HAVE you ever felt like you’re swimming against the tide? Putting in the effort but not actually getting anywhere.
You kick, splash and heave, slowly but surely becoming fatigued, all the while knowing that survival depends on stamina - to stop is to surrender. You stop – you sink.
As the evenings shorten and the rain returns, it’s easy to feel like we are being forcibly pushed backward by restrictions. To many people, the prospect of simply staying afloat looks a best-case scenario for the remainder of 2020.
From an industry perspective, we must continue to swim even as the coronavirus tide swells and the Brexit storms swirls. We must keep kicking... it’s all we know.
Listowel might have been a skeleton of its usual self this week but some things never change. Competitive racing, quality coverage from TG4 and a big winner for Willie Mullins with Cabaret Queen in the Kerry National!
Looking ahead to this weekend, our attention is back at Newmarket for a pair of juvenile Group 1 races with considerable Irish interest.
Curragh trainer Ken Condon has enjoyed a remarkable season with a variety of horses from Romanised to Laws Of Indices. Naturally, these talented horses are subject to sales and private acquisitions, some are bought to race on elsewhere but if you’re really lucky, these talented horses will remain in the yard after the deal is done!
Miss Amulet was one such story this season, having been recently purchased by Mrs Doreen Tabor ahead of a tilt at tomorrow’s Cheveley Park Stakes.
Miss Amulet has been somewhat of a fairytale story herself having been purchased as a foal by Eleanor Dunne for just €1,000 and then sold to BBA Ireland for £7,500. Following her win in last month’s Lowther Stakes at York where she beat Sacred and Umm Kulthum, her previous owner Colm Griffin sold her privately for what can only be assumed a massive return on his initial £7,500 investment!
Mrs Tabor, better known for her association with fellow Coolmore partners, enjoys racing high-class fillies and mares. Just last season, she acquired Nicky Henderson’s classy hurdler Verdana Blue having previously enjoyed success with Refinement in the national hunt sphere.
Miss Amulet has proven herself the best sprinting juvenile filly in Ireland and now she has the opportunity to stamp her authority at the highest level in Britain. While she has already beaten a number of these rivals on her previous outings, Miss Amulet will have to bring her A-Game to match the likes of Dandalla, Alcohol Free and Happy Romance amongst many others.
That said, she is a filly full of potential coming from a yard where similar sentiments apply. Is it possible that the filly foal that cost just €1,000 can win a Group 1 at Newmarket? Absolutely!
Then it’s over to the colts for the Middle Park Stakes where trainer Martyn Meade has booked a certain Frankie Dettori to ride his unbeaten colt Method in the six-furlong Group 1 event. The pair teamed up to brilliant effect with Advertise and now, Meade turns once again to the Italian maestro for this very important test.
Bought for €16,000 as a foal at the Goffs November Sale and sold as a yearling to Dermot Farrington for £20,000, Method has impressed on his two starts to date including a comfortable display in the Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury.
Unusually, Method along with his main market rivals Minzaal and Supremacy are all sired by Tally Ho’s first season sire Mehmas – an achievement for any stallion to sire a trio of such quality never mind from his first crop!
Market leaders’ aside, I think the British trained trio will have to be pretty special to cope with Lucky Vega if Jessica Harrington decides to let her Phoenix Stakes winner travel across the Irish Sea.
Harrington’s yard has operated with a level of consistency that few can match this season and despite a luckless run in the National Stakes last time, Lucky Vega already boasts his strongest form at six furlongs.
We don’t have many parallels of form between the British and Irish juveniles so far this season but that is exactly why these races are Group 1’s – this is the litmus test.