Tuesday 17 July 2018

Coquet can conquer Highland in Newbury trial

Wayne Bailey

A WISE man once said that there are three easy ways to lose money; racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain.

Whatever about the other two, it's certainly true about racing and this punter's bankroll took a severe hammering in the space of a few hours last weekend, when I had just one short-priced winner for the column.

A hefty enough each-way bet on Main Sequence for the St Leger was a big disappointment but, with Camelot turned over at 2/5 by Godolphin's Encke, the race was a let-down for almost all who watched it. My first reaction was to blame the jockey but having viewed the race numerous times since, I'm starting to feel that Joseph O'Brien wasn't all to blame.

As his father admitted afterwards a pacemaker might have helped, but all credit must go to the winner, which was simply the better horse on the day.

Where to next is anyone's guess. His owners may feel the need to restore his reputation following the St Leger, but other than the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or the Champion Stakes, what races are left that could do that?

We may well see him back as a four-year-old then -- after all, he's only raced six times in his career.

With that in mind, the Arc route looks doubtful now and most bookmakers have removed him from the betting.

Speaking of the Arc, today's trial race at Newbury (2.05) is a tricky little puzzle, although it's disappointing to see only five horses go to post.

To be honest, this race doesn't do exactly what it says on the tin and those that take part are rarely spotted in Paris on the first Sunday of October. In fact, not one of the five runners today are even in the betting for this year's Arc, but it's an interesting contest on its own and I've opted to side with Coquet, which is generally available at 4/1 in the early markets.

This daughter of Sir Percy got off the mark when taking a maiden at Wolverhampton last year but quickly stepped up to Listed company and won her next two races at that level at Newmarket and Goodwood.

She took her chances in the Oaks in June, but her sixth-place finish doesn't reflect her efforts and I'm certain she would have made one of the money spots had she not been hampered throughout.

There was something amiss last time at York but, if back in form, she's got every chance. Cameron Highland is the one I'm most worried about -- he'd no problem taking a Listed race at Windsor last time and appears to be improving with every race.


Despite receiving a poor draw, Alben Star ran a great race when fifth in the Stewards Cup and the gelding has been trained with Ayr Gold Cup (3.30) in mind for some time. He was a touch disappointing in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes last time, but I certainly wouldn't write him off and at these weights, odds of 16/1 are far too generous.


1.55 Catterick: George Rooke

2.05 Newbury: Coquet

2.35 Newbury: Moohaajim

2.50 Ayr: Royal Rascal

3.30 Ayr: Alben Star (e/w)

3.45 Newbury: Excelette

Irish Independent

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