Thomas Crapper

Weekend Review – O’Brien Sparkles In Cesarewitch

At a time when there is simply something for everyone, virtue of the Flat, jumps, All-weather and international programme, backers have plenty to punt on at present…

…though one man they may want to keep on side in the coming weeks is the new future star of Irish Flat racing: Donnacha O’Brien.

Donnacha O’Brien

Aidan O’Brien’s 16-year-old son showed maturity and skill to steer top weight, El Salvador, home in the Irish Cesarewitch on Sunday

– in the process getting the better of Pat Smullen. Not many teenagers outride Smullen in a finish, and while the youngster did have a 7lb allowance, it is indeed that valuable claim which could be gold dust during the coming weeks, as this big-race win will no doubt see him in popular demand.

Big Easy
In Britain, Philip Hobbs’, Big Easy, won the Cesaewitch at Newmarket, justifying his trainer’s claims that he shown improvement at home during the summer. As was witnessed on Saturday, the dual-purpose 7yo is clearly progressing, and may even follow in the footsteps of former stablemate and Grade 1 winning hurdler, Detroit City, who won the Cesarewitch in 2006.

2,000 Guineas
Also at Newmarket was the victory of Commemorative in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes for Charles Hills, and while he still has a bit to find at the highest level, he won this with conviction and wouldn’t be the worst 33/1 shot for May’s 2,000 Guineas back here.

On the subject of the 2,000 Guineas, Kingston Hill, who was eighth in this year’s renewal, will not race in Saturday’s Champion Stakes following his fourth in the Arc, while Australia, who beat Kingston Hill in the Derby, has now been retired to stud. One not retired just yet, though, is dual Arc winner, Treve, who will be back for another Arc – for the record, Treve is 6/1 to make it a hat-trick of Arcs, any takers?

Melbourne Cup
Further afield, the German-trained Protectionist has been made the 8/1 favourite for the Melbourne Cup on November 4, having run a very eyecatching fourth in a Group 2 Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday (1m4f). The rumours are that Ryan Moore could be booked for Protectionist, and punters have taken note.

Just behind Protectionist in fifth was Andrew Balding’s, Lord Van Percy, who was runner-up in York’s Ebor in August, before finishing to good effect on Saturday. He has been nibbled into 25/1.

Jumps Are Back
But for those looking forward to the jumps, then it was announced at the weekend that Thomas Crapper could make his chase debut at Cheltenham on Friday, while at Limerick last Sunday, Hash Brown was an impressive winner of the Grade 3 hurdle. Considering three of the last six winners of this event went on to land another Grade 3 during their next few outings, Hash Brown could be one to note.

The weekend ahead also promises to be an absolute belter, with Newmarket staging three Group 1’s on Friday, while another trio of Group 1’s awaits via Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, while jumps action takes place at Cheltenham on the same day – does it get any better?