Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Brien relies on 'hardy' pair for Newmarket raid

Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Minding's departure will leave a major hole but two of Aidan O'Brien's fillies which happily are still in training, Roly Poly and Clemmie, tackle Group action at Newmarket today.

O'Brien relies on Roly Poly in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes, having landed the same contest for the first time with Alice Springs last year.

Since finishing sixth in the French 1,000 Guineas, the daughter of War Front has taken the silver medal behind her stablemate Winter in both the Irish equivalent and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Meanwhile, Clemmie, which is a sister to Churchill, tackles the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, a race Roly Poly won 12 months ago. Ken Condon's Mamba Noire is a second Irish representative.

The champion trainer said: "We are happy with Clemmie. She is a hardy, genuine sort and has progressed with racing; we were delighted with her the last day at the Curragh. While she turns out fairly quickly, she certainly seems to like her racing.

"Roly Poly is a hardy lady and progressing too. She has run in all the big ones, since her days as a two-year-old, and you'd have to be delighted with her second to Winter last time."

The track's July meeting commenced yesterday, when Hawkbill led home a one-two for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby as Frontiersman appeared less than resolute in the Princess Of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes.

The winner, which has struggled to recapture the form he showed when winning last season's Eclipse, was overlooked by William Buick but ran on strongly to relegate the jockey to second place.

James Doyle, earlier successful aboard Cardsharp but also banned for 15 days for his ride in this season's Eclipse, was the man in the saddle and the pair were allowed an easy lead for much of the 12-furlong contest.

Algometer briefly threatened to take a hand but the only real danger appeared to come from stablemate Frontiersman (5/4 favourite).

However when Buick asked the four-year-old for his effort, he proved wayward in his challenge and drifting to the left despite being fitted with first time cheekpieces. Doyle allowed his mount to edge towards Frontiersman and once Hawkbill had eyeballed his rival, the result was never in doubt. The winner was returned at 7/2.

Appleby said of the winner: "People thought we were putting him in there as a pacesetter. We knew he would set a decent gallop but he was in there in his own right. He's dangerous when he gets an uncontested lead."

O'Brien came up short in the Group Two Arqana July Stakes, US Navy Flag and Ryan Moore finding the game Cardsharp, ridden for Mark Johnston by James Doyle, too strong.

Doyle said: "He showed his well-being before the race when he was a bit of a handful.

"I rode him in the Norfolk at Ascot and he ran a hell of a race. The American horse there on the lead kept edging left and bumped him a bit.

"It took a while to get him organised and he finished really well. I just thought back up to six would be ideal and he's shown that."

Irish Independent

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