Soft. This word will dictate this race.
The O’Brien team have already hinted that it may pose a problem for the favourite Camelot. He’s run and won twice both on good ground in the style of a horse who enjoys top of the ground. On both occasions he looked classy especially in the Racing Post.
The truth so far is, he’s beaten nothing.
In his maiden at Leopardstown he beat four home, none of which went on to win a race with the exception of Canary Wharf who picked up a Class 5 Handicap at Wolverhampton at his fifth attempt. He, by the way, is a Ballydoyle reject having being shipped on to Marco Botti in December.
In the Racing Post Trophy Fencing started second favourite to Camelot only to be beaten 2 1/2 L. Today will be his first run since and he’s a 16/1 shot here. Learn, fourth in the race, didn’t frank the form when going to France to be well beaten by French Fifteen in Criterium International the following week while Talwar last in the race did win a listed contest over a mile on the All Weather at Lingfield two weeks ago.
It’s hardly inspiring form for the favourite to win a Guineas.
Speaking of the French challenge, on his comeback run French Fifteen beat Abtaal in the Prix Djebel at Maisions-laffitte with Hermival back in third in April. This was a reverse of the form of the Thomas Byron last October where Abtaal had 3 L to spare on French Fifteen. The Byron form looks more reliable.
The Dewhurst looks like it was a much stronger juvenile contest than the Racing Post. It was won by Parish Hall who scratched at the last declaration stage due to the soft going here. In second was Power beaten half a length who brought a high level of form with him having won the Coventry Stakes, come second in the Phoenix Stakes and won the National Stakes both at the Curragh. In the latter he showed he could handle the soft. Behind him were Most Improved, Bronterre and Trumpet Major. The latter two Richard Hannon colts ran in the Craven and the Greenham with Trumpet Major impressing at Newmarket. The winner of the Greenham was Casper Netscher from Boomerang Bob with Bronterre back in third. The soft ground at Newbury suited Casper as he’d proven he could handle it when landing last years Gimcrack at York.
Top Offer comes with a tall reputation having won his maiden impressing but you would have to be concerned that Roger Charlton pulled him from the Greenham as he didn’t want to run him on the soft, citing it might take too much out of him before today’s contest.
John Oxx only sends a runner to England when he has a great chance of acquitting himself well. Born To See had excuses last time out when second to Nephrite as he pulled up lame having torn a muscle in the race. He handled the yielding surface as did his half brother Sea The Stars early in his career. There’s a quiet confidence emanating from Currabeg.
This could well be a Guineas to saviour.
The class of Camelot may carry him through but if he is undone by the soft going then the same may not apply to his stable companion who could well Power home from Born To See with Abtaal back in third.