Sport Horse Racing

Friday 23 March 2018

Bye Bye Birdie faces massive task in turning over Rizeena

Joseph O'Brien is clear on Bye Bye Birdie
Joseph O'Brien is clear on Bye Bye Birdie
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

BYE Bye Birdie left behind her Royal Ascot disappointment to score at the Curragh two weeks ago, but the Ballydoyle hope will need to improve on that again if she is to conquer the impressive Queen Mary heroine Rizeena at Newmarket this afternoon.

Aidan O'Brien's Oasis Dream filly tends to function best when she gets her own way in front, and benefited from first-time visor and an aggressive ride to run out a decisive winner of a six-furlong Group Three at headquarters on Irish Derby weekend.

Given her pace, there is a good chance that she will again have the gears to set the fractions under Ryan Moore over the same trip in the Group Two Betfred Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.

Still, notwithstanding that Rizeena is going beyond five furlongs for a first time, it's hard to envisage that Bye Bye Birdie's ability to dictate and proven stamina will enable her to overturn a nine-length deficit on Clive Brittain's James Doyle-ridden filly.

Of more interest from an Irish perspective is Ger Lyons' Tennessee Wildcat in the six-furlong handicap. Lyons landed a major sprint handicap on Derby weekend when Burn The Boats successfully dropped back in trip from a mile, and Tennessee Wildcat is a similar sort, having run a couple of solid races in defeat over further this term.

Granted, he took a while to find his feet before staying on for third in Listed company over seven furlongs at Fairyhouse last time, but Lyons clearly believes that a first-time handicap mark of 98 warrants exploring.

If Tennessee Wildcat has the gears to hold an early position under Gary Carroll, then, he certainly has the scope to outrun odds of up to 16/1.

Richard Hughes has struck up a great relationship with sky lantern and Richard Hannon's 1,000 Guineas heroine should have not be inconvenienced by a small field in the Falmouth Stakes.

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