Sunday 21 January 2018

Spencer: Blanco will beat Gio

Nick Robson

Jamie Spencer can see no reason why American turf star Gio Ponti should reverse recent placings with Cape Blanco in the Arlington Million in Chicago on Saturday.

Spencer guided Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old to an impressive victory in the Man O'War Stakes at Belmont Park on his latest visit to the US last month, with Gio Ponti a well-beaten second.

Gio Ponti was also behind Cape Blanco in the Dubai World Cup in March and Spencer is confident his mount can again emerge triumphant.

"I can't see any reason why he can't win. For me, he needs to underperform to not win," Spencer stated. "If he can hold his form and not even improve on his Man O'War run, he should win. He's beaten Gio Ponti twice and was going away from him at the end the last day.

"Gio Ponti beat the rest and is the best turf horse in America, but we've met him twice now and beaten him twice, so I can't see any reason why he can turn the form around. I might be wrong.

"They've had a bit of rain in Chicago and while my horse's best form is on fast ground, like all good horses, he goes on any ground. I think easier ground would be against Gio Ponti. My lad is a very simple ride. If there's pace you can sit in and if there's no pace you can go forward. Gio Ponti is one-dimensional and has to be out the back to settle. You can ride to beat him."

Meanwhile, Henry Cecil's multiple Group One winner Midday is an intended runner in the Juddmonte International at York next Wednesday.

She still has the option of going for back-to-back victories in Wednesday's Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire but Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, has revealed she is likely to join stablemate Twice Over in the International.

It is a race Abdullah, owner of Juddmonte Farms, would love to win for the first time for obvious reasons. "Midday will be left in the Yorkshire Oaks but she is an intended runner in the Juddmonte," said Grimthorpe.

Irish Independent

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