My Stable: Four to follow
Ben Linfoot can't believe how short Churchill is for the 2000 Guineas and picks out four eyecatchers for your My Stable trackers from the recent action.
Churchill: Won the National Stakes, but is a very short price for the Guineas
Churchill – Don't believe the hype
Perhaps I'm not seeing something that everyone else is seeing but Churchill looks one of the worst ante-post bets I've noticed in a while at prices ranging from 2/1 (2/1!) to 4/1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
He might've won his first Group One by over four lengths at the Curragh on Sunday, but the runner-up, Mehmas, is at his best over six furlongs on fast ground and seven on yielding simply didn't play to his strengths.
And Mehmas is arguably the first good horse Churchill has beaten.
The son of Galileo rose to prominence when winning the Chesham Stakes on his second start at Royal Ascot, but that is a race restricted to horses whose sires won over a mile-and-a-quarter and further and it's a contest that doesn't produce Classic winners.
Any winner of the Chesham is likely to have beaten slow, late-maturing, horses and this year's renewal looks particularly average with just two winners coming from those that finished in behind Churchill from 23 goes – and one of those was a 1/5 shot in a maiden.
Only one horse that Churchill beat in his next race, the Tyros Stakes, has run since, Ready To Roc, and he finished last at Navan, while his Futurity form is no better with the runner-up, Radio Silence, finishing last at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Of course Aidan O'Brien came out on Sunday and said 'he's very exciting, he has a lot of speed, we always thought he was a Guineas horse' but he wouldn't say anything else after winning the National Stakes as the hype machine begins.
The bottom line is the races Churchill has been winning have been weak contests and he hasn't been very impressive in winning them.
One firm is as short as 2/1 about Churchill for the Guineas and that's plainly ridiculous, but even at double those odds he makes zero appeal.
Doncaster & Leopardstown Eyecatchers
Okool – 5th in the DFS British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes, Doncaster, Sep 8
There's just one maiden race at the St Leger meeting but it produced a thrilling finish with four horses in with a chance stretching for the line, John Gosden's Glencadam Glory coming out on top by a head.
However, it was the horse that finished fifth that caught the eye.
Okool, trained by Owen Burrows, was making his debut at Doncaster and he was weak in the market for a €320,000 purchase, going off at 20/1 with all the money on those with experience.
The market was correct as it turned out, with the four runners that had run before filling the first four positions, but Okool would've finished amongst that lot granted any luck in-running.
Trapped on the rail under Paul Hanagan, he ran into the back of one when pulled out to make his challenge, losing all momentum, yet he stayed on well again once in the clear and finished full of running.
He looks a nice prospect and can make use of this experience himself in a maiden next time.
Olivia Fallow – 11th in the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap, Doncaster, Sep 10
Olivia Fallow has been running well all season without reward but she's still in really good form judging by her effort in the Portland.
The bare facts are she finished 11th and that gives hope that she'll be dropped a pound or two by the assessor on Tuesday, while she might be underestimated in the betting next time too with a '0' next to her name.
It would be wrong to underestimate her, though, as she travelled well in the Portland and then had nowhere to go inside the final furlong where Jimmy Quinn had to sit and suffer before coasting her home in his own time.
This was a tough assignment, but if she drops in class in the coming weeks she's well worth keeping an eye on.
Aneen – 4th in the Ballylinch Stud EBF Fillies' Maiden, Leopardstown Sep 10
Awtaad bounced right back to form at Leopardstown on Saturday and earlier on the card his half-sister, Aneen, made a debut of some promise in the fillies' maiden that opened the card.
Also trained by Kevin Prendergast, Aneen was shuffled back in the early stages on the rail and was in a poor position towards the back on the turn for home.
However, she scythed through the field on the rail in the closing stages, doing much the best of those that were held up in the contest and just failing to get up for third.
Given her breeding she's not going to be missed next time, but she looks a shoo-in for a maiden before going on to bigger and better things.
Pyromaniac – 2nd in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Petingo Handicap, Leopardstown, Sep 10
Tony Martin's Pyromaniac has already been in the news (for the wrong reasons) this year when he was deemed a non-trier by the Killarney stewards in an incident that saw him suspended for 42 days.
He was allowed to run in the Galway Hurdle in the end, just 16 days after his Killarney run, but it's on the level he's of interest now following his second to stablemate Quick Jack on Saturday.
Quick Jack had finished two places behind another Martin inmate, Heartbreak City, on his previous start in the Ebor, and he advertised that form with a deserved victory under 7lb claimer Oisin Orr.
Yet throughout much of the contest you'd have called Pyromaniac the most likely winner (he traded at a low of 1.03 on Betfair in-running).
He cruised through the contest, hit the front a furlong out and pulled over two lengths clear of Intense Tango in third only for Quick Jack to swoop past him close to the line.
Martin's staying handicappers on the Flat have been in fine form this season and with big handicaps like the Cesarewitch, for which Pyromaniac is a 16/1 chance, coming up, he might not be done yet.
Perhaps Pyromaniac will hit the headlines (for the right reasons) again at Newmarket.
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