Magnate attractive option for Elliott
GORDON ELLIOTT'S domination at Perth has continued unabated this summer and the Meath handler saddles nine more runners at the Scottish venue tomorrow afternoon.
Of the nine, two that appeal as value options are Steel Magnate in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase and Fool's Wildcat in the subsequent novice chase over the same trip. Both horses have live prospects if they produce their best.
In the handicap chase, Steel Magnate faces an in-form Peachey Moment, which has twice scored at Perth in accruing a recent hat-trick. That one, though, is now 25lbs higher than when he first hit form, so he will have plenty to do off top weight.
Steel Magnate still only has a 2008 point-to-point success to his name, but he has generally performed respectably over fences for Elliott. Since returning from a winter break, he has twice finished third, most recently going down by four lengths to Scotch Warrior over course and distance at the end of June.
While that one reopposes now, Steel Magnate is six pounds better off, and the suspicion is that the Presenting gelding could still have room to improve.
Fool's Wildcat is also unexposed over the bigger obstacles.
One of three Elliott runners in the novice chase, Jason Maguire's mount could face its most serious threat from fellow raider Now This Is It. Stuart Crawford's representative scored on its chasing debut at Cartmel in May, and found only one too good over two miles at Perth last time.
Returning to a more suitable two and a half miles here, Now This Is It could be hard to beat, but Fool's Wildcat has the scope to give him a run for his money if he jumps round. Successful in a claiming hurdle at Perth in May, things haven't gone his way over fences so far, and conditions tomorrow should suit.
Outsider to note
Winter Alchemy remains winless from 10 career outings to date, but he should run well at a generous price in the three-mile handicap hurdle at Perth tomorrow.
Although Gordon Richards' charge has two recent seconds to his name, the likes of Manger Hanagement, Cape Secret, Gulf President and Oh So Beautiful bring a better standard of form to the table. Nonetheless, Winter Alchemy shouldn't be discounted, as those two seconds were solid efforts.
He is still improving, and three miles on some decent ground tomorrow should be right up his street. The last time he encountered similar conditions was on his penultimate outing at Wetherby when he recorded a career-best effort.
Perth 3.10 -- Winter Alchemy
Perth 3.40 -- Steel Magnate
Perth 4.10 -- Fool's Wildcat
Fairyhouse 4.05 -- Sharestan
Three things we
learned this week
1 Barry Connell may have hung up his boots, but the Corinthian spirit lives on. Less than a year after the 51-year-old hedge-fund manager quit the saddle, the void has been filled by a sprightly Co Waterford-based doctor Michael Finnegan (54), who overcame a few hairy moments on Carnival Mood at Roscommon on Tuesday to record his first winner. In the previous bumper, Jennifer Pugh steered Kilbarry Classic, which is owned by Waterford's well-known sports injury surgeon Tadhg O'Sullivan, to victory. Although of a less mature vintage than Finnegan, Pugh is also a GP.
2 Aidan O'Brien could be about to conquer one of the few remaining outposts left on the horizon. The Ballydoyle handler's international record speaks for itself, but rarely has he been so piqued as he was by the Melbourne stewards following an unusual inquiry after the 2008 Cup. He hasn't been back since, but there is talk that So You Think could yet bid for a third successive Cox Plate. Victory would surely be sweet.
3 The all-weather winter programme has been finalised. Dundalk is all set to fulfil its brief, though the revelation of industry figures this week that show a 14pc fall in the number of horses in training to coincide with the publication of the fixtures wasn't what anyone wanted to read.
175,000 What John Murphy's dual Flat winner Top Spin sold for in Guineas at Newmarket Sales this week. JP McManus is the new owner of the 98-rated colt.
30 The percentage rise in bloodstock sales revealed in the six-month industry figures that were published this week.
1 James Hartnett's tally in England following the Meath handler's success with Murura at Newmarket on Thursday.
Quote of the week
"If there is a theme running through the figures, it is that international interest in Irish racing and breeding is strong, but the domestic sector is under enormous pressure. The industry has suffered a series of cutbacks and urgently requires a long-term funding solution that is not dependent on government grants." --
Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh summarises the mixed industry figures that were published on Thursday.
Monday: Killarney*, Ayr, Ffos Las, Windsor*, Wolverhampton* (AW).
Tuesday: Dundalk (AW), Killarney*, Beverley, Brighton, Southwell* (AW), Yarmouth*.
Wednesday: Downpatrick, Killarney*, Catterick, Lingfield, Sandown*, Uttoxeter, Worcester*.
Thursday: Killarney, Leopardstown*, Bath*, Cartmel, Doncaster*, Epsom*, Hamilton, Leicester.
Friday: Kilbeggan*, Hamilton*, Haydock, Newbury, Newmarket*, Nottingham, Pontefract*.
Saturday: Curragh, Haydock*, Lingfield*, Market Rasen, Newbury, Newmarket, Ripon.
Sunday: Curragh, Tipperary, Newton Abbot, Redcar, Stratford.