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Best too hot for rivals to handle; Godolphin runner sinks Banks Hill.

Byline: Desmond Stoneham

Best Of The Bests provided Godolphin with the star leg of a big-race double at Longchamp yesterday when sweeping aside Banks Hill to win the Prix d'Ispahan.

Earlier in the day, the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Wareed had galloped away with the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier to initiate the brace, with Frankie Dettori at his sparkling best on both horses.

Banks Hill had not been very strong in the betting for the d'Ispahan and she certainly looked as if trainer Andr Fabre had left plenty to work on later in the season.

Olivier Peslier settled her in second place as Best Of The Bests took the field along, but Dettori's decision to speed things up early in the straight caught the others out.

Banks Hill tried in vain to peg back the leader, and Peslier was not hard on the filly once her chance had gone.

Poussin, ridden by Dominique Boeuf, did not slip into top gear until halfway up the straight, but once he did the colt flew the final furlong and was cutting down Best Of The Bests in the final 50 yards, failing by half a length. Banks Hill finished a length away in third.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "We

always knew that Best Of The Bests was a Group 1 horse and a top-quality individual.

"It was a beautiful race for him today. The opposition was good and both the track and the distance perfect. He has been racing in top-class

company all his career and

deserved this Group 1 success.

"He's engaged in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot but will be entered in top events all over the world."

Dettori added: "Best Of The Bests deserved this win so much and was spot-on this

afternoon. He's been knocking at the door so many times."

Banks Hill could well bid for revenge on Best Of The Bests at Royal Ascot. Peslier said: "When I asked for an effort, she asked for a breather. She was having her first race after a long break and there is a considerable margin for progress."

Wareed was cut from 16-1 to 10-1 by the Tote for the Ascot Gold Cup after beating Speedmaster by two and a half lengths.

Double Honour and Gallery God, trained by Mark Johnston and Geoff Wragg respectively, finished eighth and ninth.

Trips across the Channel appear to suit Wareed, as he came over to Longchamp last October to win the Prix

Hubert de Chaudenay.

Crisford said: "He's a lovely, game and willing horse who came good in the autumn of last year. He now has two Group 2 races to his credit.

"He could run in the Gold Cup at Ascot, but we must talk to his owner. The Goodwood Cup might suit him better and we might be a little worried if the ground came up a bit quick."

Dettori said: "We thought he might need the race and a softer surface. He wasn't very comfortable coming down the hill but got down to business in the straight."

Speedmaster ran on late to take second position and delighted Franois Doumen.

The trainer said: "It was a

pleasure to see that he has kept his form. We might be tempted to go for the Ascot Gold Cup."


Tote: 6 Vinnie Roe, 8 Persian Punch, 10 Wareed, 12 Hatha Anna, Marienbard, Mr Combustible, Royal Rebel, 14 Give The Slip, Jardines Lookout, 16 bar


Best Of The Bests powers home to land the Prix d'Ispahan from Poussin at Longchamp yesterday SCOOP/DYGA
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 20, 2002
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