Experience could help Integral see off French raider
AROUND 20 miles north of Glasgow, there's a small town with less than 700 inhabitants which goes by the name of Fintry.
I stopped off there for a pint a few years ago while touring parts of Scotland with a tent on my back, and a bloke in the pub told me the Gaelic name for the place is Fionn Treabh. By my rough translation, that means 'blond tribe', and I'd hazard a guess that the name comes from one of the numerous raiding parties that invaded the area over the years, possibly Vikings.
Speaking of raiders, a horse by the name of Fintry will attempt to plunder the prizemoney in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket this afternoon (3.30) but I reckon the Andre Fabre trained filly is a little short in the betting, considering she's yet to prove herself in Group One company.
Having won a Listed race at Chantilly in May, she made the step up to pattern level when winning the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at that course in June - although it wasn't a hugely competitive renewal with the 8/10 favourite Veda failing to fire.
More recently, she was dropped in class to win a Group Three at Sandown (last week) and while she asserted her authority without much fuss, I'd rather see more from her before I'd back her at today's odds of 2/1.
I'm not saying she won't improve and the fact that Fabre sends her over is a vote of confidence in itself - but at the prices, she's opposable.
One horse that is proven at the top level is Sir Michael Stoute's Integral, which is expected to go off in the region of 3/1. She beat some smart sorts in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot including Sky Lantern over her preferred trip of a mile, and she took things up a notch when beating Rizeena by a couple of lengths in the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July. On that piece of form, she should take all the beating today but judging by the early betting markets, it seems that punters have been put off by her latest race in which she finished third out of four in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville last month.
I may live to regret this but I'm willing to overlook that effort and take a chance that we'll see her back to her best today. Deauville was a muddling affair which saw the field split into two pairs, and the pace only picked up very late on.
In short, it was tactics which won the day for Fabre's Esoterique which also re-opposes today. But Esoterique won't have her own way this time and odds of 6/1 are a fair reflection of her chances. Last year's winner Sky Lantern will have her supporters too at 8/1, but she hasn't won since and will have to come on plenty to find herself in the winners' enclosure this afternoon.
In tomorrow's Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe, the Japanese may finally get a winner in the guise of Harp Star (8/1). The daughter of Deep Impact won the Japanese 1,000 Guineas and was only beaten by a neck in the Japanese Oaks having lost a shoe mid-race. When you combine her age and sex allowance, she'll be getting 11lbs from the older colts which could prove decisive.
THE nine-runner Bet Totetrifecta Fillies' Handicap at Wolverhampton (8.30) looks wide open but at 6/1, it could be worth taking an each-way chance on History Book.
She's not the most straightforward horse and often finds herself in trouble mid race but deep down, she has talent. If jockey Cam Hardie gets her out early and keeps out of trouble, she'll go close.
2.40 Ascot: Pether's Moon
3.30 Newmarket: Integral
4.45 Gowran: Road To Riches
8.30 W'hampton: History Book (e/w)
3.30 Longchamp (Sunday): Harp Star
* Last week's winners included Tiggy Wiggy (6/4) and Tagula Night (8/1).