Despite some lovely sunshine over the Easter weekend, the ground at Cork remains soft. Interestingly, most runners in the 6 furlongs Cork Stakes are actually advantaged by these conditions. That should ensure that we have quite an intriguing contest on our hands.
The mare Aetna deserves utmost respect and is awell deserved favourite. She won a Listed contest on bottomless ground at Doncaster when seen the last time five month ago. She has done well as a fresh horse in the past and sets a very fair standard here for all the right reasons. That says she is short enough in the betting, though, and there’re some interesting alternatives.
Gathering Power has won only twice in seventeen starts throughout her career so far, but she loves the mud and ran with credit in some hot races last season. She can go close. Last years Cork Stakes winner An Saighdiur isn’t getting any younger and hasn’t shown too much since this last win, but he gets his conditions and has a recent run to his name, so must clearly enter calculations.
Jim Bolger’s lightly raced Flight Risk looks up against it dropping down to six furlongs, while Big Time was once a smart juvenile but has to overcome a long absence and was disappointing in his two starts last season. Reverted to sprinting may help, though. Veteran Bold Thady Quill won this very same race two years ago but hasn’t been in any sort of form in most of his last starts. He loves the mud but this is a strong renewal and he may find it beyond him at this stage of his career.
Without a shadow of a doubt the most intriguing runner is the lightly raced Great Minds. Already a five year old, he has seen very little racing, but was highly progressive in his two starts last year. He won two big Curragh Handicaps over six furlongs and showed a preference for cut in the ground. On his seasonal reappearance last week in a hot sprint Handicap, he didn’t get the clearest of runs but finished with promise. Up in class again, he could still improve and most importantly improve past his rivals in this race. With conditions sure to suit, he should go well and looks a very big price.
3.30 Cork: Cork Stakes (listed)
Great Minds @ 8/1 Paddy Power – 5pts win