Things We Learned » Sruthan/cahan


Do you get mixed up between Sruthan and Srucahan? And did the fact that both of them won at The Curragh on Sunday help you in terms of differentiating between the two of them, or hinder you?

Here’s a quick way to remember. One of them is trained by Paul Deegan while the other is trained by … Try this one: one is a bay gelding out of the Mark Of Esteem mare Giveupyeraulsins, while the other is … No wonder you get confused. It’s like the Spot The Difference competition in the Sunday Press.

Here’s the difference. Srucahan is the older sibling who has run 36 times in his life. Despite this, he probably put up the best performance of his career on Sunday when he won the big six-furlong handicap at The Curragh off a mark of 87, picking up impressively on the far side, under largely just a hands-and-heels ride from Chris Hayes, to beat Norville by a half a length, with daylight back to Tylery Wonder in third.

He raced in a visor for the first time, replacing his customary blinkers, and without the hood that he wore on his first two runs this season. He has his moments, but Deegan has obviously found the key to him, and he could progress again, even off a 7lb higher mark.

Sruthan is a year younger than his brother, and he was racing for just the seventh time in his life on Sunday. Unraced as a juvenile, he shaped like a classy performer last season as a three-year-old, winning the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at The Curragh on just his second run and rounding off the season by landing the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Tipperary in October.

He was making his seasonal debut in the Group 3 Gladness Stakes on Sunday, and the performance that he put up in winning suggests that he has progressed again during the winter. Settling well in his first-time hood, he showed a fine turn of foot to catch and pass the talented Custom Cut at the furlong pole before coming away to win by a length and a half, eased down.

His trainer said afterwards that there was more to come and, if that is the case, he deserves his chance in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud, apparently his next intended target. Deegan has his team in sparkling form – he sent just Prince Of All to Dundalk on Wednesday, and he won – and it could pay to follow all his horses for another little while at least, if not for the entire season.

So how do you remember the difference? Sru-cahan is the five-year-old, five letters after the common ‘Sru’. Sru-than is the four-year-old, four letters after the common ‘Sru’. Not sure how you’re going to differentiate next year, but that method is good for a season.


Remarkable the difference a different ride can make.

Gabrial’s Kaka was well-fancied for the Lincoln at Doncaster three weeks ago, everything was in place for a big run. The ground was soft, but he had proven at Thirsk last September that he could operate on easy ground. He raced prominently and hit the front fully three furlongs from home before fading to finish a not-disgraced-but-still-fairly-well-beaten sixth of the 17 runners.

Last Saturday in the Spring Cup at Newbury, different story. Held up last of the far-side group in the early stages by Jamie Spencer, and close to last overall as the three-furlong pole whizzed past, he made his ground between horses on the far side, struck the front inside the final furlong, and kept on well to win by a length and a half.

Perhaps the better ground helped Richard Fahey’s horse on Saturday, and perhaps he was sharper for his seasonal debut in the Lincoln, but the probability is that the main difference between Gabrial’s Kaka’s performance in the Lincoln and Gabrial’s Kaka’s performance in the Spring Cup were the tactics employed. And Jamie Spencer is a master when it comes to the tactics employed.

Fastnet rocks

Saturday was a good day for the Coolmore stallion Fastnet Rock, with Fascinating Rock winning the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Navan and Palace running out an impressive winner of the concluding fillies’ maiden.

Fastnet Rock was a top class sprinter in Australia. He won the Group 1 Lightning Stakes over five furlongs and the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate over six, and was crowned champion three-year-old colt and champion sprinter in Australia in 2004/05. He has sired 15 Group 1 winners in the southern hemisphere and, with his eldest northern hemisphere offspring just turned three this year, he could be in for an exciting time of it now in this part of the world.

Fascinating Rock was beaten on his only run as a juvenile last October, but the Dermot Weld-trained colt was impressive in winning his maiden on heavy ground at Leopardstown late last month, and he was even more impressive in winning the Ballysax on Saturday. He shapes as if he will stay a mile and a half and, now that Free Eagle has regrettably suffered a setback, he could emerge as a genuine Derby hope for his trainer.

Palace did not race last year as a juvenile, but she shaped encouragingly on her racecourse debut at Leopardstown two and a half weeks ago. The Aidan O’Brien-trained filly showed the benefit of that experience on Saturday, showing a nice turn of foot on the easy ground to come from well back and win going away. The winning time was good, and the filly who finished fifth, Princess Tamay, came out and won a handicap at Dundalk on Wednesday.

Fascinating Rock and Palace should both progress again, and both could be worth following for a while.

Cuba continues

Cubanita, winner of the Group 3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury on heavy ground last October the last time we saw her, proved that she didn’t need bottomless ground to be at her best when she won the Group 3 John Porter Stakes back over the same course and distance on Saturday on ground described as good, good to soft in places.

It is a bold move by her owner/breeder Kirsten Rausing to keep the Selkirk mare in training because, as a Group 3 winner, she would have been a significant addition to her broodmare band had she been retired at the end of last season as a four-year-old.

Of course, the primary objective of the project will be to secure at least a Group 2 win, and, ideally, a Group 1, and that is entirely possible. Her trainer Ralph Beckett has his horses in top form at present, and he is particularly adept with fillies, as evidenced by an Oaks win (Look Here) and an Oaks 1-2 (Talent and Secret Gesture) in the space of six years.

On Saturday’s evidence, Cubanita has probably progressed again from four to five, and she deserves a shot at a Group 1 prize now. Her trainer mentioned the Tattersalls Gold Cup as an option, and why not? She would be of interest in that race, especially if the ground came up on the easy side at The Curragh on Guineas weekend, which is never beyond the bounds of possibility.

Gosden still flying

John Gosden’s horses continue to be in ridiculously good form. Between last Friday and this Wednesday inclusive, he sent out 15 runners, and 10 of them won. They included Kingman, the new black, and a clutch of favourites and odds-on winners, but there was also a 10/1 shot and a 7/1 shot among the winners.

You have to look twice at everything Gosden runs these days. If he put a saddle on the stable cat and ran him in the maiden at Yarmouth on Monday, you would have to be interested in him at a double-figure price.

© The Irish Field, 19th April 2014