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Famous Name

Famous Name was in danger of getting a name for shirking issues, for not wanting to go through with his effort, but it turns out that he was actually probably racing over distances that were further than ideal of late. Dropped back down to a mile for only the second time since his three-year-old debut, and given the fast pace that Jumbajukiba set in the Celebration Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday and a little bit of ease in the ground, and he was irresistable. Dermot Weld’s colt travelled really well just behind the leader throughout, moved off the rail to deliver his challenge two and a half furlongs out, picked up Jumbajukiba fairly easily under just a hands and heels drive from Pat Smullen, and surged clear just two cracks of the whip later to win, eased down, by a long-looking five lengths.

This was much more like it from the son of Dansili after a three-year-old campaign that was largely frustrating. Winner of Leopardstown’s Guineas trial at the beginning of the year, he would have been a French Derby winner from an impossible draw but for the presence in the race of the top class Vision D’Etat, and he had to wait until his last run of the season, in the Listed Trigo Stakes at Leopardstown in October, when tried in blinkers for the first time, to register his next win. This season had started in a similar vein, with defeat in the Mooresbridge Stakes and again to his stable companion Casual Conquest in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, but both of those races were over 10 furlongs, and he looked much happier on Sunday dropped back down to a mile. This could be the key to him now, he showed a really impressive turn of foot off this fast pace on the easy ground to go clear of useful rivals. The time of the race was really good – this race and the Irish Derby were the only ones run in a time that was below standard on the day – and Famous Name gave the impression that he had much more left to give if more had been required.

Famous Name is in another Group 3 race over nine furlongs at The Curragh on 11th July, and he would be of immediate interest in that if he takes his chance. It is a pity that he isn’t in the Sussex Stakes, as he would be a major player in that, particularly if the ground were to come up good or slightly easier at Goodwood. Owner Prince Khalid Abdulla probably has Main Aim ear-marked for that contest, so it is probably unlikely that there will be the option to supplement Famous Name, which is a shame, as he could have been significantly under-rated in that. Looking further ahead, Dermot Weld is considering the Arlington Million in Chicago in August. While there is genuinely probably no better trainer in the world to target a horse at a specific international race, the fear about the Arlington Million for Famous Name is that it is run over 10 furlongs, which may now be further than ideal, and it is usually run on lightning fast ground. If the trainer thinks that it is worth a shot, then the hint should be taken, but there is more low-hanging fruit closer to home in the interim.

28th June 2009