Donn's Articles » This year’s juveniles (Q&A)

This year’s juveniles


1.  What has been the knockout juvenile performance for you so far this season?

There was an awful lot to like about the performance that Miss Amulet put up in winning the Lowther Stakes.  She saw daylight from flagfall and she had to do a lot of running on her own towards the near side as Wings Of A Dove spearheaded the pace on the far side.  As well as that, she had to be tough after she hit the front.  It looked like Sacred was coming to get her – William Haggas’ filly traded at 1.15 in-running – but she battled back bravely to win by a length.

We learned new things about Ken Condon’s filly that day.  We learned that she was brave and tough and that she could see out six furlongs.  She had been progressive over five before that, she had won her maiden at Cork by five lengths, and she had beaten Frenetic and Measure Of Magic in a listed race at Naas over the minimum trip.  She has stepped forward with every race that she has run, and the Lowther Stakes form has been enhanced already, with Sacred subsequently going down by just a short head in the Flying Childers at Doncaster, and third-placed Umm Kulthum winning the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr last week.  Miss Amulet has changed ownership, but she remains with Ken Condon, and she could step forward again in the Cheveley Park Stakes on Saturday.

2.  Do the bookies have it right with Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon the general 7/1 favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas?

This year’s Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes was a messy affair, it was slowly-run, there were hard luck stories, and the winning time was over a second slower than the time that Shale clocked in winning the Moyglare Stud Stakes over the same course and distance a half an hour earlier.  That said, you had to have been really impressed with the performance that Thunder Moon put up in winning the race.

He was locked away on the rail as they passed the two-furlong marker just behind the pace-setters, who were starting to fall back into his lap.  It all got a little tight, and by the time he got out into the clear, they were passing the furlong pole and Master Of The Seas had made his ground uninterrupted down the outside and had set sail for home.  But when Declan McDonogh asked Thunder Moon to pick up, the turn of foot that he showed was seriously impressive.  He was level with the Godolphin colt before the 100-yard mark, and he powered on to win by a length and a half from Wembley, who stayed on down the near side to snatch second place.   

It was a really impressive performance by Joseph O’Brien’s colt.  He had been impressive in winning his maiden on his racecourse debut over six furlongs at The Curragh last month, but he stepped up to a new level in winning the National Stakes.  A half-brother to Table Rock, who won a listed race at Newmarket over a mile and a nine-furlong handicap in Hong Kong, and to Jaqen H’Ghar, who won over a mile and a half, he should get a mile at least, and he deserved the Guineas quotes that accompanied his National Stakes victory. 

3.  Which colt do you expect to really throw their hat into the ring over the next couple of months?

Lucky Vega appears to have ducked under the radar a little after his defeat in the National Stakes, but he was the main sufferer in the scrimmaging that occurred on the run to the furlong marker that day.  You can simply disregard the run.  It was a non-event for him.

Winner of his maiden on his racecourse debut at Naas in June on the day that racing resumed in Ireland, he was beaten on his next run in the Group 2 Railway Stakes, but he was only beaten a half a length by Laws Of Indices, and that was on the back of an interrupted preparation.

Jessica Harrington’s colt had a clear run into his next race, his last before the National Stakes, the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh over six furlongs in early August, when he showed an impressive turn of foot to quickly end the race as a contest, coming clear of his rivals and leaving the impression that he had more in hand than the three-and-a-half-length winning margin.

By Lope De Vega and a half-brother to Lady Clair, a three-time winner over the minimum trip, it may be that six furlongs is more his distance than seven for now, and it is interesting that rider Shane Foley nominated the Middle Park Stakes as the race for him quite quickly after the National Stakes.  With all the concentration on the top three in the market for Saturday’s race, Minzaal, Method and Supremacy, he could be the forgotten horse of the race.

4.  The long-range 1000 Guineas picture looks wide open at present – which filly appears set to take the autumn by storm?

Not sure about taking the autumn by storm, but Thunder Beauty looks like a filly for the future.  A daughter of Night Of Thunder, she was impressive in winning her maiden at The Curragh at the end of July and, pitched into the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on just her second run, she performed more than satisfactorily.

She finished just fifth in the end behind old adversaries Shale and Pretty Gorgeous, but she was only beaten a total of three and a half lengths.  As well as that, she was last early on and she had to make her ground widest of all.  Passing the furlong marker, it looked like her run might take her into third place, but she just flattened out a little close home, as lack of a recent run probably told.  Even so, it was a really good run in Group 1 company for one so inexperienced.  She proved that she belongs in this grade.

Her pedigree suggests more middle-distance than mile, but she had the pace to win on her debut over six furlongs, and she is by a Guineas winner from the family of a German Guineas winner, so next year’s Guineas is not an unrealistic aspiration.  In the shorter term, she could be a lively outsider in the Fillies’ Mile.

5.  Is there a once-raced maiden winner you’re desperate to see again before the year is out?

There was a lot to like about the performance that High Definition put up in winning his maiden at The Curragh in August.  He was dropped in early on by Wayne Lordan from his high draw, and he was still just about last as they passed the two-furlong marker.  He didn’t show push-button acceleration from there, but he stayed on strongly and willingly to come from an unlikely position, passing seven rivals inside the final furlong to hit the front 50 yards out and win by three parts of a length from Wordsworth, going away.

It was a really likeable performance by Aidan O’Brien’s colt, who was only joint-fourth in the market behind his stable companion and fellow racecourse debutant Wordsworth, and there could be significant progress forthcoming now.  By Galileo out of Cairn Rouge Stakes winner Palace, and a half-brother to Beresford Stakes winner Innisfree, he holds entries in the Royal Lodge Stakes and the Beresford Stakes on Saturday, and he will be of interest if he lines up in either.  Longer term, he could progress to be a high-class middle-distance colt next season. 

 ©, 24th September 2020