Sunday 8 December 2019

Born To Sea to wear hood in quest for Guineas glory

Thomas Kelly

BORN To Sea will have a new jockey in the plate and sport a first-time hood in Saturday's Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas at The Curragh.

John Oxx's half-brother to the brilliant Sea The Stars will have the assistance of Dermot Weld's stable jockey Pat Smullen, as regular partner Johnny Murtagh will ride Takar, which runs in the colours of his retainer-owner, the Aga Khan.

Born To Sea ruined his chance in the Newmarket Guineas by pulling much too hard in the early stages and Oxx hopes the hood will help to keep him calm.

"Born To Sea has been working in a hood and it seems to keep him calm so we're going to run him in it. It's a step up from ear plugs and just covers the whole ear," explained Oxx.

"He'd blown his chance after two furlongs at Newmarket so we want to see him relax. I haven't raced a horse in a hood for many years, in fact the last time might be when my father still trained.

"Willie Mullins uses ear plugs a lot and Henry Cecil has used a hood recently. It's not a sound thing, it's more to stop the wind whistling.

"When horses gallop you notice they put their ears flat against their head to try to avoid it. With Takar we'll get an idea of how good he is -- it's the same for both as Newmarket was a non-event."

As for Sunday's fillies' Classic, Kevin Prendergast is confident the drying ground will suit La Collina. A Group One winner as a two-year-old, she ran a fine race to finish fifth behind Homecoming Queen in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas.

Prendergast feels the ground was against her that day and believes La Collina is a much better horse on a sounder surface. "The ground didn't suit her but we were happy she finished pretty good, she kept going to the line," said the Curragh handler.

"She's very solid and took the race at Newmarket very well. The drying ground -- it should be good by Sunday -- should suit her well."

Following recent woes, Minidress can give Godolphin a much-needed Epsom boost by landing today's Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood.

Plenty of their runners look to have needed their initial outings, although those hailing from Mahmood al Zarooni's yard seem to have been faring a little better than their Saeed bin Suroor-trained counterparts.

Minidress is handled by Al Zarooni, so that is an immediate plus for this Listed event.

A winner on her debut at Newmarket last August, Minidress then went on to finish a two-length fourth in the Oh So Sharp Stakes when she appeared desperately in need of a step up in trip.


Pitched into the seven-furlong Nell Gwyn on her return, Minidress was held up early on before failing to get a clear run when trying to make her move inside the distance.

In all probability, she would still have been beaten even if she had found the space she needed as Minidress looks the type to excel over middle distances.

By Street Cry out of Short Skirt, which won the Musidora in 2006 before going on to be third in the Oaks, Minidress should relish the switch to 10 furlongs.

While she might not prove good enough to line up at Epsom itself, she brings some nice form to the table for this Listed heat.

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