5 October 2008

Taseez has always had talent but until yesterday, despite two earlier victories, he had shown more of it in the morning than in the afternoon. “Nothing can get past him then,” said jockey Richard Hills. And, half an hour earlier, nothing had in the Cambridgeshire.

The 25-1 starting price and the fact that Hills was only riding Tazeez because his preferred mount Mutajarred was withdrawn owing to the firm ground, showed the uncertainty beforehand. But the result was decisive enough with Tazeez cutting down the 66-1 grey outsider Nanton in the final furlong with the favourite Swop back in third.

These three were clear of what had seemed an incredibly competitive field, suggesting that sometimes it is easier to quit worrying about detailed form and just stick with stables whose horses seem healthiest. At the moment, none are more perky than John Gosden’s and this Cambridgeshire victory was following the team’s 33-1 success with Donativum in the Tattersalls Timeform Million, making it 78 winners and over £2 million for the season.

Confidence is the key and over the year no stable has matched that of the inmates of Aidan O’Brien, whose Halfway To Heaven held too many guns for the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained favourite Darjina in the Sun Chariot Stakes, so giving the yard a 21st Group One of the season. On a weekend like this every result is dissected for auguries. But instant thoughts that this might point towards O’Brien’s Arc de Triomphe raiders rather than Darjina’s stablemate Zarkava were dashed when the news came through that Yeats had flopped at Longchamp, where possible overnight rain could yet see the withdrawal of Duke of Marmalade and severely compromise the flying filly Zarkava.

Meanwhile, Zarkava’s rider Christophe Soumillon was at his cool and arrogant best, winning both the Prix du Cadran on the Spanish-trained Bannaby and the Prix de la Foret on Richard Hannon’s Paco Boy.

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