Sunday 23 April 2017

Guineas tilt on cards for Casamento

American Star and Brian Cooper crash out of the Renvyle House Hotel Handicap at Galway yesterday. Thankfully both horse and rider escaped injury.
American Star and Brian Cooper crash out of the Renvyle House Hotel Handicap at Galway yesterday. Thankfully both horse and rider escaped injury.

Thomas Kelly

Casamento rubber-stamped his Classic credentials ahead of his Godolphin switch with an authoritative triumph in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.

Now the general second-favourite for the 2000 Guineas, the Shamardal colt was providing trainer Mick Halford with his first Group One winner.

While the handler will be sad to see him go, he knew the plan all along and has just been grateful to train a top-class colt for an owner as prominent as Sheikh Mohammed.

"It was always the plan that he was going to join Godolphin and I've no problem with that," said Halford. "I'm just grateful to Sheikh Mohammed for sending me two horses and luckily enough we've got a good one."

The 2/1 favourite hit the front two furlongs out under Frankie Dettori and gamely held off the challenge of the Aidan O'Brien-trained duo Seville and Master Of Hounds.

"I think he might have enough speed for the Guineas, but he's not slow either and stays," added Halford.

Dettori reported: "He's probably a Derby horse, but we'll wait and see."

Cue Card, last season's Cheltenham Festival Bumper winner, made an impressive hurdling debut for the father-and-son team of Colin and Joe Tizzard at Aintree yesterday.

The four-year-old, one of only three of that age to win the Cheltenham bumper in 19 runnings, may not have beaten much, but on this evidence he could be up there with some of the best recent graduates from that arena.

An athletic type, he jumped quickly and accurately and the only problem for Tizzard was the lack of early pace in the race. Despite pulling hard throughout, the gelding jumped his way to the front at the third-last and went right away from his field to beat Dear Sam by 13 lengths without coming off the bridle.

Exciting

Trainer Colin Tizzard was delighted with Cue Card and indicated that he would probably go to Cheltenham's Open meeting next month.

"People say it must be exciting, but there's a certain amount of responsibility with a horse like this -- thank God that's over," he said.

"We've done our travelling and found a National Hunt hurdle to avoid the Flat boys, but he can have a race next time. The only worry was that he would run himself out pulling like that, but he didn't empty."

Monet's Garden, whose record now stands at 17 wins from 32 starts, is expected to run in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon after winning a third Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

The popular grey, approaching his 13th birthday, beat Poquelin by half a length and kept finding for Dougie Costello every time it looked like the runner-up would go past. The pair were almost a distance clear of the third, Tartak.

Trainer Nicky Richards said they would have no hesitation in retiring Monet's Garden as soon as there were any signs that his ability or enthusiasm had started to wane.

"Aintree has always suited him and though he never won at Cheltenham, he ran one of his best races in defeat there when beaten a length and a quarter by Voy Por Ustedes in the Arkle, giving him 5lb," Richards said.

Meanwhile, British hopes of success at the Breeders' Cup on November 6 were bolstered over the weekend when it was announced that Workforce, which pleased Michael Stoute in a gallop on Saturday morning, will be on the plane to Churchill Downs.

Khalid Abdulla's racing manager Lord Grimthorpe said that the only factor that might stop the colt lining up in the Turf was if the ground is too firm.

"It's been very dry for the last month in Kentucky, but they are expecting a substantial amount of rain this week so it shouldn't be a problem," he said. An Arc winner has yet to win at the meeting.

Irish Independent

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