give her new trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, a first Classic success — albeit he would have given due credit to Andre Fabre, who only completed her grounding in France a couple of weeks previously.

She was only beaten a head, with Music Show confirming herself best of those that ran in the Newmarket original — where she had been marooned by the draw — a neck away in third.

Remember When confirmed she will not remain a maiden for long, beaten only another few inches, while her stablemate Lillie Langtry made an eye-catching return from injury just behind, only given a couple of slaps after being delayed in her run.

Bookmakers cut both these fillies for the Investec Oaks, though whether Danehill Dancer can sire a Classic winner over a mile and a half remains to be seen. As a three-parts brother to Dylan Thomas, Remember When has far better prospects of staying than Lillie Langtry, with her speedy maternal pedigree.

Their trainer Aidan O'Brien had perhaps already achieved his principal mission for the day, engraving the most legible of signposts to future success for Fame And Glory and Jan Vermeer.

The former, understandably, became heartily sick of bumping into Sea The Stars all last season, but any disenchantment with his calling was clearly not permanent. With his Irish Derby success in mind, this leisurely seven-length destruction of Group One rivals for the Tattersalls Gold Cup confirmed that there can now be few around to match him over 10 furlongs on fast ground, either.

After artfully restoring his confidence this spring, O'Brien is disposed to give Fame And Glory a midsummer break after the Investec Coronation Cup. That is only a week on Friday, which is hardly ideal, but whatever happens at Epsom it is easy to see him returning in the autumn as a major player at Longchamp and Louisville.

As for Jan Vermeer, his flamboyant resumption in the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes prompted bookmakers to include him among the various Ballydoyle colts now dominating betting in the Investec Derby. In fact he is now as short as 5-1 with Ladbrokes.

O'Brien did caution, however, that he could yet go for the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly.

“The race will bring him on a lot,” he said.

“Johnny (Murtagh) was very impressed and we'll now have to decide whether he goes to Epsom or to the French Derby.”

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