Saturday 14 December 2019

Workforce can foil the jolly

LAST Sunday morning, I was all set to go to the Curragh to watch the Irish Derby, for which I'd backed Treasure Beach. The ham sambos and flask of tae were packed, I'd been up to mass for some divine inspiration, and an envelope of salmon-coloured notes was tucked firmly into the back pocket.

But just before I was about to leave for battle, the daughter came down with the stairs with her bucket and spade all ready for a day at the beach.

The shirt and tie were quickly swapped for shorts and shades instead, even though I was in a bit of a sulk about missing the Derby.

Racing will always be around, but she won't always be a kid, so I chucked the old wind-up radio into the bag (forget your iPhones and radio apps, this thing is the business) and headed towards Killiney instead of Kildare.

At 3.50, I promptly tuned in to Radio Eireann for the big race commentary and I must admit, my fellow sunbathers looked a little scared and bemused as I shouted: "Go on the Beach" repeatedly at the missus.

Treasure Beach was a nice winner for this column at 7/2, but if the truth be told, the victory only covered some big-ish losses on Saturday, so it's pretty much back to square one in the quest to beat the bookmakers today.


The feature race of the afternoon is the mouth-watering Coral-Eclipse clash between the ex-Australian superstar So You Think, and 2010 Derby/Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe winner Workforce (3.10 Sandown).

Workforce has wintered very well and he looked bigger and stronger than ever when taking the Brigadier Gerard Stakes last time as Sandown. He had 7lbs in hand on official figures that day, but he also had a penalty burden of the same weight, so his powerful victory is certainly noteworthy.

Punters couldn't get enough of So You Think this week and he's currently around 8/11.

While he's won some top races in Australia, he's yet to prove himself in the Northern Hemisphere. I'm starting to wonder if he'll live up to the hype.

His first two races in Ireland were won well, but told us absolutely nothing, and while there may be valid reasons (such as fitness) for his loss in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot, horses priced 4/11 should be running away with such races rather than being excused.

The Group One winner oozes class, but will have to adopt to the tactical side of racing here.

Confront is going to set the pace for Workforce and Seamie Heffernan is going to have to be careful not to let So You Think go too early.

If it becomes an endurance test this would presumably suit the second favourite.

It's hard to separate the market leaders, but the Aidan O'Brien-trained jolly is just too short for my liking so Workforce gets the call today at a juicy enough price of 7/4.


Roger Varian's Toolain is worth a punt each-way in the Coral Challenge Handicap (2.35 Sandown), at around 10/1. He's one of the youngest horses in the field and we haven't seen the best of the colt, which did well to take fifth place last time considering his top-weight burden.


2.35 Sandown: Toolain (e/w)

2.45 Leicester: Artists Corner

3.10 Sandown: Workforce

7.10 Nottingham: Impassive

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