Tuesday 24 April 2018

Architecture a big threat to Oaks favourite

Trainer Hugo Palmer. Photo: PA
Trainer Hugo Palmer. Photo: PA

Wayne Bailey

Newmarket-based Hugo Palmer rarely sends horses to Ireland but when he does, it's usually worth the trip.

Of the seven horses he's sent across the Irish Sea since he took out a licence in 2011, four have placed and two have won.

Importantly, one of those winners was Covert Love in the Irish Oaks last year at 7/1, which had been supplemented at a cost of €40,000 and was given a fantastic tactical ride by Pat Smullen.

It was a first Classic for Palmer and success in the Prix de l'Opera saw the filly become one of the highest-rated around.

If Palmer wasn't on everyone's radar already, Galileo Gold's win in this year's 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket made sure he'd become a household name and his impressive 19pc strike rate for 2015 has been maintained this year.

Palmer is back for more with two runners in this evening's Irish Oaks (5.45 Curragh) and hooks up with Pat Smullen once again with We Are Ninety, which is generally available at 25/1. But the 6/1 available yesterday evening about Palmer's Architecture under Frankie Dettori certainly catches the eye as a potential value bet.

Once again, he's paid a €40,000 supplement fee in order to take on Aidan O'Brien's Even Song, which is trading around 8/11 at the time of writing. The pair met last time out in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot in which Even Song showed a great turn of foot to land the prize at 15/8.

Without taking anything away from the winner, it was a muddling sort of race and Architecture's eighth place is not as bad as it looks on paper.


I've often said that you are on shaky ground when you start making excuses for horses but the Ribblesdale came quite soon after Architecture's fantastic second place to the outstanding Minding in the Epsom Oaks and she seemed a little weary.

The slow pace prevented her getting into any kind of rhythm and the race ended up being a sprint at the finish in which she was forced wide in the home straight. Dettori said he got a great feel from her recently when he sat on her for the first time since Ascot and I don't think the gulf in class between these two is as big as the odds would suggest. A daughter of Mastercraftsman, Even Song is reported to be in fine form at home and if both horses run to their rating, this may well turn out to be a cracking race.

Generally speaking, the Curragh is a very fair track where the form stands up well. Despite the Ascot race, the handicapper has rated Architecture 3lb clear of Even Song largely based on the Epsom Oaks form - although punters clearly don't agree with that assertion.

Across the water at Newbury, The Tin Man has very strong claims in the Group Three Bet365 Hackwood Stakes (3.35) and odds of 11/4 or thereabouts seem a couple of ticks too high.

While he disappointed in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, this is a big step down in class and he's best judged on a previous Listed win at Windsor in May in which he beat some promising sorts.


Trainer Tom George has a couple of entries in the Listed Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase (2.45 Market Rasen) and I reckon Cernunnos is an each-way steal around 8/1 with Barry Geraghty booked to steer him around.

He had racked up three second places and one win out of four races, pushing his rating up over a stone to 135 although a busy campaign appeared to take its toll last time out in April, where he struggled in a Listed handicap Chase and was pulled up along with seven of the other 14 runners.

The assessor has taken a wait-and-see approach and kept him on 135 which seems quite sensible and leaves a little room for improvement. A rest will have done some good and the six-year-old is expected to get back to form today.


2.45 Market Rasen: Cernunnos (e/w)

3.35 Newbury: The Tin Man

4.05 Curragh: Mecca's Angel

4.40 Curragh: Psychedelic Funk

5.45 Curragh: Architecture

Irish Independent

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