What have Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger and Aidan O’Brien in common, besides the fact they are three of the best trainers in the world?
Well, how about the notion that they were all guilty, for the want of a better word, of running horses back far too quickly after Royal Ascot!
Topping the list, arguably, is Weld’s Forgotten Rules, who was so disappointing in a Group 3 at the Curragh last Sunday.
Forgotten Rules had a big reputation heading to Ascot, for the two and a half miles Gold Cup, but performed below expectations in only managing third behind Trip To Paris and Kingfisher.
Many of us excused the display, on the basis he didn’t quite see out that exacting trip, and so Weld dropped him down to a mile and six at the Curragh.
But the race came just 10 days after Ascot and, in retrospect, was probably a big ask, considering he had to give a pair of smart Aidan O’Brien-trained three-year-olds, Bondi Beach and Order Of St George, 20lbs.
As it turned out he proved no match for either of them and was even collared for third place close home by the five-year-old mare, Drifting Mist.
There seems little doubt that Forgotten Rules would probably have been better off relaxing in his box, although there is now the suspicion that he may be overrated in any case.
Jim Bolger’s Pleascach ran at the Curragh as well on Sunday, also just ten days after Royal Ascot.
Like Forgotten Rules, she was mildly disappointing at Ascot when beaten into second by Curvy, after pulling too hard for her own good in the early part of the race.
That was basically a bit of a backward step for the game winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas and she went further back in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
I thought there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm on her part. She was in trouble a fair way out, eventually trailing in a poor enough fifth behind Diamondsandrubies.
You’d imagine both Pleascach and Forgotten Rules will be afforded decent breaks now and then we will see if their respective trainers have worked some magic in the autumn.
Aidan O’Brien ran War Envoy at the Curragh last Saturday, in a Listed race, nine days after he had defied 9-6 to land the 28-runner Brittania Stakes Handicap at Royal Ascot.
I said it here last week, and will say it again, how O’Brien got him to win at Ascot remains a real puzzle.
Basically, he was back to his old ways at the Curragh, finishing a never dangerous fourth behind the impressive Sovereign Debt in a Listed event.
I’m only guessing here, but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if he were found a new home in the not too distant future!
Backing horses at morning prices can reap a rich dividend, but when it comes to fillies resisting the temptation is often the best policy.
Dermot Weld’s Tested was very much a case in point in a six furlongs contest at the Curragh on Saturday.
She certainly shaped as the most likely winners and the word through the day could hardly have been more positive.
But down at the start she began to behave like a housewife with a massive hangover, whose patience was being more than tried by looking after half a dozen kids.
Tested was agitated and you just knew there was little possibility of her running her race.
Returned the 15-8 favourite to beat five rivals, her behaviour wasn’t lost on those watching on television.
Soon, she was available at almost 5-2 on the exchanges and you could almost sense what was about to happen.
Those who backed her got absolutely no value for their money. The last thing Tested wanted to do was run and she was beaten over 18 lengths when sixth of six.
Aidan O’Brien set punters a real poser when introducing no less than three juveniles in last Sunday’s first race at the Curragh.
We presumed Ryan Moore’s mount, Shogun, was the first choice and he left the gate as the 5-4 favourite. He passed the post in seventh.
We presumed that Joseph O’Brien’s mount, Zig Zag, might have been number two, but ninth was all he could manage.
And then there was Lieutenant General, who was partnered by 5lbs claimer, Donnacha O’Brien.
We thought he might enjoy a good spin around and, perhaps, turn up later this month at Galway.
Aren’t we the silly boys! The son of Fastnet Rock soon developed into a major order, driven by the exchanges, and was backed from 10-1 to 5-1.
Surprise, surprise, he did miles best of the O’Brien trio, only giving best late on to Jim Bolger’s newcomer, Sanus Per Aquam.
Cash Asmussen, one time first-jockey to Vincent O’Brien, who turned up at the Curragh on Derby day, was a real character when riding in this country.
A brilliant pilot, he often frustrated punters in Ireland, although most of the time it was simply because the horses he was riding weren’t good enough.
One day at the Phoenix Park, after getting beaten on a hot pot, an irate punter was waiting for him to head back to the weigh room.
As Cash emerged from the parade ring, the punter screamed in his direction: “You wouldn’t ride Cathy Barry.’’
Cash never blinked, as he responded in that Texan drawl: “Well give me her number and I’ll give her a bell.”
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