It was great to see the return of horse racing at Cheltenham a sure nice that winter isn’t so far away. Meanwhile, over at Doncaster, we saw the final Group 1 of the 2017 flat season the Racing Post Trophy. A race that also saw some history being made as trainer Aidan O’Brien broke Bobby Frankel’s record for the number of Group 1s in a year with the win by his colt Saxon Warrior.
The Pentagon Still Looks Live Derby Contender
Saxon Warrior, a Group 1 winner for Japanese sire Deep Impact, didn’t look like he was going to win when the John Gosden juvenile Roaring Lion came with what looked like a winning run between the final two furlongs. Unfortunately for the connections & backers of the Gosden horse, he lost vital momentum when he hung to his left inside the final furlong which allowed the O’Brien horse to get back up. Roaring Lion would surely have won but for hanging. The change of gear that he showed to get to the front has to put the colt firmly in the picture for next years 2000 Guineas especially as he has already experience of the Rowley Mile when winning the Royal Lodge Stakes.
Take nothing away from the winner who should be a top class three-year-old and not surprisingly his odds for next years Epsom Derby where shortened on the back of this win. The Pentagon who I had put up as ante-post at 25/1 for next years Derby after his win in July, finished 3rd. This was the colts first run since that Leopardstown win two months earlier and he wasn’t given a hard ride by his jockey, yet still managed to get within 2 ¾ lengths of the front pair at the finish. The bookies also trimmed his odds for the Epsom Classic after the race, I was very happy with his run as the son of Galileo is bred to improve with a step up to middle distances and I wouldn’t be surprised if he proved a better colt than his stablemate next year!
Eyecatcher Trainer Comments:
I have what I consider to be another two interesting trainer quotes for you from last week’s action courtesy of the Racing Post.
Big River – Lucinda Russell – “I was delighted with Big River and he jumped well. He’s got plenty of speed and we will now aim him at one of the big novices’ race at Kempton over Christmas or Cheltenham over the New Year”.
The fact that the Grand National winning trainer is aiming the 7-year-old so highly speaks volumes. He was a progressive staying handicap hurdler over 3m + last season. Making his chase debut his cause was clearly helped when the Paul Nicholls odds-on favourite came to grief early in the race but he won well enough, making his form figures at Kelso now 11211 Well suited by soft going, I am sure he will his fair share of races this winter although his jumping will get sterner tests that he got here,
Onefortheroadtom – Harry Fry – “Is a lovely horse in the making but we will not be rushing things with him. I would think the plan will be to find another novice hurdle under a penalty to give him a bit more experience”
He cost owner J P McManus £100,000 after winning an Irish Point in April. Beat a very useful type in Lalor, who won the valuable Aintree Bumper on his final start of last season. He will get much further than 2m 1f in time. Given the race turned into a bit of dash for the line three from home, the four-year-old did well to win on hurdle debut. He looks a novice hurdler worth keeping onside over the winter.
This Weeks EyeCatchers:
Wednesday 25th October
Al Muffrih – William Haggas – The juvenile had a nice introduction to racing in this 1m maiden. The winner Knight To Behold is very highly regarded with English & French Derby entries, had finished an excellent 2nd at Newbury on his debut and the second had also run with plenty of promise when 3rd at Kempton. Given both that beat him had race experience he did well to get within 3 lengths and well clear of the rest. The son of Sea The Stars is bred for middles distances and should progress well next year. One for next season but a maiden should be a formality beforehand should connections give him a run this year.
Friday 27th October
The Mighty Don – Nick Gifford – The 5-year-old was nicely backed before this 2m 5f handicap hurdle into co-favouritism. This was his first start since March and he was running well until a mistake two out which put him on the back foot eventually finishing 7th. He should benefit from this run, although he needs to improve his jumping a bit more, and looks capable of winning a handicap hurdle on good or good to soft ground.
Petite Power – Fergal O’Brien – The 8-year-old has done well since going chasing 1 win from 5 runs 3 placed. He stays well and showed a really good attitude at the finish when winning a novices handicap chase at Huntingdon back in February. Was having his first start since April and looked like the race would do him good. He got a little outpaced when hey really got racing but stayed on really well to grab 4th on the line. Not sure if this is his track but there are handicap chases to be won with him off a mark of 122 and he should get further than 3m 1f.
Saturday 28th October
Singlefarmpayment – Tom George – I put the 7-year-old up as one my jumps horses to follow in the October issue of SmartSiggar magazine and he ran well to finish 2nd on his seasonal reappearance in this 3m 1f handicap chase. Taking his record at Cheltenham to 2 wins from 5 runs 4 placed. Was very much on his toes before the start so this run should have taken the freshness out of him and he was before the race 0 wins from 5 runs when returning from a 60+ daybreak. Starts the season on a competitive mark and can surely bag a valuable handicap chase this season. He is expected to have a tilt at the old Hennessey Gold Cup, now Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, for which he is 14/1 with the sponsors and 16/1 with Coral. Long-term connections will be looking at the gelding as a potential Grand National horse.
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s punting.