Weather casts doubt over Midterm's Newbury return
Cork's Flat card that was scheduled for tomorrow was cancelled due to waterlogging yesterday, and those viewing the action at Newmarket will know that matters aren't much better in Britain right now.
Michael Stoute's Midterm, clear second favourite for the Investec Derby behind Ballydoyle's US Army Ranger, is declared to make its seasonal reappearance at Newbury this afternoon.
However, after heavy rainfall lashed parts of the country yesterday and the threat of more overnight, the track must pass a 7.0 morning inspection.
Yesterday's Craven Stakes was run in driving rain. Aidan O'Brien tested the water with Shogun in the mile Group Three, but Ryan Moore's mount was well held in third in deteriorating conditions by the appropriately named facile winner, Stormy Antarctic (9/2).
The Ed Walker-trained winner had finished second to O'Brien's Johannes Vermeer on its previous outing in a French Group One last year.
Stormy Antarctic was duly slashed from 33/1 to 12/1 for the 2,000 Guineas, while the hot favourite Foundation was pushed right out in the betting for both the opening Classic and the Derby.
John Gosden's colt was readily held in second yesterday, although he wasn't given a hard race by Frankie Dettori and might yet be an Epsom horse, with the Dante now his target.
Curragh handler Michael O'Callaghan has suggested that Sunday's Leopardstown runner-up Now Or Never could be aimed at the French 1,000 Guineas, while the stable's smart colt Blue De Vega could go to Newmarket for the 2,000 Guineas. "He had a racecourse gallop at Leopardstown last week and I was happy," O'Callaghan said of last year's exciting dual winner.
"If he is going to go to Newmarket, he will have to be 110pc. If he's any less than that, he won't go."
Meanwhile, at Limerick yesterday a small touch was landed in the maiden hurdle, with Tony Martin's Bobbie's Diamond readily obliging for Denis O'Regan, having been backed from 11/4 into 9/4.
Dermot McLoughlin's Some Drama also smoothly justified odds-on status for Andrew Lynch in the beginners' chase, while the Conor Brassil-ridden Stolberg was a popular handicap hurdle winner.
It was a third success at the track for the 3/1 co-favourite, which is trained by local legend Andrew McNamara.