News filtered through on Thursday morning that Frankie Dettori had lost the rides on the John & Thady Gosden trained Sunray Major and Stowell at Newmarket on Saturday. The Italian is due to take the ride on Lezoo for Ralph Beckett on the same card, but this is surely the beginning of the end of what has been a long and illustrious career with incredible highs and much-publicised lows.
At his best he was quite simply the best; but time waits for nobody.
A tremendous day’s racing with a competitive jumps card at Cartmel, cracking all-weather action from Newcastle and excellent flat turf cards at Newmarket, Chester and the Curragh.
There is rain forecast for Cartmel with the prospect of heavy showers overnight which muddies the waters somewhat. Grey Atlantic Way travelled and jumped well over an additional half-mile here at the last meeting, leading over the last before fading on the long run in. Henry Brooke was in the plate when the 9-y-old gained his sole win under rules at Sedgefield (3m 3f) from just a 3lbs lower mark back in October. Brooke returns to the plate this afternoon for brother Danny.
There is no getting away from the fact that MAH MATE BOB is well handicapped on his old form, and he looked as if he was returning to something like his best when runner up over C&D last month from a mark 13lbs lower than winning the corresponding race 12 months ago.
Any significant rain would be considered a positive for the 10-y-old who is likely to help force the pace. His sound jumping is an asset, and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race despite being raised a couple of pounds for his latest run.
I was also considering supporting Oakmont in the last at Cartmel, but I would be worried about underfoot conditions if the forecast rain arrives.
There is the prospect of an isolated shower in south Yorkshire, but the ground is likely to remain good to firm for their seven-race card.
NOVA LEGEND (Nap) has been raised 2lbs for finishing runner up at Leicester on his reappearance over 12f when he was finishing best of all. He gave every impression he would appreciate today’s step up in trip to 1m 6f although there are mixed messages in his breeding.
The winner and the third from that Leicester race have won in the interim period and it is worth noting that the cheekpieces he wore at Oadby are replaced by a first-time visor. He was a bit too keen last time but if the headgear works the oracle, then I do feel he will be very hard to beat.
Dual Identity had MANGO BOY behind when the former won over 10f here back in May, but I hope to see Chris Wall’s grey reverse the form dropped back to a mile this evening on 3lbs better terms.
The selection scrambled home back at a mile in a modest four-runner race at Yarmouth last time when he looked ill at ease having to make his own running. This stiff mile looks ideal and there should be enough pace in the race for Jack Mitchell to take a tow into the race.
Dual Identity has finished runner-up in his last two starts on turf & polytrack, but he will appreciate returning to tapeta. Of the bigger prices, the 3-y-old Fiorina looks likely to appreciate returning to an artificial surface and he and the progressive Clear Angel are others to consider in a competitive heat.
Wordsworth has been put in short enough in the 1m 6f Curragh Cup given he had a hard race when a beaten favourite in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over 2m 6f – non-stayer- at Royal Ascot on Saturday. This is more his trip, but those exertions will surely have taken their toll and there is the prospect of rain in the Dublin area this afternoon.
Eight of the last nine renewals have been won by either Aidan (6) or Joseph (2) O’Brien and the latter’s MASTER OF REALITY will appreciate any of the forecast rain that arrives, and he can reverse last month’s course form with the market leader on 3lbs better terms.
That listed contest over an inadequate mile-and-a-half was the selection’s first start in over 200 days and he ran a terrific race which should put him spot-on for this evening. The selection has yet to win in seven starts at the Curragh, but he has run some fine races in defeat, and he gets the vote in what does not look like a vintage renewal of this Group 2.
Maze Runner finished third in the Irish Cesarewitch over this evening’s C&D back in the autumn and heads the market for the concluding two-mile handicap running off a 5lbs higher mark.
The 7-y-old failed to win over timber this last jumps season but anything that Willie Mullins saddles in staying handicaps has got to be respected on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The filly KAZAKDARIA has only raced five times and looked ready for a step up to two miles when third over 1m 6f here on her reappearance and she is just 1lb higher in the weights this evening.
Dermot Weld has saddled the winner of the corresponding race – Dalton Highway who bids for the hat-trick tonight – for the last two years and this will have been earmarked as the short-term target for the 4-y-old since her comeback three weeks ago.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.