Upset in the 1000 Guineas – Winter won the first ladies Classic of the new season! Or was it even an upset? Maybe not so much because she was subject of substantial market support over the last week or so and some outspoken experts voiced their keenness on the Aiden O’Brien trained filly
Fact is she ran pretty well in the Leopardstown Guineas trial and with natural improvement and enhanced fitness she had always a chance to go close in what appeared to be quite an open renewal beforehand.
Winter got a fine no-nonsense ride by Wayne Lordon – who already sat on her last season when she was still trained by David Wachmann – and once hitting top gear she put lengths between herself and the field.
Stable mate and favourite Rhododendron didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs but finished strongly to claim second eventually.
At the same time I was over at Leopardstown for the Irish Derby Trial Day. Sunny Dublin presented itself from the best side and that made the day at the races so much more pleasant.
The Group 3 Amethyst Stakes went Custom Cut’s way, who finally got his head in front again – it took him nearly two years to do that since he took the Boomerang Stakes here at Leoapardstown back in 2015.
A 1000 Guineas Trial only in the name, because the actual field was poor and I’d be surprised if any of the contestants line up up in the Classic. Jim Bolger trained Jim Feasa won the race – a 99 rated individual not goo enough to land a Gowran Maiden at the fifth time of asking only a week ago. Tells you all about the quality of this race.
Quality was delivered in the main event, the Derby Trial. Two highly regarded and talked about Ballydoyle colts were thought to battle it out – though in the end both Capri and Yucatan had to settle for minors behind stable mate Douglas Macarthur.
I loved to see those famous Jooste colours from South Africa in the winners enclosure. Got a nice colt there with Douglas Macarthur who proved it was no fluke when he ran 2nd in the Ballysax where he also beat Yunatan and Capri.
For the future it might well be Yucatan then who turns out to be best of the trio. He didn’t quite get a clear run – though I felt he had every chance nonetheless – and battled hard to the line. A step up to the Derby trip should not be an issue and he looked simply stunning in the parade ring today.
3.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f
Captain Bob is a very infrequent winner, in fact his last “1” dates back to 2014. However a falling mark seems to have reinvigorate him, particularly on the All-Weather were he has been placed in all his three starts which all came earlier this year.
He also took relatively easily to the Southwell fibresand. In fact he produced a strong performance over 6f when only beaten by a head in the end. This piece of form looks rock solid and judged on it he appears now to be potentially well handicapped.
He followed up with a fine 3rd place at Brighton subsequently on fast ground over 6f but I feel it this more stamina focused test over the same trip at Southwell suits him slightly better, and probably even more so as we now know he acts on the surface and Captain Bob himself has learned how to race on fibresand.
He’s got a good draw and a red hot apprentice in the saddle, so this may represent the best chance in a very long time to finally get his head in front.
10pts win – Captain Bob @ 4/1 Bet365
5.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 5f
This is a shockingly poor contest given an 11 year old is favourite and a 20 times maiden is thought to be closes pursuer. However it is the still winless Kodimoor who seems overpriced in this race, despite his desperate record.
Reason to believe he can be very competitive is the fact that he dropped markedly in the weights and finished a decent third in an Apprentice Handicap over CD in January, trying fibresand for the first time.
That form gives him a big chance of effectively 5lb less, given his mark dropped 3lb since then and the change of jockey allowance taken into account – while it is fair to say 7lb claimer David Egan is quite competent and no worse than Ms. Malune who claimed 5lb the other day.
10pts win – Kodimoor @ 7/2 Bet365
7.50 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f
Lightly raced Shergiah should have more to offer now stepping up in trip after a decent comeback run at Lingfield over a mile where a sprint finish did not suit him.
However he looked quite good on his final run in 2016 when he landed a decent maiden at Ripon in impressive style, given how well he picked up once asked for full effort.
This good looking gelding has still a bit of scope to improve and in this not overly strong race he could get his season off to a flyer.
10pts win – Shergiah @ 10/3 Paddy Power