O’Brien the ideal man to apply golden touch to Fame And Glory

BOOKMAKERS and punters were singing off the one hymn sheet after Fame And Glory had landed the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown last Sunday.

Most seemed to be in full agreement that the son of Montjeu had done nothing to enhance his Ascot Gold Cup prospects and would not be winning come June 16.

Leading the charge were Ladbrokes, who couldn’t push his odds out quick enough and offered a top price of 100-30. They were later joined by a couple of other firms.

You would have to accept Fame And Glory was less than impressive and the bare form of his half a length defeat of Vivacious Vivienne wouldn’t see him make the first three at the Royal meeting.

That followed on his seasonal debut at Navan, where he scrambled to a narrow success over Nebula Storm.

Neither win gives him any chance at Ascot, but to take at face value what we have seen thus far this season would be the height of folly.

Aidan O’Brien is an absolute master at getting it right on the big day, really the only one that counts, and used to do it all of the time in the glory days of Istabraq.

The Fame And Glory we have seen of late bears no resemblance to the real one, at least in my opinion.

There has been no spark to his displays, no sense that what you are looking at is a high-class horse with some fantastic performances to his credit.

Remember this is the fellow who won the Irish Derby by five lengths and who was second to the great Sea The Stars in both the Epsom Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Last season, as a four-year-old, he was especially good. For instance he was a creditable fifth to Workforce in the ‘Arc at Longchamp.

Earlier in the campaign, he ran away from ultra-smart Sariska in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and, at his best, is simply a top-notcher.

But so far this campaign he has struggled to beat Nebula Storm and Vivacious Vivienne and that hasn’t half set me thinking.

The vast majority of opinion now seems to have it he is a non-stayer and the mile and six at Leopardstown stretched his stamina almost to the limit.

That may well be the correct interpretation, but I’m inclined to the view that Fame And Glory, hard-trained, would tie up a leg and beat both Nebula Storm and Vivacious Vivienne -over any trip.

O’Brien’s job is to produce his colt later this month in the form of his life and there is no better man at getting the timing just right.

I’m not saying for a second Fame And Glory will stay two and a half miles and win the Gold Cup.

But I do have this nagging feeling that any relationship between the horse we have seen twice this season, and the one who will arrive at Ascot in 12 days’ time, will be purely coincidental.

That aside, Dermot Weld had to be purring at Leopardstown, after watching Rite Of Passage finishing a creditable third in the Saval Beg.

That was, of course, his first outing since landing a shock win in last year’s Gold Cup. Rite Of Passage has certainly come a long way.

He is the winner of two bumpers and then went to Ascot a year ago as basically as a glorified handicapper and hurdle horse.

Fame and Glory has the talent to gallop all over him, but the gruelling two and a half miles at Ascot has long been a great leveller.

Carlton remains most likely Derby winner

THAT scare with Carlton House on Tuesday didn’t half throw the Epsom Derby betting, and one’s thinking on the race, into disarray.

I have fancied him since he did everything wrong and was still able to win the Dante at York, but that hiccup was more than a little disconcerting.

Siding with him now just gives you a mildly uncomfortable feeling and the temptation to jump ship is almost overwhelming. But we won’t.

Ballydoyle are throwing four shots at the board and it is impossible to be enthusiastic about Treasure Beach and difficult to picture Memphis Tennessee winning.

I can’t be with Recital either, on the basis of the way he behaved up the straight when winning at Leopardstown.

Seville, though, has a real life. He is bred to stay and was only a length and a half adrift of Carlton House in the Dante.

The dark horse of the contest has to be Andre Fabre’s Pour Moi. He might be anything, or nothing.

But do give yourself a treat this morning and watch him winning last time at Saint-Cloud. You can see the race on you tube, just type in Pour Moi and up it will come.

He produced an astonishing display, coming from last to first in the straight with what seemed an explosive turn of foot.

Perhaps, the form doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but you’d have to respect him all of the same.

The doubts regarding Carlton House are an obvious worry, but Michael Stoute is a trainer who has long been at the top of his profession and there is no way he would risk the horse if he was less than one hundred per cent.

He remains the most likely winner, with Seville, possibly, the best alternative.

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