Cork 31/3/2018 (heavy)
10f 3-y-o maiden
Stepping up to 10f for the first time following two runs over a mile at two, For Pleasure once again showed some ability when staying on late to claim fourth 16L off the winner on very heavy ground.
By Excelebration, he cost just €5,000 as a yearling at Goffs and there was just a hint of support in the market. His dam was a 12f winner on heavy off a mark of 57 and this looks in or around the mark that For Pleasure will be allocated for handicapping. The dam is also a half-sister to 4 winners including a dual 5f sprinter (won off 91) and a Listed one-mile winner who was rated 103.
For Pleasure’s trainer is Tipperary trainer James Barrett and he is capable of landing a little touch now and again as evidenced by his most prolific horse, Lake George, who loved fast ground. It is quite possible that good ground which For Pleasure has yet to encounter in three runs will be the makings of him. Apart from Lake George it is not easy to discern a particular methodology in Barrett’s training methods but he does well with three-year-olds.
8.5f fillies maiden
Brendan Murphy of Woodfort Stud in Co.Cork bred Mijul Trail but he failed to sell her twice as both as a foal (unsold €38,000) and a yearling. He sent her to his neighbour, Michael Winters, to train and she is worth keeping an eye on.
The unraced dam (by Gone West) was picked up in America – she is closely related to a US stallion who was a decent 7f-8f winner for Hamdan Al Maktoum – has been a very good investment for the stud but the lack of sales success for this filly can, I imagine, be entirely attributed to the very unfashionable sire, Casamento, who has since been exported to Sweden. Mijul Trail is a half-sister to 4 smart winners (over a variety of distances) the best of whom was a Grade 3 winner (filly by Shamardal, sire of Casamento) in the US over 9f. She certainly has a recent pedigree record to encourage support and, as disappointing as Casamento has been relatively to the high hopes invested in him, he has sired plenty of winners including a hat-trick of colts rated over 100.
I thought she ran a nice race here and having contested the lead into the straight she kept plugging away on her own on the inside to finish a 12L sixth. Winters is as shrewd as they come and if she has more ability he is the man to extract it from her. The flat code is not his usual sphere but who can forget his handling in recent times of Missunited. Given the investment at stake here, I cannot imagine this filly’s racing career is likely to be extended unless she threatens to improve the pedigree.
8.5f 3yo handicap
One of the great mysteries to me is punting on an unexposed three-year-old for this first time and relying on the trainer to have everything spot on given that so much of the experience will be new to the subject of the gamble. Additionally, if the ground is extreme – in this case heavy – and the sire’s previous performers on the conditions have produced just 2 wins from 34 starts it is very much a leap of faith.
This scenario could be painted around Aidan Howard’s Tea Roses who was backed all day into 7/2 favourite, attempted to make all but struggled to last home once the winner literally flew by her in the heavy ground. She finished a well-beaten seventh. My guess is that she will perform far better in less extreme conditions and Aidan Howard – based on 2017 experience – is very good at winning flat handicaps. In fact, virtually all of his winners have come from this sphere since he started training.
Tea Roses couldn’t be given away at the sales on three occasions even though she was a half-sister to a 75-rated one-mile winning handicapper from a very decent Moyglare family that traces directly back to Guineas winner Trusted Partner. She would be a nice little proposition if she could get a winning bracket and is in the right yard to do so.
Ahead of the handicapper
If I fancy a horse to win I am usually not much interested in consolations prizes (read “each-way” terms if I am wrong) and I prefer the horse to finish closer to last than first if he or she has the temerity to disagree with me.
Such is the case with Susan Finn’s mudloving, one-paced plodder, Youceeyouceecee, who also ran at this Cork meeting, racing off a mark of 73 to finish no less than 58L tenth of twelve in his favoured conditions. As he is a gelding, usually carries head gear and is now only six I would be reasonably confident that he can do today what he did yesterday i.e. win seven furlong handicaps off marks of 74 and 72 on heavy ground. Following this run, he was dropped 1lb by the handicapper and is now back on 72, his winning mark at Listowel last September where his owner happens to reside. Pray for a wet long-weekend for Kerry in June?
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