Shammit's absence takes fom Derby


THE last two Derby winners, Lammtarra and Shaamit have something in common, in that both horses were making their seasonal debut at" Epsom and both were withdrawn from the Irish Derby on the Monday before the race. Shaamit's absence is most regrettable as his presence in the Budweiser promotion would have answered some vexed questions.

Shaamit has a long way to go if he is to emulate Lammtarra by winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. But I would have fancied him to win the Irish Derby, and his enforced absence has certainly thrown the race open so much so that the owners of Don Micheletto, Sharaf Kabeer and Private Song have paid £60,000 apiece to supplement their horses.

Neither Don Micheletto (Richard Quinn) nor Sharaf Kabeer, (Johnny Murtagh) have obvious chances, but they are owned by the immensely rich Godolphin operation and are now only 12 to 1 chances with Ladbrokes. And it appears that Khalid Abdullah's Private Song has been supplemented to act as pacemaker for" the same owner's Dushyantor who is virtually certain to start favourite on the strength of his seemingly luckless second behind Shaamit at Epsom.

There appears to be some confidence behind Polaris Flight runner up to Ragmar in the French Derby.

And so to Tipperary this evening, where the evergreen Nameloc, successful in an 0-75, handicap at the last meeting there despite a long absence, reappears' in the Eves Fashion Store Handicap. John Kiely's charge relegated Cois Na Farraige who started favourite to fifth place, four and a half lengths adrift. Jim Bolger's charge met with traffic problems in a slowly run race, but he is now 2lb better off and can turn the tables.

However, Magic Combination, who finished a four lengths second behind Cois Na Farraige on his seasonal debut last month and was subsequently awarded a handicap at Leopardstown, is, considerably better off with the Bolger horse. Magic Combination can win for the inform Kevin Prendergast stable, who may also capture the Monard Handicap with Regal Domain.