Monday 18 December 2017

Timepiece to put Cecil in seventh heaven

With six Group Ones to his name already this year, the rejuvenated Henry Cecil is now just one shy of equalling his 1999 haul of seven.

He could well hit that number tomorrow with Timepiece in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville. Of Timepiece's four rivals, only last year's Prix de l'Opera winner Lily Of The Valley appears to pose any real threat.

Jean-Claude Rouget's well-bred filly has yet to hit top form in two starts this year, including when well beaten behind Timepiece at this level in the Falmouth Stakes at Goodwood last time.

Having won six on the bounce in 2010, Lily Of The Valley is obviously talented, but it's difficult to make a case for her turning the tables here.

Timepiece, which was recording a debut Group One at Goodwood, had always promised plenty, but took her time about delivering.

However, as her fine third to Goldikova showed at the end of last month, she is now a force to be reckoned with.

Just prior to the fillies' contest, eight two-year-olds lay their reputations on the line in the Prix Morny. There are some precocious-looking French juveniles in action here.

But it might pay to give Frederick Engels another chance following his luckless effort in the Phoenix Stakes two weeks ago.

Outsider to note

Stewarts House can benefit from a change of scenery when he makes his debut for Tim Vaughan in the Lord Mildmay Chase at Newton Abbot tomorrow.

Although twice a winner here for Arthur Moore, the nine-year-old seemed to have completely fallen out of love with the game, failing to trouble the judge in half a dozen attempts in the past year.

Nonetheless, he has plenty quality. Off a mark of 125, just 3lbs higher than when he recorded his last triumph in a decent handicap chase at Leopardstown, he might at least make the frame tomorrow.

Sunday Yankee

Ballinrobe 2.20 -- Bundle Of Fun

Deauville 2.40 --Frederick Engels

Deauville 3.10 -- Timepiece

Newton Abbot 3.0 -- Stewarts House

Numbers game

25 The charge to enter the Jog for Jockeys events at Cork, Down Royal, Galway, Leopardstown and Naas tomorrow. All proceeds go to the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

0What it will cost to go racing in Cork on Monday with the entrance fee scrapped.

Quote of the week

"Do we want a glorified handicap hurdle? Above all, the announcement is a knee-jerk reaction to what happened during this year's race and I think it is a great shame. By making the fences at Aintree smaller, horses are likely to go faster and that's precisely what can cause difficulties." -- Dual Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies on the imminent changes to the big race.

Three things we

learned this week

1 There's no stopping Hayley Turner. Following her effortless July Cup steer on Dream Ahead to become the first female jockey to win a Group One outright in these parts, Turner doubled her tally in yesterday's Nunthorpe on Margot Did.

Having missed a Royal Ascot winner to ride the horse at Ayr in June, it was also sweet compensation, and Turner's trademark attribute of keeping it simple was again to the fore as she eased her fellow female home from a handy position.

That ability not to overcomplicate matters in such a pressurised environment is a rare enough attribute.

2 Aidan O'Brien got the three Group One triumphs that he might have expected this week -- albeit not in the manner he might have expected.

Following Treasure Beach and Cape Blanco's double in Chicago, Await The Dawn was turned over at odds-on at York on Wednesday.

However, yesterday it was revealed that Mutual Trust, which beat O'Brien's Zoffany in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in July, has now been disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance. A win's a win!

3 Conor O'Dwyer, the most recent retiree on duty in the 'legends' race at Bellewstown on Thursday, is as cool as ever.

O'Dwyer cruised home on Bullock Harbour from Norman Williamson and Adrian Maguire, and it was striking to see how all three riders' distinctive styles remain. Here's to it becoming an annual event.

Racing Diary

Monday: Cork*, Hamilton, Hereford*, Kempton (AW), Windsor*

Tuesday: Killarney*, Leicester, Sedgefield, Warwick*, Yarmouth*

Wednesday: Killarney*, Catterick, Chepstow, Kempton* (AW), Wolverhampton* (AW), Worcester

Thursday: Killarney*, Carlisle, Cartmel*, Ffos Las, Lingfield, Wolverhampton* (AW)

Friday: Down Royal*, Killarney*, Brighton*, Ffos Las, Hamilton*, Newcastle*, Newmarket, Thirsk

Saturday: Galway, Beverley, Cartmel, Goodwood, Newmarket, Redcar*,


Sunday: Curragh, Galway, Beverley, Goodwood, Yarmouth.

Irish Independent

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