THE performances of Roderic O’Connor and Glor Na Mara, in last Saturday’s Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, showed that the Irish juveniles are at least on a par with their English counterparts, with the exception of Frankel.
This afternoon, in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, another pair of our top two-year-olds, Casamento and Dunboyne Express, go to war.
Dunboyne Express has had just two runs, scrambling to a short head success in his maiden at Leopardstown, before stepping into Group 3 company with devastating effect in the Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.
He won that race by eight lengths, which is an extraordinary margin for a contest run over an extended six furlongs.
The problem, of course, is the race took place three months ago and the inference is that Dunboyne Express has probably had a problem or two along the way.
I would prefer to be with the rock-solid Casamaneto, who is very progressive and has done absolutely nothing wrong so far.
He began with a low-profile win at Tipperary in late August, running freely and still being able to quicken clear in the closing stages.
Then he moved way up in class in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh. Casamento made the graduation in tremendous style, only giving best by a head to the ultra-smart Pathfork, with Zoffany a further five lengths away in third.
Then Casamento eased back to Group 2 company and won by the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh by four lengths. He’s tough and resolute, capable of racing on the pace if needs be and you’d have to like him.
- CELESTIAL HALO was long odds-on to make a winning debut over fences at Exeter on Tuesday and everything was going along swimmingly until he fell four out.
To my eyes his jumping was well nigh perfect to that point, before he stepped into the obstacle and paid the full penalty.
Must confess to being more than a little surprised at Paul Nicholls’ subsequent comments that he might return Celestial Halo to hurdles. The best jumper in the world can make a silly mistake and it was surely far to early to be pushing the panic button.
After all, Celestial Halo is essentially a horse without a future over flights. He is simply well short of top class at that game and his 12 lengths fourth to Binocular in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March is a fair reflection of his ability.
You could argue, I suppose, that he might make a solid stayer, but the Nicholls outfit already has the best in the business in Big Buck’s.
No, if he is ever going to get to the top at this game it can only be chasing, son of Galileo or not.
- SO, Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Europe could yet cross swords with Kauto Star at Down Royal on November 6.
Why not, the only way to discover if you are living in the real world or a dream world is by taking on one of the best.
Sizing Europe was an alarming drifter in the market on his seasonal debut at Punchestown recently.
Punters on track and on the exchanges didn’t want to know him and you’d have to wonder why. The bare form of his seven lengths second to China Rock, in the context of taking on Kauto Star, left plenty to be desired.
In any case, his travels in the market next time will be more than worth noting as, indeed, will be the performance on the course.
- GOT a few quid laying a horse, Long Live The King, at Dundalk a week last night and was in the perfect position facing into the nap, Don Carlos, in the last.
Then, flush with optimism, decided to shovel all of the Long Live The King’s winnings onto Don Carlos at 8-5 on Betfair.
If you can’t take the heat then you should get out of the kitchen and was quite sanguine as Don Carlos was grabbed in the final stride and beaten a short head.
Saturday morning, however, the papers revealed that Joseph O’Brien had put up 2lbs overweight on Don Carlos. You could hear the squeals a mile away!
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