Monday 19 February 2018

Strong gallop to suit Folca's bid

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Sole Power is the only Irish-trained representative in the five-furlong Temple Stakes, the cross-channel feature at Haydock this afternoon.

With Wayne Lordan on duty at The Curragh, Keegan Latham takes over on Eddie Lynam's speedy son of Kyllacy for the first time. On what is his third start of the campaign, last year's Nunthorpe hero has strong place claims in a Group Two that is likely to be run to suit horses that come from off the pace -- as he does.

The Hungarian sprinting sensation Overdose is a habitual frontrunner, a preference that Tangerine Trees and Markab also possess. Overdose, beaten just once in 15 career outings, is a fascinating prospect on his first British outing, but there is a suspicion that he is slightly overhyped.

In short, the standard of racing that he has cleaned up in over the past few years wouldn't be nearly as good as that which he faces now. Overdose might still prove up to scratch, and his winning times suggest that he shouldn't be far away, but he won't get things his own way up front, so 7/4 about him collecting is a miserable offering.

Of those that come from off the pace, Sole Power is one that remains open to improvement, and his third to Tangerine Trees at Newmarket last month was full of encouragement. At 12/1, he is solid each-way value.

Last year's winner Kingsgate Native is another to consider, but slight preference is for the three-year-old Stone Of Folca. Still something of an unknown quantity, John Best's Kodiac colt performed admirably in decent company as a juvenile, though he was well beaten on his final start in Sole Power's Nunthorpe.

However, that experience will stand to Stone Of Folca now, and there is no doubt that he is a bright sprinting prospect. On his reappearance at Folkestone, he didn't win overly impressively, but that three-runner contest was a messy race with no pace.

Having pulled hard for his head early on, Stone Of Folca ultimately overcame his two inferior rivals quite cheekily. The 16/1 shot can be expected to be sharper now and, maybe most importantly, a guaranteed strong gallop will suit ideally.

In the day's big handicap, the Silver Bowl, Mariachi Man is fancied to turn the tables on his recent Ripon conqueror Polar Kite. When the pair met on their seasonal debuts last month, Polar Kite clearly striped fitter, accelerating late on to score by a length.

Mariachi Man carried a massive 9st 5lb then, and gave 9lb to the winner when keeping on to be fourth.

Today, he concedes just 3lb to Polar Kite off a more manageable 8st 7lb, so double-figure offerings look generous given his profile.

The Tim Easterby-trained colt is lightly raced with just six outings to his name, and it's also significant that he is drawn in stall six. Of the last half a dozen winners of this one-mile contest, none have broke from higher than stall eight.

Over at York, Times Up is also taken to reverse the form with Cracking Lass in the 14-furlong Listed race. When the pair clashed off similar terms at Doncaster in April, Cracking Lass ran out a game winner, with Times Up well back in fourth.

Nonetheless, John Dunlop's horses always improve for a run, as evidenced by Times Up's subsequent success off a career-high mark of 102 in a Newmarket handicap at the beginning of the month. While this is a step up in class again for Times Up, the five-year-old may not be done progressing yet.

Dunlop might also land the nine-furlong Listed race at Goodwood with Spanish Duke, which scored in some style in handicap company last time. A son of Big Bad Bob, Ted Durcan's mount needs to find a bit more on his first try at this level, but he is clearly going the right way.

Best bet: Times Up

Irish Independent

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