A big week in racing when Frankel will quite rightly dominate the headlines as commentators ask can he finish his career with a perfect unbeaten in 14 starts with victory in Saturday’s Champion Stakes.
Sir Henry Cecil’s champion is currently 1-8 favourite with us so the chances are that he should do it, although the contest received some added spice when Cirrus Des Aigles won a high-class race at the Arc Meeting in France by nine lengths and he will now provide at least some meaningful opposition to Frankel’s dominance.
But I won’t embarrass myself by tipping Frankel and instead I’m opting for John Long’s Kilmurry Kid in Thursday’s Ingoldsby (Q.R.) Handicap Chase at Punchestown.
I was very taken by the nine-year-old’s recent success at Tramore when he kept on well under a superb ride from amateur jockey Mikey O’Connor to outpoint Big Jemmy by a length and three quarters.
Considering that was his first start for almost 18 months, it was a fine performance and the great thing about Thursday’s contest is that it’s for qualified riders so the north Corkonian jockey can receive the leg up again. I think that this horse could be very well handicapped indeed as he won off a mark of 81 at Tramore which is low enough especially considering that he has previously won four point-to-points.
I suppose that if I have one reservation it would be that I think he might like the ground a bit better but, saying that, so would a lot of his potential opposition and the ground has been soft for weeks on end now.
Indeed it was soft enough at Tramore but that didn’t stop him getting through it and it’s probably better to let a horse keep going while in such good form rather than wait for suitable ground which may never come.
Naas hosts a decent card on Sunday and one horse that won’t be inconvenienced by soft ground, instead positively revelling on it, is Yellow Rosebud in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes.
A close inspection of Dermot Weld’s charge’s form reveals that she has been admirably consistent this year, only disappointing once on unsuitable good ground in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh.
She has won or been second on her four other starts and was most impressive when scoring on her last outing in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Tipperary earlier in the month when Pat Smullen enjoyed an armchair ride to beat old adversary Lady Wingshot by three lengths.
That success came over seven furlongs but I am entirely unconcerned about the additional furlong on Sunday as she was staying on at Tipperary and indeed won over a mile at Leopardstown earlier in the year.
This horse is a fair tool on soft ground and I was very pleased to hear connections say that she is expected to stay in training next year after this race completes her current campaign. She will be a handful in races just below the top level and could progress to that tier in time.
Turning to the footy I think that Tottenham can beat Chelsea at 13-8 in the London Derby on Saturday which is live on Sky Sports 2.
Goalkeeper Brad Friedel is reportedly set to be recalled by Andre Villas-Boas despite Hugo Lloris providing his first Premier League clean sheet as Spurs boss in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa and I think he’s making the right choice as Friedel is remarkably consistent.
Admittedly Chelsea didn’t have too much trouble in despatching Norwich 4-1 but this will be much tougher especially with the recent media furore surrounding John Terry and Ashley Cole which could distract them on the pitch.
Thursday Punchestown 4.45pm Kilmurry Kid
Saturday White Hart Lane 12.45pm Tottenham to beat Chelsea
Sunday Naas 4.30pm Yellow Rosebud