Before looking at this week’s tracker horses I will have a look at last weekends big horse racing action.
There was really top class racing in Britain on Saturday with action from Haydock Newmarket, Goodwood and York. At Haydock the feature race the Group 2 Temple Stakes was won by one of my recent eyecatchers in the Clive Cox trained Profitable at a rewarding 8/1.
Meanwhile at York another one of my recent eyecatchers extras for Pro subscribers the George Baker trained Harry Hurricane won the big 5f sprint handicap on the card at 7/1. I had noted after his run at Goodwood that “There is a decent handicap or two in this son of Kodiac”.
Over the Irish Sea it was Guineas Weekend with the Irish 2000 Guineas on the Saturday won by another of eyecatchers in the Kevin Prendergast trained Awtaad. On the Sunday it was the turn of the fillies with the Irish 1000 Guineas.
For those of you with long memories I had put Awtaad up as an eyecatcher after his winning seasonal reappearance back in March. This is what wrote after that comfortable Leopardstown victory:
“Was carrying 9-10 in this three year old handicap over 7f and put in a really smart performance to win easily by 5 lengths off what had looked like a tough mark. He was always travelling well just behind the early leaders and showed a very good turn of foot once he took up the running two furlongs out. A winner of a maiden at Leopardstown back in October he looked a horse with potential that day and he has certainly improved over the winter. Interestingly his trainer said after the race “I think we´ll probably go straight for the Irish 2,000 Guineas. With better ground and more improvement I think he could be there or thereabouts”. That race is a fair bit away but he’s one to have in your tracker!
Profitable Day for Clive Cox at Haydock
Last years Nunthorpe heroine Mecca’s Angel was all the rage with punters in the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f at Haydock. The rain that fell before post time gave the mare her ideal ground and she went off a hot favourite for the race. The change in the going meant there were five non runners but this year’s renewal still looked a Group 2 race on paper and certainly a stronger race than the previous one. Sadly for favourite backers the mare came up against the improving Clive Cox sprinter Profitable who just proved to strong in a driving finish.
Given his trainer had been worried about the rain softened ground this was a good performance by Profitable who now goes for the King Stand Stakes and those of us on him ante post at big prices for that race can look forward to it even more now!
Mecca’s Angel lost nothing in defeat to an improving sprinter and she will be threat in the highest sprint company once again this season, when she gets some give in the ground.
Muthmir who was a close up 3rd in last years King Stand was in need of the run according to connections before the race and was not suited by the rain that fell before post time either. The William Haggas trained six year old shouldn’t be discounted in the King Stand. He will come on for the run and as long he gets firm in the going description, 3 wins, and 3 places from 8 starts on good to firm, he will be in the mix at the finish.
Over at the Curragh it was emotional day for trainer Kevin Prendergast who took the Irish 2000 Guineas 40 years after his last win in the race. Awtaad certainly showed that his trainer hadn’t lost the ability to train a Classic winner if he got the right sort of horse. He proved just too strong for English 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold inside the final furlong. The latter was once again keen in the early stages of the race which couldn’t have helped his cause in the closing stages but I still think he came up against a better horse. Certainly the winner was helped by the ground softening up and a few who finished behind weren’t, including the third home Blue De Vega who will now head for the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Once again the Aiden O’Brien trained Air Force Blue ran poorly now he wouldn’t have enjoyed the going either but the jury is still out for me as to whether last years top juvenile colt has trained on?
I would love to see Awtaad run in the Derby as he is handy sized colt who I think would be suited by Epsom’s unique configurations’ and has every chance of staying the Derby trip on pedigree, there is stamina on the dams side to give plenty of hope and his sire Cape Cross has already sired two Derby winners. It’s a very open looking Derby this year but I think he is more likely to head to Royal Ascot than Epsom. One to keep an eye is the Aiden O’Brien trained Shogun who finished 5th. The colt got outpaced three out when the race started in earnest but I noted him staying on steadily at the finish even though he was still well beaten at the line. A full brother to last years Oaks winner Qualify, he should improve plenty for step up middle distances and wouldn’t be the worst 33/1 chance to ever run in the Derby if he takes his chance..
On Sunday there was a shock in the Irish 1000 Guineas as Minding wasn’t able to see it out as well as 9/1 chance Jet Setting trained by Adrian Keatley. Minding lost nothing in defeat as the first two pulled 10 lengths clear of the 3rd and remains on course for the Oaks where she is still the one to beat on good ground. I doubt she was helped by hitting her head in the stalls at the start but she just came up against a filly who loves the mud. Jet Setting’s win certainly advertised the skills of her relatively unfashionable trainer and she is top class when she gets her ground!
If there is one filly to take out of the race it could be the Dermot Weld filly Tanaza, albeit she was beaten almost 15 lengths at the finish. The daughter of Dubawi looks to have trained on was in need of her seasonal reappearance and wouldn’t have liked the rain softened ground. She has been slow to come to hand this spring according to her trainer but with this run under her belt she can leave this form well behind as the season progresses especially when she gets quick going, both of her juvenile wins were on good to firm. The going at Royal Ascot should be ideal for the filly who holds a Coronation Stakes entry.
The other Group 1 on Sunday’s card the Tattersells Gold Cup over 1m 2f was won by Fascinating Rock who once again showed how much he enjoys plenty of juice in the ground as he galloped on too strongly from his closest pursuer Found inside the final furlong. His trainer indicated after the race that the five year old would be put away to the autumn with the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc as his targets. If he gets his ground he will be a contender for both races.
This Weeks Eyecatchers
There are three notebook horses this week but I will also be adding another two or three to the software for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers.
Thursday May 19th
Yangtze – Sir Michael Stoute – The three year old had shown promise on his two juvenile starts and made a pleasing seasonal reappearance when 5th behind Imperial Aviator and stablemate Ulysses in what now looks like a hot maiden at Leicester. Making in handicap debut in this 1m 2f contest he wasn’t suited by the slow early gallop but was staying on well inside the final furlong despite still running green for plenty of the race. A mile and half should be his trip and he will improve for a step up in distance and with racing.
Saturday May 21st
Chief Whip – Richard Hannon – The three year old had been an excellent 2nd in a hot 7f handicap at York to handicap ‘good thing’ trained by John Gosden on his previous start. Back to a mile here there were doubts about the rain softened ground for the son Giant’s Causeway but he ran on well and just found one to good at the line. A winner on good ground on his only start as a two year old the colt was only having his 4th start here and will now probably be heading for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot like race winner Garcia. On better ground I would expect to the places to be reversed in June. Whatever the horse’s fate in the Britannia there should be more races in him?
Blaine – Dandy Nicholls – Formerly with Kevin Ryan the six year old had shaped with promise for his new trainer at Thirsk and ran an even more encouraging race in this 5f Class 2 handicap being a staying 7th , beaten just 3 lengths at the line. He is just the sort his trainer has excelled with in the past and he has also become a very well handicapped horse in the past year being 15lb lower than when a 3 length 3rd in the 2014 Ayr Gold Cup and 11lb lower than his last winning mark over 5 & ½ f at York in August 2014. A career record of 4/27 is improved when we look at his record between 5 & 1/2f and 6f, on good or good to firm going and in July /August which is 4/9. A valuable summer sprint handicap looks well within his reach this season when he has his going. Three of his wins have come at York but he has also won at Hamilton so he seems versatile track wise.
All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks betting.