Monday 22 January 2018

Suit can upset Frankel

Chris McGrath

For those brave enough, it might well prove worth taking on Frankel at very short odds in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury today.

Already as low as 4/6 for the English 2,000 Guineas, he certainly produced a couple of brilliant displays at two, to compound his home reputation as Henry Cecil's best prospect for years.

But it is a little unnerving that connections feel obliged to guarantee the pace with Picture Editor, who might feasibly have started in an Epsom Derby trial instead of serving as valet for Frankel. The favourite did betray a perilously energetic streak in his final start last year, and such horses are always liable to be especially eager when fresh.

In Strong Suit, he meets a colt of genuine elite ability, one which this morning looks excellent value himself for the Guineas at 20/1. Strong Suit thrashed good horses on his debut last season and then produced a breathtaking turn of foot to get out of trouble in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Richard Hannon's colt was promptly quoted as short as 7/1 for the Guineas, only to be beaten in both subsequent starts. In each case, however, he can be readily pardoned.

He saw too much daylight when mugged close home at the Curragh, and then coasted through the race before floundering off the bridle in deep ground at Newmarket.

Frankel will surely be given a relatively conservative ride, with the Guineas just a fortnight away.

As Cecil himself says: "The most important thing for him is just to have a sensible race. Whatever he does, I think he will come on a lot, as he has been limited with the firm ground and only working on the all-weather."

Cecil is said to have encouraging depth among his three-year-olds, and the fact that one putative Derby prospect was turned over at Newmarket during the week, will not discourage the hype about World Domination when he makes his debut later on the card.

His work has apparently been consistent with his christening and genes. His dam is Reams Of Verse, but she is not the only Oaks winner with a son making his debut on the card.

Voodoo Prince, by Kingmambo out of Ouija Board, is preceded to the last race by a great deal of excitement at the in-form stable of Ed Dunlop.

For those who still have a stomach for marathon steeplechases, meanwhile, the Coral Scottish National sets a puzzle at Ayr today, with so many horses squeezed out of the handicap. Chicago Grey is no mere slogger and looks on a fair mark, so long as a tough season has not caught up with Gordon Elliott's gelding. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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