Andrew Balding: Pivoine expected to run well in Canada
The Betway ambassador previews his runners at York, Newmarket, Goodwood, Maisons-Laffitte and Woodbine this weekend.
It’s that time of year where the ground starts to change and there will be plenty of races cut up and you never quite know what you’re going to get.
There is plenty of great racing towards the back-end of the campaign and we’ll no doubt see some stars of the future in the plethora of two-year-olds racing this weekend.
I can’t believe it has been 30 years since Dad won the Dewhurst with Dashing Blade. We don’t have a runner in the race this year, although everyone looks like they will be playing for second place behind Pinatubo, who has been exceptional this season.
It would be great to see a good performance from Positive, to frank the form of the Betway Solario Stakes, where we finished a very close second with Kameko.
Berkshire Rocco (14:20 Newmarket)
He ran well in two good maidens before getting off the mark at Chester last time out over seven-and-a-half furlongs.
On official ratings, he does have a bit to find, but he’s not short of ability and is bred to stay further. Since becoming a pattern race, this race has increased in popularity, making it tougher to win, and this year looks no different.
We’d be delighted for him to finish in the first four.
Ranch Hand (16:10 Newmarket)
He has won three of his five career starts and the only times he’s tasted defeat were in the Lingfield Derby Trial behind the eventual Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy in July.
He is clearly well-fancied by plenty as his price would suggest but this is a very difficult race for three-year-olds. He should stay. He’s by a Melbourne Cup winner, his dam stayed well and she was a sister to an Imperial Cup winner – so it would be a surprise if he didn’t appreciate a long-distance trip.
He won well at Haydock last time out on soft ground but may just lack the experience of some of the others, so we’d be delighted if he were to get placed.
Look Around (17:20 Newmarket)
She’s had a good season and gives her all every time she runs. She has some very decent form in the bag this season and has been placed at Group level, which is always great for fillies and mares.
There would be a slight concern over the ground being too soft, but she should be in the mix on the best of her form.
Johnny Drama (15:15 York)
He was disappointing last time out, but nothing came to light as to why – it was just one of those things. He appears in great form at home and will love the ground at York.
Everything looks to be in his favour, and he should have every chance on just his fourth run for our yard.
Fox Duty Free (16:25 York)
He had a good debut at Newbury and looked as though he’d be soon winning after that performance.
He was a bit disappointing in the Convivial at York but he wasn’t himself when he came back. He has had some time off and appears in much better form now.
Slow ground shouldn’t be a problem and a reproduction of his debut run should see him go close.
Shadn (13:35 Maisons-Laffitte)
She has had a great first season and has been very consistent. She finished a very good second behind the colts in the Mill Reef at Newbury last time and, on all known form, she looks to have every chance.
There would be a slight concern about the ground, it could be very testing. However, we do have recent Arc-winning jockey, Pierre-Charles Boudot in the saddle.
Pivoine (10:42 Woodbine)
He’s flying the flag for us over at Woodbine in the Canadian International and we’re pleased that he travelled over so well and looked great before he boarded the plane.
I’m surprised at how much the race has cut up, there are only six runners declared. The French horse Ziyoud has some good form, as does Desert Encounter, who beat us at Windsor last time out.
Conditions will be in his favour and he’ll love the galloping track and quicker ground, which are similar to the conditions he faced at York when he was successful earlier this summer.
It’s a very valuable race and we’re hopeful of a very good run.
Damage Control (16:15 Goodwood)
He ran very well at Nottingham on Wednesday and turns out again on Sunday. We don’t normally run ours again so quickly, but he has come out of the race well and appeared to appreciate cut in the ground, which he will get. He looks to have every chance.
Lariat (16:50 Goodwood)
We skipped the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket on Friday in favour of this race and we hope we’ve made the right decision.
He’s ultra-consistent, always gives his best and will love the testing conditions. He’s off to the sales after this race, so it would be great to see him win for Mick and Janice Mariscotti, who are huge supporters of our yard.
Barossa Red (17:25 Goodwood)
Another who is off to the sales after this run. He is a horse who deserves a bit of luck – the last two times he’d been declared to run, the meetings have been abandoned.
He loves soft ground and has showed that in two recent starts at Haydock, where has won and finished second. He’s in great form and should take all of the beating.
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