Putting up a once-raced horse who won by a wide margin has the potential to leave me with egg on my face, but there are enough negatives, along with the obvious positives, to suggest Brentford Hope could be the type who’ll be over-bet when he reappears. First of all the positives, yes, he was impressive when scoring at Newmarket last back-end, showing a turn of foot at odds with his stamina-laden pedigree, and he has the physique to progress at three (good-bodied colt). It’s not hard to pick holes in the form, though, as the runner-up has since proved a disappointment in Meydan, the market leaders in fourth and fifth had excuses on the day and the pair who were trained by John Gosden have already been moved on to other yards. An entry in the Irish Derby suggests connections will be aiming high when Brentford Hope returns to the track and I’ll be looking to take him on with more solid alternatives.
An excellent performance on debut from BRENTFORD HOPE (by Camelot) who takes the (15:05) Maiden Stakes at @NewmarketRace, for @RHughesracing, in some style! 🏇— Timeform Live (@TimeformLive) October 23, 2019
An ultra-confident ride by @JPSPENCER1980!
There’s no doubt that Enable is a fantastic mare, successful on 13 of her 15 starts, including in 10 Group 1s, and this is in no way a criticism of her or her record. However, I’m going to be keen to oppose her this year. Her best performance last year came when forced to pull out all of the stops by Crystal Ocean in the King George, running to a Timeform rating of 131, but even that figure leaves her shy of the career-best 134 she recorded in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a three-year-old. It’s understandable that she’s below her peak, because of time and injury, and it’s reasonable to expect her to deteriorate further in her six-year-old campaign. Furthermore, her campaign is going to revolve around being spot on for the Arc; it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that she will be undercooked when she does make her reappearance.
Land of Oz
It’s fairly obvious that any horse that wins half a dozen handicaps in a season is likely to find it much tougher the following campaign, but the chances are that Land of Oz will still attract plenty of support whenever he runs in 2020. Yet in our opinion he’ll need to go on again if he’s to enjoy anything like the same success. As a colt with a fair bit of size and scope it’s possible he will indeed progress further as a four-year-old, but he had plenty of advantages as he climbed the handicapping ranks last season, not least his three-year-old allowance as he brushed aside older horses in no fewer than four handicaps. He didn’t look altogether straightforward on occasions, either, pulling his chance away when sent off one of the market leaders for the Cesarewitch on his final outing. Land of Oz will be on a career-high BHA mark of 93 when he returns and, whilst Sir Mark Prescott might be one of the best around at placing his horses, it’s worth noting that his record with older handicappers in recent years is nothing to write home about.
Ger Lyons’ Siskin remains a horse with plenty of questions to answer despite his high reputation. He’s currently available at 5-2 for the Irish 2000 Guineas and, on the face of things, would appear to have impressive credentials. After all, he’s unbeaten in four races, including the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. Dig a little deeper, though, and all those wins can all be questioned to varying degrees, not least on the clock. In none of his four wins did he record a timefigure better than 95, and even after sectional upgrades are factored in he still figures on a relatively low 107. In three of those four wins he faced only four opponents and even beat the same horse – Middle Park and Dewhurst flop Monarch Of Egypt – in his last two wins. Raced only at six furlongs so far, Siskin has to prove that he is effective at a mile and also that his behaviour at the start of the Middle Park, when rearing in the stalls and being withdrawn, was a one-off. Throw in the fact that any number of his contemporaries could have improved significantly since last seen - and several will have done unknown to us given the information vacuum that has existed since late March – then Siskin’s current Irish Guineas price looks pretty skinny.
Great race! 🏇🇮🇪— Timeform Live (@TimeformLive) August 9, 2019
Despite the soft ground, SISKIN remains unbeaten with a gutsy performance in the (Group 1) Phoenix Stakes at @curraghrace - a first Irish Group 1 for @ctkjockey and @gerlyonsracing 👏
📽️ @RacingTV pic.twitter.com/c2kQRDuYd5