Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Spencer sure Cape Blanco has firepower to sink rivals in Man O'War

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Following the brilliant Gold Cup success of Fame And Glory at Royal Ascot last month, Aidan O'Brien and Jamie Spencer will bid for further Grade One glory with Cape Blanco in the Man O'War Stakes at Belmont Park in New York tonight.

Spencer has come in for the rides on Cape Blanco and Fame And Glory after Jim and Fitri Hay, who retain the Tipperary native's services, purchased shares in both horses. While Fame And Glory has proceeded to remain unbeaten since the transaction, Cape Blanco has yet to register a win, his most recent outing ending in a 16-length defeat behind Canford Cliffs in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot.

Successful in the 2010 Irish Derby and Champion Stakes, Cape Blanco steps back up to a mile and three furlongs tonight. He is a 10/3 second favourite to collect, and connections are encouraged by the fact that he had the market leader Gio Ponti behind when the pair filled the fourth and fifth spots in the Dubai World Cup in March.

Third in the prestigious Manhattan Handicap last time, Gio Ponti is out to land the Man O'War for a third year in a row.

"He has met Gio Ponti before and he beat him in Dubai," Spencer said of Cape Blanco yesterday. "Hopefully they get nice fast ground out there and I think the trip will suit; it looks a good spot for him."

Dermot Weld also sends Cannon Hill Stateside this evening for the American Derby at Arlington.

The Grade Two -- which Weld has already won three times courtesy of Pine Dance (2000), Evolving Tactics (2003) and Simple Exchange (2004) -- is a recognised trial for the Secretariat Stakes at the same venue.

If Pat Smullen's mount were to add to this season's wins at Gowran Park and Navan, he would become a genuine contender for the August 13 showpiece.

Irish Independent

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