We start on home shores to discuss the first Group 1 ever contested on an all-weather surface on this continent. A fine field assembled at Newcastle on Friday night and though it was disappointing to watch my ante-post Guineas pick Kinross finish in behind, the winner Kameko put in a thoroughly taking performance to win with room to spare. I’m not convinced he is truly ‘classic class’ however.
Over in America the Europeans were disappointingly only able to post one win over the two days of the Breeders’ Cup courtesy of Iridessa in the Filly & Mare Turf – a first win of what will surely be many for Joseph O’Brien. My major fancy Daahyeh did very little wrong in finishing 2nd in the juvenile fillies turf, possibly asked for her effort too late by William Buick on a rock hard track that massively favoured early speed. She has been the epitome of consistency this season and though she might not be improving much next season will continue to be respected.
The rumours are that next season might see the banning of Lasix in America (the anti-haemorrhaging chemical agent so loathed by horse welfare groups). The impossible results seen at the meeting this year and the closing spectacle of Mongolian Groom breaking down in the stretch of the Classic suggest that something needs to change for the benefit of the sport – only America could stage an event like this, but the lustre is disappearing and they must sort things out.
Ever So Cool (D.Skelton) – Fakenham doesn’t produce many of my eyecatchers, but it hosted an interesting bumper last Wednesday that saw a handful of well-bred individuals make their rules debuts. This full sister to the stable’s ill-fated but highly talented Shantou Rock was extremely weak in the betting all day and the race showed why as she was tenderly handled by Harry Skelton but stayed on nicely into midfield under minimal duress. I can see her improving significantly on this showing next time.
First Flow (K.Bailey) – A talented type that has suffered repeated injury setbacks, he was well backed for his chase debut at Uttoxeter on Friday. Market clues can be misleading though and he appeared too fresh for his own good, hanging and jumping right, refusing to settle in behind and pushing an unsustainable gallop. Despite this he still appeared the likely winner turning in until he was passed by the much higher rated Summerville Boy late on. A provisional chase mark of 140 looks extremely fair and he can make hay if switched to handicaps with the benefit of this outing under his belt.
Known (N.Henderson) – I tend to avoid Seven Barrows inmates as I find them overbet, but I do enjoy following some of their lesser lights and this strapping son of Fame And Glory can achieve below the radar of his higher touted stablemates. His 4th in a modest Huntingdon novice hurdle on Sunday is upgraded as he was visibly distracted by a rival falling directly in front of him 3 out. In addition to being hampered just as the race was taking shape, he produced huge, careful leaps at the last two obstacles and was tenderly handled by James Bowen. He will want 3 miles and won’t appreciate heavy ground, but I liked this first hurdles run a lot.
Several runners to catch up on this week. Lisnagar Oscar (R.Curtis) was a disappointing favourite at Startford on Wednesday, but I cannot fathom how connections reasoned a drop back in trip on a sharper track would improve the prospects of this strong staying type. He remains on the list and will win if posed the sort of stamina test he clearly craves. Nikap (N.Hawke) ran out a ready winner at Uttoxeter on Friday. A 5lb hike in the weights seems harsh given the two market leaders failed to offer anything, but he wants further and 119 should be within his compass. Indefatigable (P.Webber) was well backed at Wetherby on Saturday but caught a tartar in the shape of the popular Lady Buttons. I felt she was a shade disappointing despite her good effort in defeat and with the stable bang in form I’m not sure she will improve on this, therefore I’m dropping her off the list. Heist (P.Griffin) Had zero chance in a race too hot on ground too soft at Ayr and is readily forgiven. Another 2nd place came courtesy of Go Millie Go (S.Edmunds) at Hereford on Monday. She improved on her Chepstow run as I hoped and pulled miles clear of the 3rd, but the well backed winner seemed rejuvenated by a stable switch and she had no answer. I still really like her going forward at a modest level.
14/10/19 – Society Lion – Win @ 6/4
17/10/19 – Giving Glances – 5th @ 10/1
31/10/19 – Lisnagar Oscar – 3rd @ 4/5
01/11/19 – Nikap – Win @ 5/1
02/11/19 – Indefatigable – 2nd @ 7/4
02/11/19 – Heist – 6th @ 10/1
04/11/19 – Go Millie Go – 2nd @ 5/1