A model attitude may still win day
An odds-on favourite already bestrides the Epsom betting, and the flat-out success of Mickdaam in the trial staged across the mire here did nothing to alter that.
The colt he thwarted, however, may yet intrude on the Triple Crown dreams of those already marking down the Investec Derby for Camelot.
After taking time to find his feet in the MBNA Chester Vase, Model Pupil would have nailed Mickdaam in another stride.
Their riders had no idea who had won the day, but Michael Hills could at least later console himself that his mount had proved his eligibility for a very different type of challenge.
In truth, if he could get so close to a rival as seasoned as Mickdaam, careering round these bends in May, then Model Pupil will surely be a force to be reckoned with down the long, galloping straight at Doncaster in September.
The sponsors duly introduced him at 16-1 for the Ladbrokes St Leger.
In the meantime, the jockey and trainer of Mickdaam will eagerly embrace the odds against him at Epsom, broadly assessed at 33-1 by the bookmakers.
This colt was last month restored to Richard Fahey's Malton yard by Mike De Kock, the South African trainer who had custody of him in Dubai during the winter.
Fourth in the UAE Derby, Mickdaam had looked ready for this longer trip when running well on his return at the Craven meeting.
Sure enough, matching the pugnacious style of Tony Hamilton in the saddle, yesterday he saw off the two Irish raiders in the straight before holding Model Pupil's late charge by a nose.
“Not bad,” Fahey mused. “A little northern lad like me having a runner in the Derby.”
If nothing else, it is gratifying to see him finally training for the Maktoum family — the colt is owned by Sheikh Mohammed's cousin — and Hamilton in the frame for a maiden Classic ride.
Having won the Lincoln on the first day of the campaign, the jockey is certainly making the most of champion Paul Hanagan's departure from Malton to ride for Sheikh Hamdan.
“I always knew it might be a big season for me,” Hamilton said.
“I've been with Richard for 10 years, and with Paul taking the big job I knew someone would have to ride the horses.
“I didn't know it would be me, but I hoped so.
“This horse does know how to fight, and that's what he did all the way.”
Jockey Paul Carberry looks like having a good night at Downpatrick where he rides Nodelay for Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney in the Elvis Tribute Mares Hurdle.
Nodelay was successful last year at Down Royal and Downpatrick with Carberry riding her to victory at the former.
After his recent win at the Maze earlier this week with Back To Balloo it can be said McBratney is on form and certainly Nodelay will take some beating.
The main opposition will come from Ruby Walsh who had a three timer at Down Royal on Bank Holiday Monday. This time he rides Maggie Connolly .
Walsh has a good record at Downpatrick and rarely goes without a winner but Carberry may have the upper hand here.
DOWNPATRICK TIPS: 5.20 Perfect Gentleman 5.50 Nodelay 6.25 Mylerstown 6.55 Griesenau 7.25 Fort View Wings 8.00 |General Maccreevy 8.35 Cosmic Wonder