Weekly Eyecatcher’s Report
It was Guineas weekend in Ireland and Gleneagles proved he is the best three year old mile colt in the UK & Ireland when he won the Irish 2000 Guineas. The more interesting of the two classics was the fillies’ version which I think was a cracking race and will prove to be very solid form. It looks like the classic generation fillies are better than the colts and we could well find if that’s true in the Epsom Derby?
Thursday 21st May
Bertiewhittle – David Barron – The seven year old might not have won since 2011 but he is dropping down the handicap. He wasn’t suited by the way the race was run here but was staying on at the finish from too far back. He showed he retains plenty of his old ability. There is a 7f handicap in him when he gets a good even pace to chase.
Lady Of Dubai – Luca Cumani – It looks like this year’s crop of three year old fillies are better than the colts indeed we could be witnessing a vintage year for fillies. After seeing Crystal Zvezda win at Newbury last week I wasn’t expecting to see yet another impressive performance but I did here. A winner of a Newmarket maiden last September the filly then was second to recent French 1000 Guineas heroine Irish Rookie. She was always expected to do much better over middle distances and she showed it here when winning this 1m 2f listed contest. After travelling well throughout the race this daughter of Dubawi took up the running two furlongs out and then showed a smart turn of foot to soon outclass her rivals. She handled the Goodwood track very well so shouldn’t have any problems with Epsom’s undulations. After this win the bookmakers quickly cut her Oaks odds from 33/1 to 16/1. I couldn’t resist taking the 16/1 for Lady of Dubai. That price has now gone but the 14/1 that is still available with William Hill & Bet365 and looks well worth taking!
Friday 22nd May
Major Jack – Roger Charlton – The four year old needs all the cards to fall right if he is to win a handicap like this. After a strong finish over 6f in a similar handicap at Ascot, on his previous start, the four year old ran well again here from an unfavoured outside low draw, he was away from the where the main action was taking place but still managed to take 4th at the finish. The harder they go up front the better for him and he likes to come through beaten horses. A return to Ascot will suit and he could well be aimed at the Wokingham Handicap and with a decent draw can go well in a race that should be run to suit.
Saturday 23rd May
Muffri’Ha – William Haggas – Highly regarded by her trainer and had been given a Royal Ascot Group 1 entry. A good second on her seasonal reappearance at Thirsk when she was staying on well over a mile so it was a little surprising that she was dropped down a furlong in trip for this handicap. The filly was badly hampered on the bend which must have had an impact on her finishing effort and a step back up to a mile should see the filly into the winner’s enclosure.
Continuum – Peter Hedger – A winner at York last July, the six year old was having his first run since finishing 6th in a Glorious Goodwood handicap last summer. Held up at the back of the field he was given too much to do and was never nearer than at the finish. Well suited by good to firm going, he could well stay an extra couple of furlongs. Relatively lightly raced for a horse of his age, he is only 1lb higher than when winning at York so is on a good mark and looks capable of taking another decent handicap over 1m 6f+. It will be interesting to see if he is aimed at the Ebor Handicap?
Mustajeeb – Dermot Weld – A winner of last years Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot over 7f and a Group winner over a mile he showed here that he could be an even better horse over a sprint distances when a good winner of the 6f Group 2 Greenlands Stakes. He travelled well throughout the race and showed plenty of pace but was staying on too strongly for what was a very decent field of sprinters. The European sprinting scene does lack a real star and the four year old could well be a very good horse in the sphere. His next target is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and it will take a good horse to beat him there. The 8/1 available with William Hill looks good value to me.
Saturday 24th May
Jack Naylor – Jessica Harrington – In what looks like could well have been one of the best recent renewals of the Irish 1000 Guineas, the winner Pleascach is heading for the Irish Derby and the second Found could still end up in the Epsom equivalent, but it was the fast finishing 4th who took my eye the most. Jack Naylor had the look of an Irish Oaks contender and on her seasonal reappearance she ran like one too. Only beaten 2 lengths at the finish she was staying on best of all. A top class two year old filly she is bred for middle distances and looks well on course for the Irish Oaks on the back of this good run. There is a possibility that she could turn up at Epsom and if she did she would have to be considered a good each way bet for that race.
Postponed – Luca Cumani – I have liked this horse since he made his debut as a two year old; he progressed well as three year old and on his final start was a winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last August. Stepping up well from seasonal reappearance at Sandown, he had to make the running here over a trip short of his best but still battled on well to finish 3rd only beaten ½ length by Al Kazeem, I think he is a genuine Group 1 horse at 1m 4f and I cant wait to see him back at that trip and been given a lead into his races. I will be backing him on his next starts over 1m 4f.