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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Workforce to cast shadow over Eclipse rivals

The Coral Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday is traditionally the first chance of the flat season to see the classic generation up against the older horses but there is no 3 year old in the line up this time. Instead the interest comes from seeing Europe's top middle distance horse in last year's Derby & Arc hero Workforce against the best Australia has to offer in So You Think, now with Aidan O'Brien and top English filly Snow Fairy.

Workforce was last seen winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard stakes over the same course and distance at the end of May, and although not having to run to the same level as when winning Group Ones last year it was a satisfactory return to action. The horse is able to quicken and clearly stays well as shown when winning the Arc in soft ground over a mile and a half, with a pacemaker in the field his trainer Sir Michael Stoute is clearly hoping to dictate the pace and get the tactics right to suit Workforce. The biggest worry surrounding Workforce isn't his ability or even rivals but instead his trainer's poor run of form which now stretches 19 days and 31 raced horses without a winner, this probably shows the lack of quality the stable has in the 3 year old division than any real illness problems.

So You Think was all the rage in the Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot but was beaten by Godolphin's Rewilding in a race subsequently dominated by headlines of Frankie Dettori's whip use. So You Think had been incredibly impressive in Australia last year and in its two races in Ireland this year however it should be noted that the middle distance division in Australia is nowhere near as celebrated as the sprint division and the opposition in Ireland was meek. Aidan O'Brien blamed himself for the loss noting that he didn't have the horse spot on but with 2 races under the belt that seems unlikely and more likely is the fact that after Coolmore paid $25m Australian for a majority interest they couldn't admit the horse was beaten by a mere good horse in Rewilding due to potential stud value plummeting.

Workforce's stable mate Confront is a likely pacemaker but neither he or the likeable Sri Putra are likely to have the class to trouble the top 2, however if Snow Fairy was fully fit and ran to her best she could provide an upset. It is worrying that she was due to run last weekend in the Pretty Polly stakes at the Curragh and it can prove tricky to keep horses ticking over once they've been aimed at a different race.

Looking at the line of form Workforce & So You Think have with Rewilding suggests that Workforce has a few pounds in hand over his Antipodean rival and although the stable form is a real concern it should be remembered that the horse runs the race not the trainer. At odds of 15/8 versus So You think at a shade of odds on, the value bet is to side with the proven Workforce in a race that is likely to be run to suit with a pacemaker and proven stayer in Snow Fairy taking part.

Selection: Workforce at 15/8 and bigger (various firms)


1 comment:

  1. Have to agree with this assessment I thought this would be priced up with nothing to choose between the two, I know the Australian's run their horses more often but that was a hard race for So You Think at Ascot whilst Workforce is primed for this.