Horse Racing – Weekend Review
Another fantastic weekend of horse racing took place at the Curragh. In this review, I take a look at the most impressive winners.
It may not have been a vintage renewal of the Irish Derby with just five runners, but Aidan O’Brien’s, Australia did enough in winning by over 2l to protect his reputation, though the doubters will still question whether 1m4f is his trip.
On Saturday at the Curragh, Australia’s stamina was never called into question as he won as he liked on the bridle, but the fact jockey, Joseph O’Brien, stated afterwards he’d like to ride him over 1m2f was enough to see Australia’s price unchanged as 4/1 favourite for October’s Arc de Triomphe. It may be that the Irish Champion Stakes could turn out to be the race for Australia, before a possible tilt at the Breeders’ Cup, where fast ground would suit the colt.
Elsewhere at the Curragh on Saturday, Richard Hannon’s exciting juvenile colt, Kool Kompany, gained compensation for flopping at Royal Ascot by taking the Group 3 Railway Stakes – a race that has been won by the likes of George Washington and Rock Of Gibraltar down the years – each of whom tasted Guineas success the following season.
Kool Kompany still has a bit to prove, but another top performance next time out could see his current odds of 25/1 for the 2,000 Guineas next May take a tumble.
There was even more success for Aidan O’Brien at the Curragh on Sunday as he recorded a memorable four-timer, including I Am Beautiful in the Group juvenile sprint, though she wasn’t impressive enough to be getting excited about. Ernest Hemingway, however, did get the juices flowing by winning the Curragh Cup, and will be of interest in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at the Newmarket July meeting on July 10.
As for those who caught the eye at the Curragh over the weekend without making the winner’s enclosure but may do so in the future, then Zalty fits that category having finished runner-up in Saturday’s valuable Scurry sprint.
There was a big draw bias in the race favouring high numbers with the first four drawn in stalls 18, 7, 21 and 25. In the circumstances, Zalty ran a screamer from stall 7 in first-time blinkers, which looked to suit David Marnane’s 5yo, as did the switch back 6f. It could also pay to jot down the names of Dashwood and Intensical, who finished fifth and sixth respectively from stalls 1 and 6.
Meanwhile in Britain, Newcastle took centre stage on Saturday via the richest 2m handicap in Europe, namely the Northumberland Plate, which was won impressively by Angel Gabrial. Not many stayers display the speed this 5yo did in quickening 3l clear of his rivals, and the manner in which he is improving will see him a force in races like the Goodwood Cup or Ebor Handicap later this summer.
The ‘real’ eyecatcher in the Northumberland, however, was Noble Silk, who had previously recorded a career best victory at Haydock over 2m, and did very well to finish fourth on Saturday.
With the first three home all drawn towards the inside of the track in stalls 1, 10 and 8 in this 19-runner field, Noble Silk had a it all to do from trap 15, but ran on strongly inside the final furlong before getting blocked late on. This performance promised more to come, and this fast-ground lover could find a valuable staying prize in his next few outings.