Thursday 26 April 2018

Fireglow can burn off her Prestige rivals

Johnston filly should enhance trainer's fine course record

Fireglow, with William Buick on board, can follow up her success at Sandown with victory at Goodwood today
Fireglow, with William Buick on board, can follow up her success at Sandown with victory at Goodwood today
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Mark Johnston is one northern trainer who boasts an impressive record at Goodwood, and the Middleham maestro can strike again at the Sussex course today in the opening Prestige Stakes.

Johnston has been leading trainer at the showpiece 'Glorious' meeting eight times, so he knows what it takes to win over the unique terrain and his decision to send Fireglow on the long journey down south has to be respected.

The daughter of Teofilo has already shown herself to be a tough cookie - going straight from a Catterick maiden to the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, running a huge race to get within five lengths of Illuminate.

The winner went on to win what was the Cherry Hinton, beating Lowther winner Besharah, so the form is watertight. Fireglow herself advertised that fact when winning next time at Sandown and there was much to like about the way she went down fighting to Blue Bayou in the Sweet Solera Stakes, having served it up to the field for much of the journey.

Brian Meehan has the highest regard for Blue Bayou, who had been third at Newmarket to Illuminate, and it is going to take a fair sort to stop Fireglow enhancing the formlines.

Progressive colt Kodi Bear is taken to take another step towards Group One grade by landing the Celebration Mile.

Clive Cox's patience with the three-year-old looks set to be rewarded handsomely as, after an enforced lay-off following his excellent two-year-old career, he appears to be thriving in his second season.

A comeback win at Windsor in June was followed by a fourth placing behind the classy Territories in the Prix Jean Prat but he could have finished much closer to the winner if he had got a clear run.

The son of Kodiac then bounced back in style by landing Salisbury's Sovereign Stakes in impressive fashion earlier this month.

Always in cruise control under Gerald Mosse at the head of affairs, he defied an unusual route down the outside of runners before rejoining the main group to absolutely bolt up in what seemed on paper to be a renewal well up to scratch.

It is more than ten months now since his second to Belardo in the Dewhurst and although many pundits felt it was not a classic renewal of the Group One feature, there seems little doubt that Kodi Bear has the talent to be a genuine top-level threat as the season heads towards the autumn.

While the opposition must be respected, it is hard to put any of them as potential top-grade performers as they are all solid but not high-class animals.

Breton Rock will appreciate the soft ground but David Simcock's five-year-old has never won over a mile and a bigger threat may come from Gabrial which has run well at this course before and ran a career best on his penultimate outing when third to Solow in the Sussex Stakes.

However, Kodi Bear remains the one horse with scope to go much farther up the ladder and the advice to punters doing any type of multiple bet today is to make Mosse's mount your banker.

Best bet: Fireglow

Focus on Wexford

It should be a good afternoon for Aidan O’Brien back in his native Wexford today as the master of Ballydoyle is fancied to land a hat-trick.

First up for the champion trainer is Ask Me Nicely in the opening fillies maiden. The daughter of Fastnet Rock ran some good races in defeat last year  and while she disappointed on her  seasonal return at Killarney, the fitting of first-time blinkers can make a difference.

O’Brien’s second runner on the card is Cocoon in the 11-furlong maiden, and though Breenainthemycra, Henry’s Girl, and Monolight  are all likely to attract support, the Ballydoyle representative is worthy of a punt in an open contest considering the trainer’s son, Donnacha, takes off five pounds.

Arguably, the best chance of an O’Brien winner comes in the last with Kalopsia. Willie Mullins is usually the man to follow in these events and his impressive Sligo winner Miss Me Now is likely to go off favourite, but there was a lot to like about the way Kalopsia galloped up the hill at Galway and she’s taken to follow up.

Irish Independent

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