September’s bonanza of racing was concluded at the weekend with the prestigious Cambridgeshire meeting. Two group ones, an informative group two, and the Cambridgeshire handicap itself all yielded winners etched into their history books. Here’s three things that we have learnt from this weekend’s racing.
What We Learned From the Weekend - 01/10/2018
O’Brien dominates the weekend cards
There are no boundaries to the feats Aidan O’Brien achieves these days, and it seems to be just another day at the office when he hoses up most of the lucrative prizes on offer at courses across the UK and Ireland.
Out of the seven group races at Newmarket and Naas this weekend, O’Brien snaffled six of them, and finished second in the other one. Fairyland and Ten Sovereigns scored at the top level in the Cheveley and Middle Park Stakes, Mohawk and Japan struck in the Royal Lodge and Beresford Stakes, while Hermosa and Cypress Creek registered pattern glory at group three level.
Remarkably, most of these horses were all affected by the bug that blighted to Ballydoyle outset this summer. It takes the master craft of a training icon to nurse these horses back to their very best. O’Brien showcased that this weekend.
The Ballydoyle maestro is making up for lost time in emphatic fashion, and with many more lucrative prizes still on offer this season, keep a watchful eye on O’Brien.
Ten Sovereigns could be a potential champion sprinter
Sticking with team Coolmore, the aforementioned Ten Sovereigns showed guts and class when breaking his duck at the highest level in the Middle Park Stakes to keep his unbeaten record intact.
The son of No Nay Never was pushed all the way to the line by Jash, but Ten Sovereigns was always in control and pulled away to win by half a length.
The immediate afterthought to the race was his prospects of returning to the Rowley Mile next May in the 2000 Guineas, which, if he turns up, could potentially be one of the races of the century.
At this stage, he is Ballydoyle’s number one hope for the first classic of the season, but given the prospects of a hot field for the Guineas, alongside prize money and stud value to consider, it could prove to be a shrewd and tactically classy move by Aidan O’Brien to aim him at the Commonwealth Cup.
The 2000 Guineas can sometimes be the graveyard for horses, and given the question surrounding his ability to stay too, Ten Sovereigns was an eye catcher this weekend as a potential champion sprinter.
Two-year-old fillies’ division is wide open
While the pecking order of the top juvenile colts is coming to fruition, the hierarchy of their female counterparts is significantly muddied.
The Cheveley Park Stakes on Saturday was expected to confirm Pretty Pollyanna as the cream of the crop, but the Michael Bell-trained filly could get no closer than fourth behind Fairyland.
If it wasn’t to be her, then many had Signora Cabello as the super sub, but she trailed in last of the runners in a disappointing end to her season.
To add even more complexity to the mix, the Aidan O’Brien duo of Just Beautiful and Hermosa put up impressive performances in the Rockfel and Weld Park Stakes respectively, but both were comprehensively beaten by Skitter Scatter in the Moyglare Stud Stakes earlier this month.
The merry-go-round of this division seems to keep on spinning, and with only a few filly-only prizes, alongside the likelihood many of these are to be given their winter break, it’s likely the two-year-old fillies division won’t have a crowned champion.