Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 February 2018

Toormore can keep O'Brien's Australia waiting to prove worth

Trainer Aidan O'Brien's Australia may be one to back later in the season after his excellent juvenile campaign. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Trainer Aidan O'Brien's Australia may be one to back later in the season after his excellent juvenile campaign. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Wayne Bailey

Aidan O'Brien has described Australia, the exciting son of Galileo and Ouija Board, as possibly the best horse he's ever trained.

On the face of it, that makes the three-year-old highly appealing for this afternoon's 2,000 Guineas, considering O'Brien has already saddled six winners of that race, not to mention four Derby winners.

But I still feel it's best to judge a horse on what you see on the racecourse rather than what you hear from the yard and you also have to consider that his breeding suggests he'll shine most brightly over the middle distances as he matures, rather than a mile.

As such, he's opposable today at 11/4 although his excellent juvenile campaign (two wins from three including a Group Three) does imply there's plenty to look forward to.

Perhaps, he'll be one to back later in the season, but I'd rather see some more action from the colt before I commit any hard-earned cash to a docket with Australia's name on it.

Stablemate War Command (8/1) is actually rated 2lb superior, although that one does have five races under the belt, including a win last time in the Group One Dewhurst at Newmarket.

A horse he beat in that race, Outstrip, franked the form by winning at the Breeder's Cup and with further improvement likely, War Command shouldn't be far off today.

John Gosden's unbeaten Kingman routed his rivals in the Greenham last month and it was good to see that the surgery he had to have a chip removed from a joint at the end of last season has had no ill effects.

He could be the real deal and it's hard to write anything negative about him today, other than to say his price of 6/4 is a little short considering this year's Classic is shaping up to be a very strong renewal indeed.

Richard Hannon, whose father trained three Guineas winners, throws three darts at the board as he attempts to win his first Classic.

Of those, Toormore definitely stands out and is tipped at 15/2 to follow up his success in the Craven stakes here three weeks ago.

Toormore also beat Outstrip last season and a subsequent trip to Ireland for the National Stakes at the Curragh proved lucrative where an eye-catching performance confirmed his status as one of the best juveniles.

While Be Ready's flop made the selection job much easier in the Craven last time, he won the race with plenty in hand, although I do admit it wasn't the flashiest performance in the world.

Still, he seems the type of horse that can be relied upon to get the job done regardless of style and I'm confident he's good enough to give the favourite a run for his money at a nice price this afternoon.

Earlier on the same card, Irish Derby winner Trading Leather looks a solid bet at 5/4 in the Group Two Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (3.10).

One of the leading juveniles in 2012, the Teofilo colt will wear the blue of Godolphin for the first time following his sale at the end of last season.

Placed in the International Stakes at York and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, the four-time winner was last seen when third in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. He was no match for The Fugue and Al Kazeem on the day, but gave a good account of himself, nonetheless, and the step down in class here should do the trick.

Each-way

The opening Qatar Racing Suffolk Stakes Handicap at Newmarket (2.05) is a tricky enough affair, but Roserrow offers some each-way value at 12/1 representing the Andrew Balding yard. The gelding went up 2lb for his second place in handicap at Nottingham last time, which isn't too harsh, and this useful handicapper rarely runs a bad race.

Today's selections

2.05 Newmarket: Roserrow (e/w)

2.20 Goodwood: Waila

3.10 Newmarket: Trading Leather

3.50 Newmarket: Toormore

4.05 Goodwood: Zibelina

4.20 Punchestown: Tiger Roll

Do the double

Racing - Michael Stoute's Waila should take all the beating in the Daisy Warwick Stakes at Goodwood (2.20), priced around 6/5. While she finished well down the field in a Group One at Ascot last time, the experience will have done her good and the lightly raced filly should find herself back in the winner's enclosure today.

Soccer - West Ham's defence has looked particularly weak of late and they haven't kept a clean sheet in their last 10 league matches. Tottenham, who have scored 12 goals in their last four games, pay a visit to Upton Park this afternoon should be a safe enough bet at 10/11, with Tim Sherwood's men now two wins away from equalling their highest Premier League points total of 72. It all spells more trouble for Sam Allardyce.

Irish Independent

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