Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 22 February 2018

Extremity poised to continue Palmer's steady rise

Hard to make a case for Pat Smullen in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Hard to make a case for Pat Smullen in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

An afternoon of cross-channel Flat racing that is spearheaded by the 35-runner Cambridgeshire on a Newmarket card that hosts five of a total of 12 two-year-old races is surely a great day to be a bookmaker.

Anthem Alexander is the only Irish raider on duty on the Rowley Mile. Eddie Lynam's decision to have another stab at Tiggy Wiggy in the Cheveley Park Stakes has to be respected, but it's hard to make a case for Pat Smullen's mount turning the tables on her York conqueror, so it is a race best watched.

In the Betfred Cambridgeshire, John Gosden's Cornrow heads the market at 6/1.

The son of New Approach has the right profile for the race, as he is progressive and possibly still unexposed, having won three of his five starts. On his second outing of the year at Ascot three weeks ago, Cornrow finished a one-paced third to Safety Check on dropping back to seven furlongs.

Given that his three wins were over a mile, that was a respectable effort, but it is slightly worrying that he didn't see the race out from a strong position a furlong down.

Cornrow was race-fit and the form since hasn't amounted to much, so he is opposable here.

Extremity might be the one to keep on side at odds of as big as 14/1. The re-opposing Bronze Angel won this as a three-year-old in 2012, and Extremity is one of just three horses seeking to claim a fourth Cambridgeshire victory for the Classic generation since 2006.

Successful once in three starts as a juvenile, the Exceed And Excel colt, which is trained by rising Newmarket star Hugo Palmer, has been kept busy this year, recording three wins and three placed finishes in six starts since needing the run on his Newbury debut back in April.

Extremity has hardly taken a backward step. On his last three starts over a mile, he knuckled down for a brave triumph at Glorious Goodwood off a mark of 84, he was just touched off in a valuable event at York off 91, and he readily made the most of a drop in grade to score at Thirsk off 94.

The form of that race has worked out well, with the fourth and fifth, Ticking Kate and Above The Rest, winning next time out, while third-placed Master Of The World was just denied at Newmarket on its next start.

It was a performance that confirmed Extremity isn't done improving yet, and the handicapper has duly raised him to a mark of 99, yet he gets in here under a four-pound penalty, so he is a pound well in on that basis.

That could prove significant, though the one unknown here is the step up to a mile-and-a-furlong for a first time.


On pedigree, there is plenty to suggest that Extremity will stay at least that far, and his strong-finishing style of running would reinforce as much.

With just 8st 7lb to carry and the excellent Andrea Atzeni up top, then, he is fancied to have a big say at generous odds in a wide-open affair.

Pat Shanahan journeys to Chester with five runners. The Cheshire track is one at which Shanahan has enjoyed some luck before, and two of his appeal as having live chances.

Possibly the pick of the quintet is Bethany Bay in the six-furlong handicap.

Ronan Whelan's mount defied a poor draw at this notoriously draw sensitive venue to break her maiden over this trip in May 2013, and she then split Eastern Rules and Target Acquired off a rating of 80 at the Curragh.

On relocating to Dubai in the spring, she failed to find her groove, but there was plenty to like about the way that she showed up on her first start for Shanahan since her return.

Over a mile in soft ground at headquarters last month, Bethany Bay travelled sweetly before keeping on for fifth.

It was a display that suggested Shanahan might yet get more out of her, so she looks nicely treated now off 77 back over a more suitable trip, from a decent draw in stall three.

Shanahan's Drummore Road is also worth a look in the 13-furlong finale. Franny Norton, who is brilliant around Chester, takes over from Whelan on the lightly weighted three-year-old, which chased home Panama Hat when last seen at Roscommon in July.

That constituted a fine turn on Drummore Road's first attempt at a mile-and-a-half, so he has plenty going for him here on just his sixth career start.

Best bet: Bethany Bay


Watching Brief

Eddie LYNAM’S Slade Power was among the equine globe-trotters to enter quarantine on Thursday ahead of his Australian swansong.

Hours later, word filtered through from Down Under that Lankan Rupee had been beaten for a second time in succession at Moonee Valley.

When Lynam mooted the possibility of a bold tilt at the VRC Sprint Classic in Flemington on November 8, Lankan Rupee was the horse that he name-checked as a target. He was supposed to be the next Black Caviar, but he is proving far more vulnerable.

Taking on the Auzzie sprinters at home is always a daunting prospect. Nonetheless, Tom Hogan enjoyed a famous triumph there in the spring with Gordon Lord Byron and Lynam will doubtless be encouraged by Lankan Rupee’s latest reversal.

Slade Power is a serious six-furlong sprinter. The Diamond Jubilee and July Cup hero missed the Sprint Cup after contracting ringworm, but he wouldn’t be allowed to enter quarantine if that hadn’t fully cleared.

Irish Independent

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