Mixed Saturday from a betting perspective. 1 winner with Ogbourne Downs, though by the smallest of margins. My initial feeling right after the race was: It’s lost. But the photo proved “decisive”. OD stuck his nose out when it mattered. What a relieve! Otherwise it would have been a tough day because Gabrial and Jakob Black both ran superb but only managed to finish 2nd. Lily’s Prince and Snow Cloud never gave me a run for my money. So, after all, a small profit.
Before I move on to Sunday: Let’s briefly mention the performance of the day: Twilight Son at York today. He followed up with another massively impressive display and his way is clearly paved towards Group racing from now on. No surprise, though. As I felt already after his win on 2000 Guineas day that’s he a Group horse in the making.
4.00 Salisbury: Cathedral Stakes (Listed), 6f
I can see why Absolutely So is market leader in this Listed contest, given his recent third place in a competitive Group 3. That says the likely very fast ground does definitely count against him. He has zero form in these kind of conditions.
Three year old Markaz has, though. However after nine career starts he still has only a maiden win to his name, though he performed with credit in most races, more often than not against classy opposition. This here is probably easier, and conditions will suit. But as a 3yo, despite weight for age, It’s a tough assignment.
A wind op helped Ruwaiyan to find back to form when he won a good Handicap at Goodwood in May. A subsequent poor effort in Listed company at Windsor may be forgiven and he is certainly one of the likelier sorts in this race.
Minalisa was a long way beaten in the very same race but probably needed the run. She is best judged on her Listed win at Naas in fast conditions last year. She is a definite contender if back on song.
Personally I’m most fascinated by Outback Traveller. He was very progressive as a juvenile as well as three year old. His Ascot win in October was nothing short of sensational. Admittedly he doesn’t seem to have grown over the winter but seem to have retained allot of his ability as he proved at Kempton on his seasonal debut when just beaten in a photo as to top weight by the very well handicapped Speculative Bid.
Under an even bigger weight he struggled the next time at Ascot when travelling to close to a suicidal pace, while Speculative Bid won the race, clearly franking the Kempton form. Outback Traveller drops back to 6f now which I feel suits this speedy sort, so should the quick ground. I’m inclined to give him another chance and find out once for all if he’s equally as good a four year old as he was in the last two seasons.
Outback Traveller @ 7/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win
4.40 Cork: Cork Derby (Premier Handicap), 1m 4f
An unsettled betting market and a wrong favourite – there aren’t many horses who make appeal in the Cork Derby. That is because fast conditions won’t suit many. Unsinkable appears to be Ger Lyons’s number one in this race, but stable mate Unrequited could likely be better suited by this test.
He clearly acts on fast ground and has the trip well within his range. He won a Handicap in emphatic fashion on his seasonal reappearance, effectively on the the bridle. He stepped up to 2m subsequently and travelled like the winner at the Curragh three weeks, though failed to stay eventually. He could still be well handicapped is my feeling and this race should suit down to the grounds.
I nominate a second selection for this race as I can’t split the two: Break My Mind for the in-form yard of Eddie Lynam. The filly is likely to be ready for her seasonal reappearance, and if that’s the case then she’s a big runner. It took her five races to get off the mark last year but she won a 12f maiden on fast ground at Fairyhouse in nice fashion back in September. Soft ground and drop in trip didn’t quite suit the next time but she still finished third when on her final start in 2014. But conditions will suit here at Cork and a mark off 82 seems more than fair.
Break My Mind @ 9/1 – William Hill 5pts Win
Unrequited @ 9/1 William Hill – 5pts Win