Fabre takes it to Max
The best jockeys operate in the narrow margin between the carefree and the careless, between nerve and nerves.
That is where one of the master trainers in all Turf history, Andre Fabre, discovered Maxime Guyon — and that is how he came to vest so much trust in France's latest riding sensation here yesterday.
Guyon, still only 21, had never ridden on these shores before Fabre hoisted him aboard Byword, favourite for the big race on the second day of the meeting. But he produced a ride of seasoned simplicity to win the Prince of Wales' Stakes, reserving his one flourish of excitement for a clenched salute to the stands as he passed the post.
It was only then, in fact, that the latent dimensions of his performance were disclosed — for here was Twice Over, flashing home on the outside, beaten only half a length. Had Guyon not made his move when he did, from just behind a fairly temperate gallop two furlongs out, things might well have turned out very differently.
“I was a bit worried about the inexperience of the jockey,” Fabre admitted.
“But he had a perfect ride, clear without any bumps. Maxime has nerve, and he's young — which is always an advantage. He knows what horses want. He also doesn't use the whip a lot, which I enjoy as well. He rode a beautiful race.”
Not that he could win this prize on his own, and Fabre “knew” the horse was good enough to win, so long as the rider did his part.
“Byword has matured this season,” he explained. “He got a bit sick as a three-year-old, had a virus. We gave him time, and now he is really coming to himself.”
Without attaching any blame to Tom Queally, meanwhile, Cecil was frustrated by the way the race had unfolded, with Tazeez completing the top three. “We wanted to be handier and it was such a mess-up,” he said.
Cecil did not have to wait too long for succour, however, Timepiece finally coming good, dropped back to a mile for the Sandringham Handicap. Disappointing both in her trials and in the Oaks itself, Abdulla's filly stemmed a sustained challenge from Blue Maiden to give Cecil his 72nd winner at this meeting.
There were track records for two fillies: Rainfall in the Jersey Stakes, and Maqaasid in the Queen Mary. Ryan Moore, who rode Rainfall, completed a double when Strawberrydaiquiri thwarted Spacious in the Windsor Forest Stakes, while Godolphin pulled a Hunt Cup winner out of the hat in Invisible Man.