Things We Learned » Notebook horse

Notebook horse

Rubina travelled really well through the early stages of the Moyglare Stud Stakes on Sunday, she just got outpaced when Maybe quickened from the front, but she stayed on best of all and just missed out on third place.

Although Rubina had the pace to win over six furlongs on her debut, she is out of the Kahyasi mare Riyafa who won a listed race over 12 furlongs at Ascot on soft ground, she is a half-sister to some talented middle-distance performers, including the Newmarket Pretty Polly Stakes winner Riyalma, and she races as if she will be even better when presented with a greater test of stamina.  She could be high class over middle distances next season.

In the shorter term, she will be interesting if she is stepped up to a mile later this season, perhaps for the Fillies’ Mile or the Criterium International.  The easier autumn ground should also be in her favour.  This was just the third race of her life, and she should continue to progress.

Notebook race

The Listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes at Galway on Monday evening.  The winner Zanughan has always been highly thought-of by John Oxx, he was sent off the 9/2 second favourite behind Recital for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in May, and this was his first run since.  He was stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time, and the manner in which he stayed on up the hill at the end of a truly-run race suggests that another step up in trip may bring about even further improvement.

Runner-up Spin made a gallant effort to lead all the way in a race in which it appeared to be an advantage to be held up, she was fourth in the Galtres Stakes at York on her previous run, and she remains progressive; third-placed Address Unknown is good enough to win a one of these listed races; fourth-placed Steps To Freedom lost five or six lengths at the start and did remarkably well to stay on as well as he did to finish as close as he did, given that he ran into traffic and had to race widest of all around the home turn.

Furthermore, the time of the race was the best comparative time on the day, it was almost four seconds and five seconds faster than the other two 12-furlong races run on the day respectively, and it would not be surprising if at least one or two of the protagonists went on to significantly better things.

Weight matters

When Joseph O’Brien shared the apprentices’ championship with Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis after the last race on the last day of last season, all the talk was that his days as a flat race jockey were numbered, that it was good that he managed to get a title under his belt because, hugely talented rider though he undoubtedly was, he would not be able to remain light enough to allow him get a good run at the game.

Eight months on, the anticipated weight explosion hasn’t happened.  The youngster’s weight seems to be stabilising now at the age of 18, so that he can ride comfortably at 9st 1lb, and when he needs to do 9st, like on Maybe last Sunday, he can do it easily enough, which is remarkable for a lad who is as tall as he is.

Last season, he rode 39 winners in Ireland.  This season to date, by the end of August, he has already equalled last season’s tally, and he has booted home his first couple of Group 1 winners for good measure.  Long Fellows have been known to make it to the very top as flat race jockeys and stay there, and there is no reason why Joseph O’Brien cannot.

Ante post watch

Three-year-olds have won seven of the last eight renewals and 14 of the last 17 renewals of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, so with older horses filling the first three places in the current ante post lists, taking out over 51% of the market even at best prices, surely there is value to be had among the three-year-olds lurking mid-table.

Time warp

If you are planning to attend the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown today, or to watch it live on RTE, be sure to set your watch to Moscow time.

© The Irish Field, 3rd September 2011