Thursday 13 December 2018

September has speed to burn for O'Brien

Daughter of Deep Impact can defy stout pedigree to take Ascot opener

Permian (left), with William Buick up, on the way to winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Permian (left), with William Buick up, on the way to winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Things do not always work out as logic suggests they should, breeding included. I do wonder what will become of Jaden and Jaz, offspring of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. Could one or t'other grow into a world tennis champion?

September simply should not be what she seems to be. Even allowing for the vagaries of breeding, her performance on debut in snaring a Leopardstown maiden was quite incredible given the distance of seven furlongs.

What's more, she stays at that trip this afternoon in the opening Chesham at Royal Ascot, and it is difficult to forecast defeat. This is quite astounding, given her father Deep Impact won over two miles and her mother Peeping Fawn took an Oaks among other big races.

Quite what she achieved at the Foxrock venue is hard to say but she is hugely exciting. While she is not the most striking filly physically, she has incredible natural pace for her page, and Aidan O'Brien is clearly the man to harness that.

Much has been made about the ground at Ascot this week, which has clearly not been consistent from day to day. How it will pan out in the feature Diamond Jubilee Stakes remains to be seen but this might go to Tasleet under Jim Crowley.

Tasleet wore cheekpieces for the first time when hacking up at York and he has only had ten starts. He may have more to give, especially with a race replete with such speedy performers to ensure a true test of pace and power.

Limato deserves favouritism. He had a rare off-day in Dubai when last seen but is impossible to fault otherwise. The Wolferton Handicap is extremely competitive. Willie Muir provides one of the long shots in Restorer, which is of some interest considering the excellent form of the yard.

If he can get a genuine pace to sit off, he could out-run his odds, having kept some very smart company this year. He can be a little keen, so likely Martin Dwyer will pursue a little cover.

Highland Reel was one of the heroes of the week in winning on Wednesday. His brother Idaho bids to take the Hardwicke Stakes and, rated just 1lb below the favourite Dartmouth, he has each-way appeal at around 6/1.

This giant-striding son of Galileo had the ignominy of unseating his rider when hot favourite for a Leger last term which got a form boost when the winner, Harbour Law, placed in Thursday's Gold Cup epic.

Seamus Heffernan did not give Idaho an excessively hard race when he was sixth to his brother after interrupted travel arrangements in the Coronation Cup. That was his first run of the campaign and there should be plenty more to come from a horse which went so close to winning a high-class Irish Derby last year.

Ryan Moore rarely has to desert a Ballydoyle runner but he sides with Dartmouth here for old ally Michael Stoute. The Queen's horse is really tough and seemingly sure to go close. Last year's Wokingham winner, Outback Traveller, is 4lb higher 12 months later. His return to action when midfield at Ascot in May was pleasing, but this is tough.

Buckstay, which was beaten just over three lengths in last year's race and is now 1lb lower, may strike for Peter Chapple-Hyam and Jamie Spencer. It is a while since a seven-year-old won this, but he may be sharp enough at around 25/1.

Ascot Stakes winner Thomas Hobson bids for a remarkable double in the Queen Alexandra. He has a lot more to do but has to be feared on current form for Willie Mullins under Martin Harley.

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