Thursday 23 March 2017

Midday to take on O'Brien's star Coronation team

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Getty Images
Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Getty Images

Brilliant mare Midday is in line to take on a strong Aidan O'Brien team in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 3.

Connections of Henry Cecil's multiple Group One winner are giving the mile-and-a-half feature serious consideration after she made a successful seasonal debut at York last week.

Midday's owner Khalid Abdullah also has last year's Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Workforce among the 15 remaining entries following the latest scratchings stage. However, the Michael Stoute-trained star is likely to return to action in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown this day week.

"Midday is the most likely runner of the two in the Coronation Cup," said the owner's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe. "Sariska ran second to Fame And Glory last year, so looking at that form line, Midday shouldn't be too far away."

O'Brien -- who has won four of the last six renewals -- still has six possibles, headed by last year's winner Fame And Glory, while St Nicholas Abbey, Cape Blanco and So You Think also stood their ground.

Meanwhile, Godolphin's Casamento could sidestep the Epsom Derby in favour of a tilt at the French equivalent the following day. The three-year-old won the Racing Post Trophy on his final juvenile start for Mick Halford but was unable to match Frankel on his Godolphin debut in the 2,000 Guineas, eventually fading to finish 10th.

Connections are now looking to step him up in distance but racing manager Simon Crisford hinted a trip to Chantilly, rather than Epsom, is more likely.

Newmarket Listed winner Ocean War and Sunday's Prix Hocquart third Genius Beast are others in the reckoning, but the former looks the most probable Epsom contender at this stage.

Beatrice Aurore could take her chance in the Epsom Oaks following yesterday's victory in the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood.

Once out of a pocket on the rails, John Dunlop's 2/1 favourite picked up well for Ted Durcan to beat Highest by a length and a half. "I'm not sure whether she's good enough to beat top, top fillies like the Guineas winner (Blue Bunting) but it might be worth having a go," said Dunlop.

Irish Independent

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