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Famous Name

Mentioned here after he won the Celebration Stakes at The Curragh on Derby weekend, Famous Name has now won twice since. He hasn’t been much use as a betting medium, as he has been long odds-on both times, but he is worthy of another mention now after he danced in in the Group 3 Desmond Stakes back at The Curragh on Sunday. We didn’t learn too much more about the son of Dansili on Sunday, this performance just confirmed what we suspected, that he is a miler who is at his best with cut in the ground. It has to be said that there was a little bit of a question mark over his resolve when he got beaten by The Bogberry in the Kilternan Stakes. It was also a little disappointing that he couldn’t beat Curtain Call in the Mooresbridge Stakes on his debut this season, and he seemed to give up the ghost fairly tamely against his stable companion Casual Conquest in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. However, it appears now as if the 10-furlong trip just stretches him. That seems a little strange, given that he was beaten just a head by Vision D’Etat in the Prix du Jockey Club over 10 and a half furlongs when he was drawn in the car park and probably ran close to 11 but looking back, with the exception of the winner (who we now know only just does enough), and the second, those who finished close up in that French Derby really weren’t a vintage bunch. Third-placed Natagora, winner of the 1000 Guineas who looked so good at the time, failed to win in five subsequent starts, fourth-placed High Rock didn’t race again, fifth-placed Chinchon has been beaten in all seven of his runs since, sixth-placed Hello Morning didn’t reach the first three in seven runs since. Trincot and Prospect Wells and Thewayyouare and Montmartre were in the race as well, but subsequent events have shown that, for a variety of reasons, none of them gave their true running on the day.

Famous Name has now run five times over a mile or nine furlongs since his juvenile days, and he has won four times. The only time he was beaten over the distance was in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp last October, when they made the running with him, supposedly to try to take advantage of the stamina that he appeared to have. It was only a Group 3 race on Sunday, but there were some useful performers in opposition, including Three Rocks and Poet, and Famous Name pulverised them. Everything about the performance smacked of quality. You could see him visibly picking up at the two-furlong pole when Pat Smullen gave him a slight squeeze and everything else came off the bridle. The horse just wanted to be allowed take off, showing a really likeable attitude – not befitting a horse who has worn a visor and blinkers in the past – and he duly put a distance of ground between himself and his rivals with minimal effort from Smullen. The time of the race was the joint best comparative time on the day, and he left the impression that he could have gone significantly faster. The Prix Jacques le Marois, run on the same day, would have been the ideal August target for Famous Name but, as it turned out, it was probably in his favour that he stayed at base. The ground wasn’t as soft at Deauville as it can be, and he probably wouldn’t have got near Goldikova anyway. That said, that exceptional filly apart, Famous Name deserves a crack at the very best milers now. He is not in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on 29th August, which is a pity, as the ground can come up on the easy side for that, and it would be the ideal next step for him.

16th August 2009

© The Irish Field, 22nd August 2009