Brendan Duke: This Ballydoyle filly can boost my street Cred’ at Gowran Park

An Aidan O'Brien runner is on Dukey's radar at the Co. Kilkenny track (4.15pm)

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We exhale. After the excitement of last weekend, we inevitably get more humdrum fare this weekend. Reflections from last weekend begin, and probably end, with Pinatubo. One of those ‘what the feckin feck?’ moments. Regularly watching racing means there’s not much we haven’t seen before. A performance like that really sticks in the mind.

While Pinatubo’s win wasn’t as visually arresting as Arazi in the Breeders Cup, it wasn’t far behind. A hell of a thing to witness. That run marks him out as one of the all-time great juveniles. Just behind Arazi to my mind. Whether he can continue to progress is another matter. He’s not that tall but neither is he as small as I was led to believe. Compact and strong, typical of his sire, is how the sales guff would describe him.

His body shape would suggest that distances around a mile would prove optimal. Given the strong stamina influences on the dams side, and how well he settles, it would be no surprise if connections were tempted by the Epsom Derby after he wins the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Hopefully he continues in good health.

A potential super freak.


We move on. There is some rain expected in Gowran on Saturday. My forecast has the bulk of it arriving after racing. Good ground is a reasonable assumption. The Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes (4.15 pm) is the feature. Credenza is the obvious one here. The negatives are that this is a fillies race in Autumn, and she had a hard race just six days ago.

The positives are that if she repeats the form of her last two runs, she should win. Also she ran her two best races last season within a four-day period in October. Her tactical versatility should also be useful in a race not loaded with obvious early pace. She will be favourite. With 14 opponents, it’s quite possible that it will be reasonably open betting.

That would enough to tempt even this fillies-race sceptic.

The rest of the card looked tricky. Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful will be hard to beat in the first at 13.35. She caught my eye in a paddock full of good looking fillies on debut in Leopardstown. She was a bit flighty in the stalls, and missed the break. Under considerate handling she wasn’t beaten far in the end. I’d expect her to come on bundles for the experience, and start living up to her looks.

Ultra Pride is worth backing to regain the winning thread in the 10 furlong handicap (4.50 pm). This horse bolted up over the same trip at the Curagh last month. He failed to defy a penalty over 12 furlongs two weeks later. He’s inclined to take a tug and I think the trip just stretched him. Returned to 10 furlongs, he remains well handicapped. The wide draw isn’t a concern as he’s one of the very few pace angles in the race.


If only for bragging rights, it will be hard to resist a stab at the Ayr Gold Cup (3.50 pm). Major Jumbo will carry my cash in a race Paddy’s paying 7 places. His last handicap run was in October last year. He won that off a mark of 102. He’s up to 108 on Saturday, but if the form of his Chester romp on penultimate start is to be believed, he’s improved enough to cope. Either side of that run he ran respectably in Group 1 company.

It’s not hard to see him making all up the stands rail.

In the race that precedes it, Al Rasmah looks overpriced at 6/1 in the Firth Of Clyde Stakes (3.15 pm). This filly was understandably green on debut at Chester. She still managed to win. The bare bones of that form doesn’t leave her with a huge amount to find. The manner of victory suggests she will find more than enough.

*Prices correct at time of publishing but are fluid

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What do you think?