Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 22 March 2018

Front-runner So Beloved can trump his rivals at Newmarket

The likes of Moonlight Magic and Red Verdon can't be ruled out either (Stock photo)
The likes of Moonlight Magic and Red Verdon can't be ruled out either (Stock photo)

I must admit that I've never been able to make much money betting on politics, and this week's Brexit result shows that just about anything can happen (the Remain option was 1/8 in the bookmakers). But I'm in a good position at the moment with a bet I have on Donald Trump to be the next US president, having backed him some months ago at 14/1.

Soon before I placed the bet, I came across one of his books in the local library typically called Think Big, and while his brash and outlandish way of life would never work for a politician in Ireland, I had a feeling that quite a lot of Americans would go for it.

Don't get me wrong, the thoughts of Trump with his finger on the red button is quite scary, although I'm not much of a fan of Hillary Clinton either and in my view the voting public don't really have a great choice.


Bookmakers have Clinton down as favourite at 1/3 and I think it's time to get out while the going is good and cash out of my bet, with Trump now trading at 7/2. The extra few bob in my account can fund a few bets on the horses this weekend, although I'll leave the Irish Derby (5.20 Curragh) to better punting brains than mine.

For me, this race is as difficult to figure out as why a man as rich as Trump has such a strange haircut - and Dermot Weld's Epsom Derby hero Harzand has been reinstated as the favourite at 10/11 following news that Aidan O'Brien has withdrawn US Army Ranger after a bad scope. With 5lbs in hand on official ratings, Harzand is certainly the best horse in the race on paper at least but the vibes from Rosewell House are mixed and Weld said he had a very hard race at Epsom.

He may well be good enough to overcome any difficulties and do a Derby double but I'm not willing to spend money at 10/11 to find out and O'Brien's Idaho, which was third at Epsom, is sure to be breathing down his neck.

The likes of Moonlight Magic and Red Verdon can't be ruled out either and I can't seem to form an opinion on where the value lies, so I'll sit this one out and enjoy the race without a bet.

One horse I'm more than happy to back is So Beloved, which is expected to go off around 7/2 in the Group Three John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes at Newmarket (3.55).

Having won a Listed race at Haydock in May, his third place out of nine in a Group Three at the same course last time out would appear a little disappointing - but I've watched that race a number of times and I'm willing to forgive as he lost his favoured front-running position around four furlongs out and then got boxed in.

He used up crucial energy changing positions a couple of times trying to get through, and the result could have been a whole lot different had he enjoyed a clearer passage. If jockey Daniel Tudhope can get him out early and keep him out of trouble, he's almost sure to go close. Breton Rock is also worth a mention around 4/1. He finished one place behind the selection at Haydock although the six-year-old has now gone nine races without a win.

Up north at Newcastle, a chance is taken on Buratino in Group Three Betfred Chipchase Stakes (2.30) at what seems to be a generous price somewhere in the region of 4/1. Rated 116, Mark Johnston's colt was second to John Gosden's Shalaa in Newmarket's Middle Park Stakes in September but later disappointed in this year's 2,000 Guineas where he found the one mile trip a stretch too far. Fourth in a Group Two at Haydock last time, the step back in class to Group Three level should see him improve on that run this afternoon.


Watchable is the biggest danger to the bet at a similar price. David O'Meara's Pivotal gelding was third to Don't Touch in a Listed race at Salisbury although he's another one which has gone many races without a win.

At Chester, an early price of 6/1 on Lagenda makes plenty of appeal in the Coca Cola Zero Sugar Handicap (2.55) from stall two. Jockey Joe Doyle's 3lb claim will come in useful for the Kevin Ryan-trained gelding, which is currently racing off a mark of 88 for a racing weight of 9st 2lbs.


It will be a little strange to see the Northumberland Plate run on Newcastle's new all-weather Tapeta surface, and I hope that Charlie Appleby's Polarisation will handle the course as he's a very smart handicapper which I suspect has more to come off a mark of 97.

Formerly trained by Mark Johnston, the four-year-old had a very brief stint with John Ferguson but it didn't really work out over hurdles and he's now found himself back on the Flat with Appleby for Godolphin.

Last time out, he was a very good second at 16/1 to Green Light in a competitive handicap at Epsom on Derby weekend and the step back down in trip will suit his style. Priced 10/1 yesterday evening, I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't take home some place money.

2.30 Newcastle: Buratino
2.45 Newmarket: Bateel
2.55 Chester: Lagenda
3.55 Newmarket: So Beloved
4.15 Newcastle: Polarisation (e/w)
4.40 Curragh: Peace Envoy

Irish Independent

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