Red-hot Mars out of action until next year
THE Aidan O'Brien-trained Mars, a general 10/1 clear favourite for the 2013 Epsom Derby, looks destined not to run again this year after being scratched at the latest forfeit stage for the one-mile Group One at Doncaster on October 27.
An easy winner on his Dundalk debut in July, the exciting Galileo colt was the most notable absentee from the remaining 35 entries for the juvenile contest.
Battle Of Marengo, twice the price of his stablemate for Epsom glory after completing a stylish hat-trick in the Beresford Stakes last month, is one of 13 Ballydoyle horses that were left in, as opportunities for Mars to be tested in a Group One were effectively narrowed down to the Criterium International at Saint Cloud on November 1, or an unlikely tilt at the Breeders' Cup in Santa Anita two days later.
Most bookmaking firms did not react to the omission, but Paddy Power did ease Mars a point in their Derby list to 11/1.
He remains as low as 8/1 with one layer.
Jim Bolger's Trading Leather and John Murphy's High Octane, smart winners on their respective sole starts at Gowran Park, have also been left in the Doncaster race.
Before then, both have the option of a Group Three at Newmarket on Saturday.
Pat Shanahan has stated that his Group Two Debutante Stakes heroine My Special J's, last of nine in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Sunday, will be roughed off for the season ahead of a tilt at the UAE 1,000 Guineas in February.
David Nagle, however, has not discounted the prospect of Ayr Gold Cup third Maarek taking in the Testimonial Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, with a possible big-race outing in the Champions Sprint at Ascot on Saturday week also on the agenda.
"I am not ruling out this weekend," he said of the Listed Curragh race. "But I will probably wait until the end of the week so I can look at the forecast for Ascot. I want it to be soft there, and Ascot can change day by day."
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