His Fab Four can help ‘Beat-all’ those bookies!
TAIPAN – Jessie Harrington
Winner of his only start as a two-yearold when he came from the back of the pack to land his maiden in cracking style at Naas, this son of Frankel was pushed in at the deep end on his three-year-old debut when third in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown behind Bolshoi Ballet.
However, that two and a quarter length defeat doesn’t tell the whole story. Off what was a moderate pace to say the least (a very ordinary speed figure), he was positioned just worse than midfield by Shane Foley.
Initially tapped for toe turning for home, Shane merely gave him one slap to wake him up and it was noticeable that he lost very little ground on the winner from the quarter mile marker.
What he did, though, was stay on all the way to the line under hands and heels and there is little doubt that we will see the best of this unfurnished sort when he gets a well run race over a mile and a quarter, but even more so over 12 furlongs. He remains in my eyes as a dark horse for the Epsom Derby.
TEONA – Roger Varian
We all know the story of Enable opening her winning account on the Tapeta at Newcastle and this daughter of Sea The Stars could well be travelling down the same pathway.
Looking very much in need of the run on her debut at the Gosforth Park track, she still ran a cracker of her race behind the highly rated Sea Empress, beaten a mere length without being given too hard a time. She then took a massive step forward when returning to the track over an extra quarter of a mile when she scooted clear of her rivals. Admittedly it was a race she was entitled to win very readily, but it was the way the filly travelled through the contest and quickened up, her fractions well worth a second look, that made this a stand out performance.
Varian reports her to have wintered nicely and her work has been of the highest order this spring. An Oaks’ trial will hopefully be followed by a trip to Epsom in the first week of June in an effort to duplicate the classic record of John Gosden’s mighty mare.
EQUITATION – Stuart Williams
Many of you will find it hard to accept a fully exposed seven-year-old in my quartet to follow in 2021, but this handicapper has almost started a new career this season worthy of note.
A winner of four of his 33 starts to date, 24 of those have come over six furlongs, three over seven and one over five and a half in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster in 2019.
So in my eyes he remains unexposed over the minimum trip with the optimum conditions being a stiff track, fast pace up front and top of the ground.
That is exactly what he got on his seasonal debut at Newmarket on April 13th when flashing home up the hill to finish a closing two length third behind top weight Arecibo. I suspect the handicapper will keep him lodged on a mark of 82 – last won off 87 and in the past 12 months placed off as high as 89.
I think a return to the big Doncaster handicap is his best set-up as long as he doesn’t go up too much in the handicap. Of all the factors I have mentioned, a full on rapid end-to-end gallop is the most important factor for this son of Equiano and he seems to run particularly well at Ascot (5f) and Doncaster.
AMHRAN NA BHFIANN – Aidan O’Brien
A fracture at Naas in August curtailed his three-year-old career, a maiden when he was beaten three parts of a length by Zawara, the third a further seven lengths away.
But by far his stand-out performance came in the Epsom Derby when third behind stable mate Serpentine, beaten a shade over three lengths. On that occasion, William Buick was at pains to rush from the gate and he raced prominently in order to make the most of his stamina.
However, once there was a quickening about four and a half furlongs out, he was blatantly outpaced, only to stay on steadily down the home stretch.
That Epsom run smacked of stayer and having fully recovered from his injury, O’Brien has already suggested the further he races the better he will become and he could develop into a genuine Cup horse.