Leopardstown – Saturday, April 14th
6f 2yo Maiden
Sedate pace here and Tom Dooley looks flattered having made it. Focus On Venice didn’t look much on breeding but Bolger can make a fool of pedigree and tends to run a good one in the race; he travelled worst of the first three but was professional. Not so Michaelmas who ran about a bit under pressure but picked up well when asked and closed to the line. Glory Boy the one to take from it and another example of Weld keeping his good horses for this track; he travelled nearly as well as the second and was tightened up quite badly on the rail over 1f out when coming with his run before running on again afterwards. Fine Cut was keen enough.
1m 3yo Listed
There looked a proper pace on; Fort Knox has been very impressive and shown a sharp turn-of-foot for the second time in as many races, classy prospect and weak in the betting for a yard that tend to know what they’re at so there could be improvement; excellent performance albeit with lots of dogs down the field but he has really flew home. No fluke about the effort of Don’t Bother Me and he might prove better over 7f. High Octane has a very high HC (as had on debut) while Dibayani looked awkward too, particularly on the turn, one to oppose. O’Brien might use the headgear to good effect on handicappers and maidens but cheek-pieces going on a stallion prospect like The United States FTO were a big negative and he has a lot to prove. Move To Strike was keen and is another with lots to prove.
Hate to go down the road of ‘vibes’ but get the feeling that Declaration Of War is very good albeit that he hasn’t really shown it from a form point of view yet; travelled nicely here and certainly not the first that Ballydoyle have got from another yard and improved plenty. Bold Thady Quill has improved this season while Sweet Lightening just isn’t suited by this sort of race; indeed he looked like a dodge, head high and not going forward. Big field handicaps are his thing but next to impossible to win one off 112. Paene Magnus looks a polytrack horse.
7f 3yo Group 3
General impression that this was a poor race if Rawaaq (well-exposed as below the best last year; possibly best fresh) could win it; Liberating also a bit close up in fourth for it to be a decent race. That is a negative for all field and the only positive could be that Weld has plenty at home that would have been perceived as better than the winner; in fairness to her, she does go well on bad ground. What Style has improvement in her for going up in trip but everything went right in the race (good position off a slow enough pace) and wasn’t good enough.
1m2f Group 3
There is nothing remotely flashy about Battle Of Marengo but he’s very likeable and has slipped below the radar for an open Derby; has the best form on offer in that race. Beat the right horse here in Sugar Boy (keen) giving it weight and looks like one that will have no problem with 12f, never looked like getting beaten and well on top at the line. Imperial Concorde has travelled best and should have a race in him while Beyond Thankful travelled well enough too. Alpinist was poor but his form was too; he was found to be lame.
Suspect Fastidious got a soft lead here and is not as good as he looked; hike in the weights away and he doesn’t win too often so one to oppose NTO as this was a bad one. September Lily is 0/16 career with 9 places so is one to be against and likewise Lily Of Kenmare; not harshly dealt with by the handicapper, she was off it early in the manner of one not liking the ground and/or finding the trip too sharp, her HC says her attitude will hold her back. Little Arrows might improve for his first run since July and would prefer a better pace; 7f on good or slower appears to be his thing, in handicaps of this type he is now:1133431 and the form of his last win worked out well. Ningaloo Reef might be the one to take from it; keen early and was conceding fitness to most of these, did best of those held up and would be eligible for 0-75s with his mark. The ground would hardly have suited Cluin Aine while Bendzoldan is out of form.
This hardly took much winning with a number of the ‘potential’ horses coming out because of the ground, Ozeta not running a race, and most of these, with the notable exception of Leroy Parker, were well off it before turning in; of that one, he either wasn’t getting home or is a dodge or a combination of the two. Justification won’t mind further on this evidence while Rossvoss stayed on well but on the whole I’d take a pretty dim view of this form.