THERE was a huge shock in last weekend’s 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket where 40-1 chance Night Of Thunder proved half a length too powerful for favourite Kingman with Australia running what looked like a fine Derby trial in third.
The winner was turning around a huge four and a half length defeat by the runner-up in last month’s Greenham Stakes at Newbury. One racegoer said to me that they couldn’t see how that was possible but, to be fair, Kingman got the run of the race in Newbury and the additional furlong on Saturday would have suited the winner a lot better.
Before the race there was talk of the contest being one of the best 2,000 Guineas in years and while no doubt pundits will say that the race was fair to middling at best with a 40-1 outsider prevailing, I think in time Night Of Thunder will prove to be a very good horse.
Kingman and Australia were both very well backed with the latter now shortening in the betting for the English Derby and the proximity of these two probably means that the form of the race will stand the test of time.
One horse that is still on my radar is the Ger Lyons-trained Obliterator despite being beaten seven lengths on his last start in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket by True Story. I think that winner could be very decent and he’s certainly on my Derby shortlist after that performance, but I’m definitely willing to give the selection another chance in Sunday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.
He really impressed me first time up in a Curragh maiden last September when he came past almost the whole field under a lovely ride from Emmet McNamara to beat No Wunder by two and a half lengths. He was then no match for True Story but it was only his second start so this is a horse with plenty of potential who is probably still green and it was encouraging to hear Lyons talking of the Irish Guineas or Derby or Royal Ascot after Sunday’s run so the Meath magician still feels his charge is top-class.
I’m hoping that the word soft is in the going description at Leopardstown as if it is, trainer Edward Lynam will run Viztoria in Sunday’s Amethyst Stakes rather than a race at Lingfield at the weekend.
My fancy’s best form has been over six and seven furlongs, but she still ran well over this mile in last year’s Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she was only beaten just over six lengths by Sky Lantern.
She certainly races like a filly who will get a mile and the fact that she won first time out at Naas over six furlongs on heavy ground fills me with confidence as that is a track that takes a bit of getting as an inexperienced two-year-old.
Her form behind my mammy’s Slade Power last time at Ascot reads well and whenever the ground is soft, this is a filly who will surely be competitive.
Everton might not have been good enough to tame the mighty Manchester City last Saturday, but I was very impressed with the performance of Ross Barkley, who showed signs of experience far greater than his tender age.
As well as an awesome goal, I thought he bossed the midfield against some very good players and with England supremo Roy Hodgson in the audience at Goodison Park, this display reminiscent of German great Franz Beckenbauer should have earned him a berth on the plane to Brazil. If he performs like that on Sunday against Hull, who may have the following week’s FA Cup Final on their minds, I think Everton will win.
Sunday Leopardstown 2.55pm Viztoria
Sunday KC Stadium 3pm Everton to beat Hull
Sunday Leopardstown 3.25pm Obliterator