05/22/2010 11:00PM

Fame and Glory continues to improve


Fame and Glory opened up the afterburners in powering to a seven-length victory in the Group 1, $281,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on Sunday, shortly before Bethrah produced a 16-1 upset in the $406,000 Irish 1000 Guineas.

Stymied no fewer than three times by Sea the Stars last year, Fame and Glory is emerging as the best older middle distance horse in Europe this season. Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, he settled in second early in the 1 5/16-mile contest, content to allow longshot Dixie Music to cut out some modest early fractions. With nothing left to do but take over the lead at the five-sixteenths pole, Fame and Glory drew off for a sound beating of Recharge as the 8-15 favorite, covering the distance in 2:13.57 on good to firm turf. The gallant 5-year-old mare Chinese White was third, a neck behind the runner-up, but Cutlass Bay was another huge disappointment for Saeed bin Suroor, as the previously undefeated son of Halling backed up to finish fifth of six, 20.75 lengths behind Fame and Glory as the 3-1 second choice.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Fame and Glory had snapped a four-race losing streak last time with an impressive five-length tally in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes. His Tattersalls victory impelled Irish bookies Paddy Power to install him as their 5-1 favorite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, a race in which he finished sixth last year behind Sea the Stars.

The performance of Godolphin's Cutlass Bay, who was making his first start for Suroor since being switched from Andre Fabre two weeks ago, is the latest in a long line of failures of horses that have made the same switch of late. That was not the case with Anna Salai who, in making her first start for Godolphin's second string trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni since being switched from Fabre, nearly won the Irish 1000 Guineas.

Supplemented to the one-mile fillies classic by Godolphin after a victory in Longchamp's Group 3 Prix de la Grotte, Anna Salai appeared to be the 15-2 winner under Ahmed Ajtebi but the Dermot Weld-trained Bethrah rallied late under Pat Smullen to win by a head. English 1000 Guineas sixth Music Show was third as the 3-1 favorite, a neck behind Anna Salai with Remember When finishing the best of the five Aidan O'Brien trainees in fourth, a short head further back. The time for the mile was 1:37.49.

The 3 1/2-length winner of a 7-furlong Limerick maiden in her seasonal debut on April 13, Bethrah has made vast strides in a very short period of time. Weld said that she will likely step up to 1 1/4 miles for her next start, while Godolphin spokesman Simon Crisford informed that Anna Salai would go next in either the 1 5/16-mile French Oaks on June 13 or the one-mile Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18.

Earlier on the same card, Jan Vermeer threw down a Derby challenge to his Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemates with a convincing victory in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Gallinule Stakes. Unraced since winning the one-mile, Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on Nov. 1, Jan Vermeer prevailed by a most handy 1 3/4 lengths over Bobbyscot as the 3-2 favorite. Johnny Murtagh hardly moved a muscle throughout as the winning Montjeu colt covered the distance in 2:11.38. Shintoh, a Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway and Hollywood Wildcat trained by Jim Bolger, was third, two lengths behind the winner.

O'Brien now has William Hill's first four favorites for the Epsom Derby in St Nicholas Abbey (7-4), Cape Blanco (6-1), Jan Vermeer (6-1), and Midas Touch (8-1). The trainer warned, however, that he will be splitting up his foursome between the 1 1/2-mile June 5 Epsom Derby, which is the stated intention of St Nicholas Abbey, and the 1 5/16-mile French Derby the next day.