Thursday 22 August 2019

Stage is set for The King to finally take his crown back

Betting Ring

Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile
Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile
Wayne Bailey

Wayne Bailey

The Rockshore Apple Cider Race at Galway (8.25) is almost always a good one for punters, and you have to go back as far as 1997 to find a winner priced in double figures (Lee Bowles' Willyelkra at 10/1).

The bookmakers have taken a hammering lately with six of the last eight favourites winning, and of the two that were not the market leaders, the highest was priced 9/4.

I'm very confident that trend will continue this evening with The King, which I assumed would be odds-on, so the 6/5 available yesterday is great value in my book.

Trained by Jessica Harrington, the son of Mastercraftsman has only won once in 13 races (a maiden in 2017) but in fairness, Harrington has been aiming high and four of his last eight races were Group contests, with the rest Listed.

On his most recent outing last week, he was well clear of the rest when finishing second to Joseph O'Brien's Downdraft in a Listed contest at Down Royal, and if official ratings are anything to go by, at 107 he's got plenty in hand here with Morga next on 96, with his main threat (according to the market) Newlands, rated 94.

While The King has been frustrating to follow having gone so long without success, he went close at a higher level than this, and he looks like the banker of the day.

Waitingfortheday with Donnacha O’Brien on board battles with Emphatic and Rory Cleary up on the way to winning at Galway yesterday. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Waitingfortheday with Donnacha O’Brien on board battles with Emphatic and Rory Cleary up on the way to winning at Galway yesterday. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The feature race is the Guinness Handicap (6.50) for which Mr Adjudicator looks set to go off as favourite having finished fourth of 20 in a handicap here on Monday.

He didn't get the best of runs and would have finished closer had he not been boxed in, so it will be very interesting to see him back again today - although this race is also very competitive, and the 4/1 available early doors might be on the short side.

Instead, Mick Halford's Miss Snossyboots catches the eye around 16/1 each-way. A daughter of Rip Van Winkle, she won three handicaps in-a-row from March to May which saw her rating rise 20lbs from 67 to 87. But her upswing in fortune appears to have levelled off, and she was disappointing in her latest two races.

Despite those runs, she hasn't become a bad horse overnight and a drop in the ratings to 79 can help her get back on track today.

Hazel Bay is tipped at 13/8 or thereabouts in the Guinness Irish European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden (7.25). Dermot Weld's filly is yet to win in five attempts, but she's been knocking on the door and it's just a matter of time before she gets off the mark.

Weld has a very good record in this race and won it once again last year with Lure Of The Sea, and his four-year-old should have the measure of Invitation, the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly which failed to impress when fourth in a maiden at Gowran last time out.

At Goodwood, Michael Stoute's Mirage Dancer looks nailed on in the Group Three L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Glorious Stakes (4.40), although he'll be priced accordingly around 4/5.

He won this race last year, which was his third win from three races at the course, and he certainly wasn't disgraced when second to Mark Johnston's Communique in the Group Two Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket last time. On that piece of form, he should have a bit in hand.

Another one at Goodwood I'm very keen on is Michael Stoute's Jubilo, which is 11/8 at the time of writing for the Group Three Fillies And Mares Theo Fennell Oak Tree Stakes (1.50).

Third behind Watch Me and Hermosa in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, she was highly impressive winning her previous two career races, and she will have learned plenty from that Ascot experience. She's a well-bred sort and is almost certain to win more races soon.


1.50 Good: Jubiloso

4.40 Good: Mirage Dancer

5.10 Gal: Whatsinthecorner (e/w)

6.50 Gal: Miss Snossyboots (e/w)

7.25 Gal: Hazel Bay

8.25 Gal: The King

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