Outsider Waady ready to strike for O'Neill
Cork-born rider can excel on Sprint Cup second string
Gordon Lord Byron today returns to one of his favourite hunting grounds for a fourth tilt at the Sprint Cup.
The six-furlong Haydock Group One suits Tom Hogan's unlikely sprinting star ideally. He slammed Slade Power by three lengths when victorious in the race two years ago and just lost out to Society Rock and G Force either side of that fine triumph.
Last year, he probably led a mite early under Wayne Lordan, and he has continued to run consistently well during a typically busy time since then. In 11 outings over the past year, he has won the Group Two Champions Sprint at Ascot and a Curragh Listed race, as well as being placed a further five times, including twice at this level.
Gordon Lord Byron is sure to run his race again. His tendency to race close to the pace can render him vulnerable, and that would be the fear again here.
That said, he is as big as 10/1 to emulate Be Friendly by becoming just the second horse to win the race twice. He is certainly a viable each-way bet at those odds.
Eddie Lynam's Sole Power, with Chris Hayes up for a first time, is the pick of the two other Irish runners, with Ballydoyle's Due Diligence having a little to prove at the moment.
Fancied at up to 20/1 is John Gosden's Waady. The William Haggas-trained Adaay is Hamdan Al Maktoum's first string with Paul Hanagan up. Given that Adaay emerged most of five lengths to the good when the pair met at Newbury in May, that is no surprise. He also beat Limato over course and distance later that month, prior to finishing seventh behind the Dane O'Neill-ridden Muhaarar at Royal Ascot.
Following a polished turn over seven furlongs at Newbury last month, there is no doubt that Adaay promises to be a live contender in this sort of race. However, a similar comment applies to Waady, which hasn't looked back since Newbury.
In two outings back over five at Sandown, he has shown a real touch of class to accelerate clear in a Listed race and a Group Three, the form of which is solid without being spectacular.
Like Adaay, though, he is a three-year-old on the up. Prior to Newbury, he had won three times in a row over five. Given that his debut defeat also came over six, maybe he is better suited by the minimum trip. But that isn't necessarily the case.
At Newbury, the race didn't go to plan, with Hanagan forced to take him back and around the field for a run. He got going too late, but the manner in which he kept finding indicated that he could yet prove effective over six.
Moreover, with today's guaranteed fast pace sure to play into the hands of a horse with such a rich turn of foot, the race should be run to suit, so he might just cause a slight upset under Co Cork-born O'Neill.
Earlier on the card, Ivawood should win the Group Three Superior Mile. Placed behind Muhaarar in the Greenham and behind Gleneagles in both Guineas, Richard Hannon's colt got involved in a barging match at Deauville last time.
He eventually got going to finish seventh, but ran far better than that position suggests. At up to 3/1, Ivawood is serious value here under Sean Levey.
Watching Brief . . .
Next week's Qipco Irish Champion Stakes is shaping up to be a race for the ages.
As of now, though, it doesn't appeal as an ante-post medium due to the uncertainty of the final line-up. Gleneagles remains an intended runner should the ground hold up.
Aidan O'Brien has indicated that a bold tilt at the Breeders' Cup Classic on October 31 will also be considered later.
However, in the event that Gleneagles were to miss Leopardstown, a return to Ascot for the QE II Stakes on October 17 might take precedence if the ground were to turn up good.
It's all ifs and buts, of course, but a mile on a decent surface at Ascot would constitute optimum conditions for the dual Guineas hero. It would also be a softer option, with Solow the clear market leader.
He would undoubtedly test Gleneagles, but odds of 7/1 about the Ballydoyle colt would soon disappear if he were to miss Leopardstown. The likes of Kodi Bear, Territories and Esoterique trade at similar odds, and there is little doubt that Gleneagles is a better horse than those.