Tag Archives: Cork

Eye-Catchers #2 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later.

Makeen
02/04/22 – 4.25 Leicester:

He travelled well in rear of the field behind a wall of horses having to wait for the gap to open on the inside. He’s finally getting clear 2 furlongs from home. Although the acceleration isn’t blistering, he’s gathering momentum with every stride for potentially a winning move as he’s approaching the final furlong marker. (2nd last furlong more than half a second faster than the rest)

That’s the exact moment when Makeen finds himself short of room one more time – his chance is gone. He still manages to finish easily in 4th place.

The form looks rock solid with the first three home running to strong topspeed ratings. Makeen himself ran to TS 69 which enhances the validity of the visual performance given his current 72 handicap mark.

He won of a mark of 67 last summer and and ran to a 71 Topspeed rating in the past as well. The fast pace helped him here and with that in mind I feel a fast 7 furlongs is the optimum to his chances and may see him improve again a bit because he’s still quite unexposed over this special distance.

> Race Replay

Global Effort
02/04/22 – 1.00 Leicester:

Eye-catching debut for this son of Gleneagles. He had the widest draw to overcome, far away from the “golden highway” that is the inside rail. He received a heavy bump soon after the start and as a consequence was lit up.

With those circumstances in mind it’s noteworthy how well Global Effort travelled for the majority of the race, looking really dangerous from his disadvantaged position.

He is clearly better than the bare result and doesn’t seem to lack speed given he’s out of an Equiano dam. I imagine 6 furlongs will be ideal. It’s one to monitor where he goes next and what the market says. He looks ready to win a race soon.

> Race Replay

Chief Little Hawk
01/04/22 – 7.10 Southwell:

This was a strange race with fierce fight for positions early on having a detrimental impact on the chances of a number of horses which probably helped the winner and runner-up who dominated the pace for the majority of the race .

Chief Little Hawk wasn’t really impacted by the early issues, but was awkwardly away from the gates himself and settling two to three wide in last position.

He had plenty to do turning for home while travelling well, with the entire field to pass and still last approaching the final furlong. He found an opening there and then and went through easily making nice progress in eye-catching fashion.

He certainly looked like having a much closer finish in him and wasn’t a true 40/1 shot. This former Ballydoyle charge is with Jamie Osborne since last summer. He’s rarely fancied in any run for the yard yet. Although a fine 4th in a class 3 Handicap in August showed there’s plenty of ability retained.

Th 4-year-old gelding is 10lb lower rated these days and this Southwell performance was perhaps the right signal that a fruitful turf campaign could loom on the horizon. Listed placed as a juvenile and having ran to topspeed ratings of 83+ three times, I feel he’s ripe for a big run back on turf over 6 furlongs.

> Race Replay

Red Lacewing
03/04/22 – 4.22 Cork:

Unruly pre-race when making her way out of the parade ring. Broke poorly and had ground to make up compared to the eventual winner who was always right there with the pace up.

She made good progress from 2 furlongs out on the stands side but saw her momentum stopped from a furlong to run by the winner who was hanging to his left. Red Lacewing had to switch and go again, which she did, but it was too late.

This was a fine comeback run. The form should be solid. She clearly has trained on and looked lovely from a physical perspective in the parade ring. She was also an eye-catcher in all three starts last year as a juvenile.

A listed sprint race could be the next target and she might be underestimated, given she has only one win from four runs. I wouldn’t back her in a Handicap, because she’s likely to go up another couple of pounds for this excellent runner-up performance and that would be an awful lot of weight to carry for the filly.

Fristel
04/04/22 – 1.40 Windsor:

Turf debut for Fristel who was bit awkward out of the gate and as a consequence in rear for most of the race, behind a wall of horses. He was still trailing approaching the final furlong as racing room came at a premium price. When switched inside the final 200 yards he found some space to run on quite well, but the race was long gone.

I believe he would have gone seriously close with a clear run. With that in mind he could be well handicapped. Perhaps a step up to 6 furlongs will see more improvement.

He was eye-catching when trying 6f for the first time on his second career run, too. That day at Wolverhampton he was clearly minded but travelled and finished eye-catchingly well.

On pedigree 7 furlongs isn’t out of question, although, he tried it once and pulled way too hard. He’s clearly ready to win, but I wouldn’t give him too many chances to prove it because none of his four siblings were able to win a race either.

> Race Replay

The Rain King
04/04/22 – 4.30 Windsor:

Travelled well enough for a long time yet had a bit to do from back of the field 3f out. Looked dangerous while searching for a gap that didn’t open, though; or when it opened briefly over 1 furlong out it closed soon again…. and again.

This was an encouraging reoccurrence for The Rain King after a wind operation last November. Whether breathing was the only reason for his loss of form ever since winning a Galway maiden and subsequently leaving Donnacha O’Brien and Ireland for the Alexandra Dunne yard is hard to know. But certainly he’s down to a much more realistic mark now and seems to be in improved form.

The Rain King was an expensive £250k yearling and clearly has ability. He’s a risky proposition, but still relatively low mileage for a 5-year-old and really one I am interested in over the mile trip next time out. Also a step up in trip looks not impossible.

> Race Replay

Captain Claret
04/04/22 – 2.05 Redcar:

Pulled his way to the front soon after the start establishing a solid lead from 5 furlongs out, travelling well and having the field on a stretch. With 2 furlongs to go it looked like he could steal it from the front but eventually tired and relinquished the lead with half a furlong to go.

This was his comeback and first run for the Ruth Carr yard. With a strong performance – given the trip was on the sharp side and the ground too soft – Captain Claret proved his well being.

He is on my radar since last August when running at Windsor a better race than the bare form suggested. The next time at Kempton the start-stop nature of the race didn’t suit. That was the last time we saw him until this Tuesday race.

He comes down to a really good mark now and will be a strong chance over a mile on no worse than good to soft ground. I also would be intrigued to see a step up in trip.

Bronze River
06/04/22 – 5.00 Nottingham:

In a rather pedestrian affair he was keen for most of the race travelling on the inside rail and still pulled for his head 4 furlongs from home. Nonetheless, he travelled well with a big chance, if only he would have got a clear run.

Amongst a group of horses he was short of room and hampered multiple times, had to delay his challenge until about 1.5 furlongs out when some space opened up. As he’s capturing momentum some horses shifting over from the right and hamper him badly. He had absolutely no chance here.

Bronze River is certainly down to a super sexy handicap mark. One pound lower than when winning at Redcar last October overe softish 7 furlongs. He ran to topspeed 64 and proved he’s still going well during a winless but credible All-Weather campaign this winter when running often well given the circumstances.

He is a tricky horse to win with, though. He often messes up at the starting gate and tends to pull hard. With that in mind I envisage a fast paced mile (evaluate pace chart) or 7 furlongs on softish ground as ideal.

> Race Replay

Jungle Inthebungle
06/04/22 – 1.00 Catterick:

Was much closer to the pace early on than in most of his last runs, surprisingly showing solid early speed here. Looked outpaced three furlongs out and seemed to go backward. Even more Impressive how he kept going and ran on in the closing stages to finish 4th eventually.

He was completely unfancied here and one needs to watch the market if consider backing next time. But I reckon only a hose in form can finish as he did. In any case Jungle Inthebungle comes down to an interesting rating, considering that back in September he was a fine runner-up off a 55 mark at Thirsk.

This run confirmed his well-being and rates a big run also having in mind that soft ground doesn’t tend to bring the best out of him. So, with any further help from the handicapper or perhaps also a solid apprentice on board he’s one I feel will have a winning chance soon.

> Race Replay

Brazen Idol
06/04/22 – 2.25 Lingfield:

Was bit keen early on wanting to get on with things. Eventually settled prominently tracking the pace. Turning for home when attempting to unleash a challenge he was short of room. He had his run stopped again over a furlong from home.

How close he’d gone with a clear run is hard to gauge but given he encountered trouble twice I am willing to mark him up.

He also ran much better than expected given he was out of weights and showed nothing in three starts as a juvenile. This was his first start since October too.

In the meantime he has been gelded and changed yards. Taking into account how poorly the yard performed this year this was a promising comeback. I’d be interested to see him over the minimum trip next time. Most likely on the All-Weather, as the yard tends to have winners predominantly there.

> Race Replay

Cork 2022 Flat Opener

Balmy weather and a solid card of seven races on offer – on a quiet Sunday I used the opportunity to drive down to Cork for their flat season opener.

It’s been a while since I’ve been at the Mallow track. So, I was certainly excited for racing on a day with perfect spring weather for flat racing on ground described as good. The card had a solid look as well: a few interesting maiden races, the Listed Cork Stakes and some intriguing Handicaps.

€20 get you in. Given the recent heated discussions about ticket prices in the UK on the back of Cheltenham, thankfully here in Ireland entrance fees are generally fair – particularly for the marquee days and Festivals.

For the card on offer on this Sunday €20 isn’t necessarily cheap, though, it includes a racecard. Coffee was €2.80, a bog standard 99 ice cream €3.00. Can’t complain – that’s fair enough. Let’s not forget Covid has hit racecourses hard over the last two years.

Cork Racecourse is a lovely track. There’s a friendly vibe, short ways from parade ring to betting to the stands. Solid facilities. Good viewing of the action. A cozy place.

My focus on the day wasn’t so much on betting. It rarely is when I go racing. It’s all about the atmosphere, the horses and this time in particular: photos. I was hoping to capture some solid action shots – and left satisfied!

Crispy Cat

Race Review

The opening 7 furlong maiden was perhaps the most intriguing contest of the day. Princess Olly, a daughter of Invincible Spirit, was an expensive 220,000 gns yearling. Quite why she was an 18/1 shot I am not sure, though. She looked fine in the parade ring and won nicely for AMO racing, trainer Adrian Murray and jockey Rossa Ryan, who flew over for the ride. She should get further and looks an exciting prospect.

The runner up Osraige, trained by Joseph O’Brien, travelled best of all for most of the race but didn’t quite get there in the end. She’s an obvious one to keep an eye on.

Princess Olly – winner of the opener

The Listed Cork Stakes over 6 furlongs looks a cracking race on paper. Half the field, at least, had a realistic shot. In the end Power Under Me for Ger Lyons and jockey Colin Keane got up on the line in a thrilling finish that saw Mooneista only headed in the dying strides.

The 4-year-old gelding continued where he left off, after he finished 2021 with a Listed win at the Curragh. In saying that, I thought Elliptic, back in fourth place, was the eye-catcher of the day. She looks to have trained on well and finished strongly coming from off the pace with a brave move.

Power Under Me lands the Cork Stakes

It was a double on the day for AMO Racing thanks to the Michael O’Callaghan trained Crispy Cat in the five furlong juvenile maiden. He looked ready pre-race and won a shade cozily in the end, having another interesting Ger Lyons expensive newcomer Beauty Crescent in second.

The subsequent 5 furlong Handicap for 3-year-olds was probably the one I was most interested in. Some good prospects lined up, with my money riding on Red Lacewing.

The physical difference between the horses in the parade ring was striking. Pearl Palinka, who was thought to be one of the leading contender beforehand, didn’t look particularly ready for her first outing of the year. Whereas Ernest Rutherford was a reall standout – shiny coat and fit – it was no surprise he won the best turned out award.

Ernest Rutherford

But it was Drombeg Banner who landed the spoils eventually. Well supported in the market, the Ken Condon trained gelding went off favourite, made all and wasn’t for catching.

Runner-up Red Lacewing ran an excellent race in defeat. A slow start didn’t help, and her momentum was stopped half a furlong from home by the left hanging winner. She had to switch and regather momentum but the damage was done.

I believe she is one to watch out for. She looked well physically, although, was quite unruly pre-race when walking from the parade ring to the track. Clearly temperamental, she has a big engine and was an eye-catcher on all occasions last year.

Red Lacewing

It was a rather quiet day for team O’Brien. Only Aiden – with Shark Bay in the lucky last – won a race. Although Osraige for Joseph and Elliptic for Donnacha ran promising races. There are bigger days to come for them.

All photos © Florian Christoph

Sunday Selections: April, 7th 2019

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2.35 Cork: Handicap (45-65) , 8.5f

I’m quite interested in the Ger Lyons trained filly Palabres. She ran incredibly well on debut last year in a red hot maiden that has thrown up a few good subsequent winners – Palabres herself running to a 61 TS rating under hands and heels that day.

She didn’t live up to the promise in three more starts, finishing down the field on each occasion. Ger Lyons suggesting the filly was mentally not ready, though:

“Maybe it was immaturity that was preventing her from showing on track what we thought we were seeing at home.”

He also expects her to be ready to go today. Off a lowly handicap mark, Palabres could easily be well handicapped now, also stepping up in trip – if she’s got a mind for racing. Her debut run certainly implies the existence of talent.

Slight worries about the trip and ground and also the wide draw. But if she’s well-in here, as I imagine she is, with also a bit of stamina on the sire side available, Palabres looks an overpriced individual in this open contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Palabres @ 12/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: Zhukova can win Cork feature

Cork Racecourse

Good win for Harlequin Rock yesterday. Feels always good to get things right, as it doesn’t happen too often! Mass Rally looked to come storming home on the outside but faded away eventually. He needs more help from the handicapper these days. Katimavik was NR.

7.35 Ripon: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

This could be an excellent opportunity for the old boy Noble Storm to get back on the score sheet. The nine year old hasn’t been exactly close to winning this year but more often than not wasn’t disgraced nor far beaten.

He drops to a very handy mark now which should see him competitive in this grade, particular today with ground conditions sure to suit well.

Noble Storm @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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7.50 Chelmsford: Class 3 Handicap, 10f

The two fillies at the top of the market could be hard to beat here. Talawat of bottom weight will go very close if she gets the trip against this better opposition. Martlet makes more appeal as she is proven over track and trip.

However I feel Taaqah is overpriced here. She went close over a mile at Chelmsford earlier this year, when runner-up behind Boonga Roogeta. She hasn’t been seen to best effect in her last two starts but the return to the All-Weather may help. She steps up in trip and that is the factor which may see her improving a bit again.

On pedigree she has every chance to do so as a son of Arch out of a Gone West mare who has a stake in multiple St. Leger winner Leading Light.

Taaqah has only one maiden win to her name yet, and that over 6f. It’s is not given that she appreciates the new trip. But it’s possible. There aren’t too many in this field with a realistic chance on handicapping terms and therefore I believe she is a rather big price here.

Taaqah @ 16/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

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8.00 Cork: Give Thanks Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 1m 4f

This two times races filly Zhukova progressed nicely from her debut run when she landed a Navan maiden in fine style back in June. Trainer Dermot Weld was quite happy and was hoping she would make into a nice Stakes filly over further. Today is the chance.

She lacks experience in this field but is extremely well bred and should appreciate the step up in trip. With natural progression she can go close.

Zhukova @ 14/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

Outback Traveller Deserves Another Chance

Cork Racecourse

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.

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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

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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

Eisenhower Open To Plenty Of Progress!

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A maiden at Cork that doesn’t look overly strong. The short-priced Weld favourite looks like one I’m happy to take on. Hasn’t been seen for roughly a year and despite fair form in two starts last season, it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Without a shadow of a doubt the most appeal makes the Aiden OBrien one-time raced Eisenhower. He is lovely bred, and while he is sure to get much further in time than this minimum 5f trip here, he should have no problems dropping down from his 7f debut run.

That day at Gowran Park he travelled much the best, loomed up large on the inside to take up the lead around two furlongs out, but then seemed not quite sure he was supposed to do next. He faded badly and showed signs of greenness big time. There is much more to come from him and the drying ground suits him perfectly. He looks a rather big price in my eyes.

5.15 Cork: Maiden Stakes, 5f
Eisenhower @ 11/4 Betfred – 10pts win