News from down under
21 October 2011
Things haven’t been going quite as planned with our runners in Australia with Manighar, Drunken Sailor and Bauer all running well in their latest races without either managing to get their heads in front or, in the case of the last two, having much luck in running.
Manighar managed to finish ahead of Drunken Sailor in the Caulfield Cup but had the latter been better drawn and had better luck in running it’s likely that there would have been little between them. Strictly on the figures, off an equivalent BHA rating of 112, Manighar probably ran as well as he ever has on ratings yet it’s arguable that things still didn’t go his way ideally.
He’s a horse that ideally needs more of a test of stamina and, on a course with a very short home straight in a race that wasn’t run at a strong gallop throughout, and despite a good position on the rail, he wasn’t able to muster up the speed to pick up the leaders. Given that he’s never been at his best at a mile and a half, Manighar can head to Melbourne now near the top of his form with a very encouraging run behind him, though clearly he’ll have to produce a career best to win at Flemington.
Much the same comments apply to Drunken Sailor, though it can be argued he’s still unexposed at around two miles so might have more to give. He certainly wasn’t seen to best advantage at Caulfield where he ended up having to be dropped in from a wide draw and was then shuffled back on the turn just when the race was beginning in earnest. He’s very tough and of the two possibly holds the better chance, though it still seems that Bauer is our main hope.
He was unlucky earlier this week not to follow up his win in the 2008 Geelong Cup when he once again ended up in a poor position (through no fault of his rider) only to fly home on the outside. He’s come out of that race very well and being relatively fresh and still lightly raced for one of his age, could be ready to avenge his heartbreaking defeat at Flemington in 2008. Incidentally, it’s worth reiterating how well endowed these top races in Australia are – Drunken Sailor and Manighar picked up around £120,000 between them which puts into stark perspective how poorly funded racing is over here.
Sahara Sun is our other possible for Flemington but much depends on how he goes in his next race as we’re not exactly sure what sort of performance he’s capable of.
Sunday night at Woodbine in the Canadian International wasn’t quite so remunerative in so far as Quest For Peace was concerned, though in his defence he didn’t have the race run to suit him. He’s essentially a strong galloper who needs to start rolling behind a strong pace a long way from home and he never had the opportunity to do that here, with the gallop far from strong and then slowing up approaching the final turn.
In the circumstances, with the ground being slower than he cares for too, he’s not fared badly, though the fact he couldn’t confirm Ascot placings with Arctic Cosmos illustrates how unalike the two races were, but that’s it for the season now with him. He’ll probably have a conventional turf campaign at around a mile and a half next year when hopefully he’ll make up into a top-class animal.
Other than that things have been quiet on the home front with Twelve Strings our only winner since our last update. He’d not been appreciating the kickback on the all weather but proved much more suited to the turf as well as the longer trip, helped all the while by an excellent ground-saving ride next to the fence all the way. There’s only one more suitable race for him now this year, far away at Ffos Las, so he’ll be put away with next year in mind.
Speaking of the juveniles, one that shouldn’t be forgotten with regards to next year is Validus who wasn’t seen to best effect in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket. He ended up in a totally different type of race than the one he’d won at Kempton and neither the sprint finish nor the loose ground suited him. He’ll show himself a much better horse next year when his stamina is tested more.
This weekend our hopes at Newbury rest with Hunter Forward, Mohedian Lady, Naqshabban and Kirthill. Hunter Forward runs at a mile and a quarter, which might be a trip just short of her best, but she looks to have a good chance, as does Mohedian Lady in what used to be the St Simon Stakes. Mohedian Lady is being thrown in at the deep end, taking two steps forward instead of the usual one, but she’s in good form and whatever she achieves here is immaterial in a fashion as she’ll be staying in training next year.
Naqshabban and Kirthill lock horns again over Newbury’s mile and a quarter and there should be little between them on these revised terms. Kieren retains the ride on Kirthill for the sole reason that he’s still not confident about Naqshabban at the stalls. The pair look to have the best recent form among the principals and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they could finish one-two.