Sport Horse Racing

Friday 19 January 2018

Foundation a class above O'Brien colts

Gosden's Derby favourite sets a tall standard in Doncaster event

Frankie Dettori riding Foundation (L) win The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last month
Frankie Dettori riding Foundation (L) win The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last month

Richard Foristall

Aidan O'Brien's unadulterated dominance of the season's elite two-year-olds' races might come to a halt today.

The Ballydoyle wizard saddles three in his quest to secure an eighth triumph in the Racing Post Trophy. Should Deauville, Johannes Vermeer or Port Douglas oblige, O'Brien would be left just two shy of the late, great Henry Cecil's remarkable record of 10 wins in the Group One.

Of the trio, Deauville, the choice of Joseph O'Brien due to Ryan Moore's Cox Plate foray, is maybe most likely to enhance its Derby credentials.

At Newmarket last time, he finished with a flourish when second to the current Derby favourite, Foundation. The Galileo colt is clearly going to be a decent middle distance prospect. However, notwithstanding that O'Brien has a knack of eking improvement out of juveniles, Deauville isn't fancied to make up the three-parts of a length that he needs to find with Foundation.

First-time cheek-pieces and this more even track might help, but Foundation simply looked superior at Newmarket. John Gosden's son of Zoffany won with more to spare than the margin suggests. He is an exciting prospect in the best of care, so, at a top price of evens, he is hard to oppose in his quest to give Gosden a first win in the race under Frankie Dettori.

If there is an improver that might represent some each-way value, it is Richard Hannon's Tony Curtis. A son of Rock Of Gibraltar, this is a big, handsome sort that found seven furlongs too sharp when upped in class on his second start at Newmarket, having won tidily on his Epsom bow.

At Newmarket, Sean Levey's mount kept on to be a close third to Birchwood, before progressing to win a Listed race on stepping up to this mile trip at Salisbury.

While this is a huge step up for Tony Curtis, he is a likeable type that could split the two market leaders at odds of up to 12/1.

Also at Doncaster, David O'Meara's Salateen is worth giving another chance to in the seven-furlong finale. Andrea Atzeni's mount bombed in the Foret at Longchamp, but drops massively in class again here.

He is a course and distance winner that likes to dictate at this trip, and has the scope to get his seven rivals out of their comfort zone on his debut for a highly efficient stable.

At Newbury, Koora appeals a decent option for Luca Cumani and Jamie Spencer. The three-year-old Pivotal filly is on duty in a competitive Group Three, with Gosden's disappointing Romsdal the one to beat if he were to return to his best.

You couldn't back him to do that, though, and Koora is a progressive sort. Successful on her second start at Doncaster on August 1, she was then second in Listed company at York. That she was sent off favourite for a Doncaster Group Three next time confirms her rapid improvement, but the extended trip proved slightly beyond her that day.

Here, she drops back in distance to a mile-and-a-half and drops in class as well.

If you stopped her last race at the 12-furlong pole, nothing travelled better, so she is fancied to make amends now.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport