10/14/2009 11:00PM

Fame and Glory seeking a rebound


Fame and Glory, his reputation somewhat tarnished after a sixth-place finish in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe two weeks ago, will cut back to 1 1/4 miles for the Group 1, $359,000 Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, when he will go off as the likely 5-4 favorite.

In seven outings before the Arc, Fame and Glory had allowed just one horse to finish in front of him. That was Sea the Stars, who had his number in both the Epsom Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes. In the Arc, he finished behind Sea the Stars again but also trailed Youmzain, Cavalryman, Conduit, and Dar Re Mi. None of those will be running in the Champion, but Fame and Glory, a 3-year-old son of Montjeu trained by Aidan O'Brien, will not have his own way at Newmarket.

The straight 10 furlongs of the Champion is usually taken by a genuine 10-furlong type, not a 12-furlong horse cutting back. The jury is still out, however, as to which distance is Fame and Glory's best. His breeding - he is out of a mare by Shirley Heights - suggests that 12 furlongs is his game, but three of his last four victories have come at the shorter distance. Moreover, his best effort may have been when runner-up to Sea the Stars in the 10-furlong Irish Champion. In any event, he is the horse to beat under jockey Johnny Murtagh.

His closest rivals are also cutting back from 1 1/2 miles. English and Irish Oaks winner Sariska, second to Dar Re Mi in the Yorkshire Oaks last time, does have a win over the Champion distance at the Group 3 level, while the late-blooming Mawatheeq, a half brother to 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati, recently landed the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes.

Two French invaders are practiced at a 1 1/4 miles. The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained filly Alpine Rose, fourth two weeks ago in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, won the Group 2 Prix Jean Romanet. Never on Sunday, winner of the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan and a close third in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, flunked when seventh behind Goldikova in the one-mile Prix Jacques le Marois last time and should benefit by a return to his favorite trip for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.

The Michael Stoute-Ryan Moore trainer-jockey duo looks dangerous at a price with Doctor Fremantle. A Sadler's Wells 4-year-old, he followed a win in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes with a score in the 1 3/8-mile, Group 3 Arc Trial. Pipedreamer, who returned off a four-month layoff to win the Group 2 Prix Dollar at 55 yards short of 10 furlongs for John Gosden at Longchamp on Oct. 3, has been bet down to 8-1 this week.

The Champion Stakes is a Win and-You're In event for the Breeders' Cup Turf. While its winner would never be denied a spot in the Turf lineup, it remains to be seen what the race will produce for Santa Anita, be it the Turf or the Filly and Mare Turf.

The Group 1, $480,000 Dewhurst Stakes frequently produces the British, if not the European, 2-year-old champion. This year's renewal at seven furlongs features Chabal, a Galileo-Zafonic cross from the family of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal. A seven-furlong maiden winner in his Leopardstown debut, Chabal was next a neck second in the Group 1 National Stakes over the same distance. Since then he has been snapped up by Godolphin, as has the National winner, Kingsfort. On Saturday, however, Chabal will once again be saddled by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning.

The Godolphin-owned Buzzword, Richmond Stakes winner Dick Turpin, and the O'Brien-trained Beethoven - third, fifth, and sixth in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere - will challenge, but Silver Grecian, winner of the Group 3 Superlative Stakes and third in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, may pose a bigger threat, as might the O'Brien-trained Steinbeck, a sharp maiden winner at Naas in his debut on May 13.

In the Group 2, $159,000 Pride Stakes at 1 1/2 miles for fillies and mares, defending title-holder Crystal Capella will attempt to bounce back from her Prix de l'Opera fifth for Stoute and Moore. Godolphin's Baila Me was an encouraging second in the Group 3 Doonside Cup off a one-year layoff since winning the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Preis von Europa, while the Aga Khan's Group 2 Prix de Malleret winner Ashalanda is coming off a close second in the 1 3/8-mile, Group 2 Premio Federico Tesio.