Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Pour Moi's exit may force Arc reshuffle

Given that we only enjoyed one fleeting, albeit thrilling, glance at Pour Moi in these parts, the slightly muted response to his premature retirement on Saturday is understandable.

He was a visually breathtaking winner of what appeared to be an iffy Epsom Derby at the time, and time has done little to alter that view. His fellow Coolmore-owned runner-up Treasure Beach has gone on to do his bit by landing a pair of Group Ones, but the middle-distance three-year-olds don't readily capture the imagination.

The towering spectre of Frankel might unfairly distort that perception. Or maybe it is that Frankel, imperious over a mile thus far, is simply what we expect of a true champion, which is how Andre Fabre described his first Derby winner on Saturday.

That's not to demean Fabre's assessment of a horse that was always going to hold a special place in his affections, but the fact of the matter is that we will never really know if Pour Moi did indeed have the qualities of a genuine champion. At the end of the day, in just five starts, he was beaten twice, including in a Group Three this year.

The blistering burst that took him from last to first at Epsom may have been a sign of his excellence, or it may simply have been that the daring Mickael Barzalona outfoxed inferior rivals on a horse with real gears. Either way, Pour Moi can't be considered a champion in the Sea The Stars or Frankel mould.

What will be most interesting now is how Coolmore react ahead of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Pour Moi had been outright favourite to give Fabre a remarkable eighth triumph at Longchamp, and the puzzle looks extremely confused in his absence.

Sarafina, the new market leader, came up short when third to Workforce 12 months ago. She won a substandard Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June, and doesn't exactly strike as a formidable sort. Workforce and Nathaniel are next best in the betting. At this stage, the latter, one of the maligned three-year-old middle distance collective, is the more appealing on the basis that he remains unexposed. Again, though, he is the type of horse that Coolmore must be anxious to tackle.

With Fame And Glory already found out twice in Paris and St Nicholas Abbey just plain found out in the King George, the Ballydoyle contingent might just consider changing tack with So You Think. Up to now, the plan with the Australian import seems to have been to return to his homeland for a third tilt at the Cox Plate in October after next week's Irish Champion Stakes.

However, Cape Blanco is also Cox Plate-bound and surely So You Think would gain more by enhancing his profile in these parts with glory in the Arc. After all, that is why he was shipped here in the first place.

Ride of the weekend --

Richard Hughes

No one manages Goodwood's quirks better than Hughes and the Kildare native again showcased his immense skill by delivering Dubawi Gold late on in the Celebration Mile on Saturday.

While the Dubawi colt looked to score readily at the death, he had showed himself to be notoriously difficult to get it right by flashing home late to be second in both the Irish and English Guineas earlier in the year. Then, ridden closer to the pace last time at Newbury, he ruined his chance by pulling too hard. On this occasion, Hughes got everything just right.

Super Cooper

loses his claim

Having amassed a record 37 winners en route to landing the conditional riders' title last term, Bryan Cooper, a son of Tralee handler Tom, had already announced himself as a serious talent. Based with Dessie Hughes, who is effectively using the stylish 19-year-old as his first jockey, Cooper took the next step on the road to establishing himself by riding out his claim on Pistol Jack at Galway yesterday.

The win was his 18th of the current season, and his 60th career success in all.

O'Gara can head

south on a high

Ahead of the Irish rugby team's departure for New Zealand, Ronan O'Gara gained a boost of sorts when his Your Busy scored under Davy Russell at Galway yesterday.

No less frustrating than the national rugby team has been of late, the James Nash-trained gelding was ending a run of 11 consecutive defeats. Any chance it might be an omen?


15 The number of times that British raiders have now won the Flying Five sprint at The Curragh in the past 17 years following Amour Propre's rout yesterday.


"Doesn't seem to be anything broken, very sore, think he's turning soft #bestwecouldhopefor"

-- After Jason Maguire was airlifted to hospital following a nasty fall at Cartmel on Saturday, trainer Don McCain has a gentle swipe at his stable jockey.

Irish Independent

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