Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

O'Brien finds soft target for Treasure

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Aidan O'Brien sends Treasure Beach in search of further international spoils in tomorrow's Canadian International at Woodbine.

Since landing the Irish Derby in June, Colm O'Donoghue's mount has run three times, twice coming up short at Longchamp in the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix de l'Arc. In between, he just scraped home in the Secretariat Stakes in Arlington.

O'Brien may well have found another soft target for Treasure Beach tomorrow. Among his rivals are former Ballydoyle representatives Joshua Tree, Mikael Glinka and Quest For Peace, as well as the ex-Kevin Prendergast-trained Mores Wells.

None of that quartet are likely to trouble Treasure Beach, though the still unexposed Quest For Peace is worthy of some respect. Twice a winner for O'Brien, the Galileo colt went on to beat Arctic Cosmos -- which re-opposes here -- by two lengths at Ascot on his debut for Luca Cumani.

Quest For Peace should progress from that, but whether he has the quality to contest a race like this just yet is another thing altogether. In short, if you were to re-run the Irish Derby now, you'd struggle to make much of a case for Kieren Fallon's partner.

With that in mind, 9/2 is a fair offering about Treasure Beach if he has recovered from his pace-making duties in the Arc. His chance was sacrificed then in an attempt to aid So You Think, so he can get back on track now under a more sensible ride.

Closer to home, Rode Two Destiny gets the nod to build on its debut third in the juvenile maiden at Bath. On her first start at the track at the beginning of September, Peter Makin's filly was heavily backed into favouritism.

However, a slow break proved costly on that occasion, though she justified the support by running on well to be third at the line. If she jumps quicker this time, she ought to be hard to beat.

Outsider to note


In the EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine tomorrow, Charles O'Brien's Laughing is an intriguing contender at odds of 12/1.

Successful in her two latest starts, the Dansili filly accounted for numerous horses rated in the high 90s or low 100s when narrowly prevailing in a Leopardstown Listed race in June. Given that she was having just her fourth start since making her career debut in April, that was a fair performance, and she could continue to improve now.

If she does, she might well go close in a Group One that would probably amount to no more than a decent Group Two in these parts.

Sunday Yankee

Bath 2.30 -- Rode Two Destiny

Cork 4.30 -- First Lieutenant

Woodbine 9.35 -- Laughing

Woodbine 10.42 -- Treasure Beach

Numbers game

136,464 The Tote turnover at The Curragh on Sunday -- up a mammoth 41pc on the corresponding fixture last year -- when there was no charge at the gate. Because the turnstiles were not in operation, there was no attendance figure recorded.

27 Noel Meade's strike-rate for the season. He currently sits top of the trainers' table with 23 winners, and is the only one in the top seven with a ratio above 20.

3 The number of Irish-trained runners in action at Woodbine tomorrow evening.

Quote of the week

"My opinion is, in 100 races, you might have one horse that wouldn't win because of the whip rules. (Jockeys' resistance) is a load of b*****s. They're sitting there like glorified gods -- they need to get on with it. The BHA have been incredibly fair" -- Trainer Ferdy Murphy was one of few who lent their support to the regulatory arm in England this week.

Three things we

learned this week

1 Sad to say it, but this week provided further evidence that racing has few peers when it comes to self-inflicted damage. The decision to ban nine jockeys, one of which was Tony McCoy, for 10 days at Wetherby on Wednesday was wrong. The jockeys in question were deemed to have failed to pull up when the 'stop race' flag was waved, but it was the course attendants who were to blame on this occasion. First off, the flag was unnecessarily waved as a result of a breakdown in communications, and then the procedure was not adequately implemented. As for the whole furore over the whip, that travesty is covered elsewhere in these pages in more detail.

2 Noel Meade has got his groove back. Once renowned for being unstoppable in the run-up to the new year, the former champion trainer has been much less prolific in recent times. The economic contraction took its toll, and last season's tally of 53 was his worst in 15 years. With six winners since this time last week, including Muirhead's Munster National triumph, Meade is the man to follow once again.

3 Irish runners' good fortune at Cheltenham looks set to continue. A record haul of 13 winners at the Festival in March took some doing and Henry De Bromhead and Gordon Elliott, who were responsible for two apiece back then, were again on the score sheet at the first meeting of the season at Prestbury Park yesterday, as was James Nash.

Racing Diary

Monday: Plumpton, Pontefract, Windsor

Tuesday: Exeter, Lingfield (AW), Yarmouth

Wednesday: Navan, Fontwell, Kempton* (AW), Newmarket, Worcester

Thursday: Thurles, Brighton, Carlisle, Ludlow, Wolverhampton* (AW)

Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Doncaster, Fakenham, Newbury, Wolverhampton* (AW)

Saturday: Galway, Aintree, Chepstow, Doncaster, Newbury, Stratford, Wolverhampton* (AW)

Sunday: Galway, Aintree, Wincanton

Irish Independent

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