Thursday 22 February 2018

Beyond to thrive in stamina test

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

On a Newmarket card that features 14 Irish-trained runners this afternoon, three raiders tackle the 34-runner cavalry charge that is the Cesarewitch.

David Wachman has booked Jimmy Fortune for the top-weight Mount Athos, while Tony Martin and Dermot Weld, both of whom have already won the prestigious handicap, rely on Buy Back Bob and Rainforest Magic, respectively.

All three can be backed at 16/1 or more, with Weld's runner probably the best value at those odds.

Lightly raced, the blinkered Rainforest Magic is having just its eighth start on the Flat, having shown the first signs of promise when upped to a mile and a half on his final two outings last term.

He subsequently made little impact in soft ground maiden hurdles through the winter, but proved himself a thorough stayer when grinding out an impressive win in a two-mile Flat race on his seasonal bow at Galway.

An equally comprehensive triumph over hurdles at Ballybrit three days later confirmed that Rainforest Magic has a distinct preference for good ground.

Now, off a stone higher mark, he is expected to run a big race over today's two-and-a-quarter-mile trip, though a poor draw could be a considerable hindrance for Pat Smullen.

Beyond and Tuscan Gold are two others that appeal, with the former just preferred from an inside berth in stall three. Tuscan Gold represents the handicap specialist Mark Prescott and it's hard not to see this one being bang there at the finish, having finished a fair third on what was effectively its first start of the campaign last month.

Nonetheless, Beyond, which David Pipe has booked the excellent William Buick to ride, remains unexposed. A dual hurdle winner for Evan Williams, the Galileo gelding scored convincingly on its debut for Pipe over a mile and six at Sandown in July.

That was Beyond's third win in four Flat starts, yet he has gone up just six pounds now. Granted, it may not have been a great race that he won, but he clearly relished the step up in trip and there must be a chance that he can continue to progress.

At a best-priced 12/1 and with just 8st 6lbs to carry, Beyond has plenty going for him.

In the Group One Dewhurst Stakes, Power looks to have been underestimated by the layers. The Ballydoyle representative is a general 3/1 shot, despite the fact that none of his eight opponents can boast anything like his standard of form.

The sole stain on Ryan Moore's mount's record came when he was collared by La Collina in the Phoenix Stakes, but he made up for that in fine style when running out an authoritative winner of the National Stakes on his first start over seven furlongs. With David Livingston, third then, going on to win the Beresford Stakes, that form reads well, and it is significant that Power is O'Brien's only runner in this.

Earlier, Strong Suit can build on his comfortable July win at Goodwood in the opening Challenge Stakes. Across The Rhine and Lechevalier Choise are the Irish hopes in this seven-furlong Group Two, though Chachamaidee may be the danger. That one has progressed well for Henry Cecil, and a second behind Sahpresa in the Sun Chariot a fortnight ago was a career-best turn.

Still, Strong Suit, which finished second to Dream Ahead in last year's Dewhurst, should have the Cecil mare's measure on the fast ground that always brings out the best in him.

Over jumps at Chepstow, the most intriguing race on the card is the clash of Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card in the four-runner novice chase. Given the devastating performances that Silviniaco Conti produced to beat the likes of Captain Chris at this time of the year in 2010, he is just preferred under Ruby Walsh now.

Best Bet: Power

Irish Independent

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