Sport Horse Racing

Monday 18 December 2017

Big Break can see off decorated rivals

Estimate ridden by Ryan Moore (left) wins the Ascot Gold Cup ahead of Simenon
Estimate ridden by Ryan Moore (left) wins the Ascot Gold Cup ahead of Simenon
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A YAWNING 35 years after Sutton Place took the Coronation Stakes under Walter Swinburn, Dermot Weld can again land Royal Ascot's prestigious fillies' Group One with Big Break.

This is a cracking edition of the one-mile showpiece, with the winners of the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas, Sky Lantern and Just The Judge, pitted against each other once more.

At Newmarket, the race fell kindly for the race-fit Sky Lantern, as she swooped late to deny Just The Judge, which was in front a long way out on what was her seasonal reappearance.

That isn't necessarily to say that Sky Lantern won't confirm her superiority as Richard Hannon skipped the Curragh contest to come straight here, but it certainly makes for an intriguing rematch.

The Jim Bolger-trained Rehn's Nest, a staying-on second to Just The Judge in the Irish Classic, also lines out, as does the fifth, Mick Halford's Mizzava.

Snow Queen, fifth at Newmarket, is the Ballydoyle representative, while the exciting and unexposed Viztoria bids to add to Sole Power's brilliant King's Stand coup for Eddie Lynam, whose last three runners have all won.

However, both Snow Queen and Viztoria could do with a drop of rain, and it's fair to say that Big Break would enjoy more of a cut, too.

Nonetheless, Weld's Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old, so impressive on her second and third starts at Leopardstown as a juvenile, defied fears about the quick underfoot conditions to run a stormer in fourth behind Just The Judge on her reappearance at headquarters.

Ridden handily by Pat Smullen, she travelled really sweetly for a long way, before keeping on all the way home to go down by just two lengths to three race-fit rivals.

In the circumstances, it could hardly have been a more satisfactory effort and Just Pretending, which nabbed her for third on the line, did the form no harm by coming from a long way back to be second in yesterday's Ribblesdale.

All told then, it's worth speculating that Big Break can improve past her more decorated peers now.

Aidan O'Brien's highest-profile runner of the day is undoubtedly the Epsom Derby fourth Battle Of Marengo in the King Edward VII Stakes.

For all that the son of Galileo emerged from Epsom with immense credit having made much of the running, he is worth opposing here, as he has to concede weight on ground that is likely to prove quicker than ideal.

In general, the cross-channel three-year-old colts have been inferior this term, but Roger Varian's Mutashaded, unbeaten in two after sprinting clear late on over 10 furlongs at Sandown, appeals as one to keep on side now that he steps up to a mile and a half.

Wonderfully and Leading Light are two that could get on the score sheet for O'Brien, with Ryan Moore doing the steering on Wonderfully in the Albany Stakes.

A full-sister to Mars, Moore's mount showed a fiercely willing attitude to scrape home on her Fairyhouse debut.

Leading Light also has a likeable way of going about his business, knuckling down gamely to see off all-comers over 10 furlongs in the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh in May.

That was his third win on the spin, and the suspicion is that he could prove very hard to beat under Joseph O'Brien now that he steps up to two miles in the Queen's Vase.

The other raider of note is Campanology in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. An eye-catching fourth at the Curragh last time, the smart four-year-old has the scope to supply his double-jobbing rider Johnny Murtagh with a cherished first training success at the royal meeting.

Selections

2.30 Wonderfully

3.05 Mutashaded

3.45 Big Break

4.25 Chapter Seven

5.00 Leading Light

5.35 Campanology

Irish Independent

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