WHILE you all know that I had a whale of a time at Cheltenham a couple of weeks’ ago, it was wonderful to see the Irish Flat season kick off at The Curragh on Sunday and there were some fine horses on display.
I haven’t really got anything in my notebook for this week so I thought that I would come up with a couple of horses which should be worth following this season.
The first Canary Row ran in the very first race of the new campaign in the two-year-old maiden and finished a creditable runner-up to Dawn Approach. My mammy and daddy’s horse Gathering Power also finished fifth and we were very pleased with her.
‘Canary’ actually hit the front over two furlongs out but the winner swamped him approaching the last furlong and eventually had too much speed for him, prevailing by a length and three-quarters.
The winner apparently is nothing like his temperamental father, English Derby hero New Approach, and is amazingly laid-back according to trainer Jim Bolger, who confided that his charge would do better over further than this minimum five furlongs.
While Bolger did urge punters not to get too carried away at this stage, he did mention that people can judge how good he is when he returns to The Curragh in September, indicating that the handler believes he might be good enough for the top-class National Stakes.
So it was probably a good effort from Canary to get so close to him and he certainly wasn’t unfancied in the betting, going off at 10-1 after opening at 14-1.
Like the winner, I think that he will be better going over at least one further furlong and I can see him winning a maiden in the not too distant future, before going on to even better things.
Mum and Dad have been lucky enough to have a champion in Sole Power and while I couldn’t say that Slade Power will be as good, racing is all about dreaming and that’s what we’re doing at the present time.
‘Slade’, who is trained by the excellent Edward Lynam, has always been very exciting and when he made his debut at The Curragh last year, we knew we had a nice horse although we expected him to run green and that is exactly what happened but he put in a nice effort behind Reply.
The intention was then to aim him at the valuable sales race at York that Sole Power finished third in, but we didn’t manage to get him there and instead he won a maiden at Dundalk in December.
Now I am the first to appreciate that it’s a fair step up from a Dundalk maiden to the Irish 2,000 Guineas but that’s his target and first of all he will probably take in a race at Cork on Easter Saturday to see exactly where we stand.
Edward seems very happy with him and he’s as exciting as he ever was. It was six furlongs at Dundalk and while his sire Dutch Art excelled over that trip, he’s out of a Key Of Luck mare and Key Of Luck won over 10 furlongs so I think he’ll get a mile all right.
Turning to the footy, Hatem Ben Arfa was truly inspirational in Newcastle’s 3-1 win at West Brom and I think that the Geordies are a good bet at 15-8 to beat Liverpool on Sunday.
If Ben Arfa, who scored and provided Papiss Cisse two assists, can continue in that run of form, I believe that they’ll master the Reds, who weren’t too impressive in their latest home defeat to Wigan and have now lost five Premier League matches in their last six.
Two Horses To Follow
Slade Power (entered in Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 26)
Sunday 1.30pm Newcastle to beat Liverpool