Lessons from a fascinating week

September 8th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Another Carnaby selling race has come and gone. I admit it’s like entering another world    Brighton, the town as well as the racecourse, is a bit like that anyway    and now it’s time to readjust. This was the 22nd year I’ve sponsored, initially with David Ashforth, and I can’t imagine not doing it. I’ll carry on for as long as possible.

It was an unusual day in that most of us managed a winner or two. In the end, many people at the course settled for the fact that Silvestre de Sousa was booked for Chris Dwyer’s Arcanista in my race and she won well, driven out with typical firmness by the Brazilian. I thought the best recent form belonged to Harlequin Rose and she finished second, so punters had the race pretty well worked out. Old Time Medicean held many positions and was unlucky not to finish in the frame but Tony Carroll continues in tremendous form otherwise.

In putting Solveig’s Song on the tipping line, I was hoping she’d manage a place. She won at 10/1 and there were a few things to note. Firstly, when I went through the race the night before, I thought only the two market leaders had better form (one of them was a non-runner anyway), allied to which Solveig’s Song tends to run a bit better at Brighton than anywhere else. I didn’t expect her to burst clear and it came as a welcome surprise.

She was available at 16/1 the night before, 14/1 early on the day itself and ended up at 10/1    mercifully 13/1 on the Tote. Well, there was a significant non-runner, but it just goes to show how many people are studying even the most moderate of races    many of Solveig Song’s rivals would not win a seller    with the bookmakers reacting accordingly. 

Incidentally, she is quite well named, being by Norse Dancer, because Solveig’s Song comes from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite. No one likes a clever dick, it’s true, and thinking about names doesn’t make horses run any faster. On the other hand, those with unsuitable monikers seldom win top prizes, which may be why My Volga Boatman cut little ice in the Derby a few years ago…..

I wrote about George Materna’s You’re Hired last time and he went close again at Ascot on Friday. You can’t do more than book Ryan Moore for a likely favourite (in fact he was only second-favourite in the end) and see him lead well inside the final furlong but it wasn’t to be. I hold to the opinion that it’s worth looking closely at Moore’s rides outside the Ballydoyle and Sir Michael Stoute camps because he doesn’t want to get up on anything without a clear chance, Henry Candy’s Past Master at Salisbury on Thursday being a perfect example.

These notes are written before Saturday’s racing. I’ve pushed Paul Cole’s Upstaging a little too hard and he will be only a minor recommendation at Ascot. What puts me off slightly is the modest sixth at Ffos Las last time, with the runner-up Odyssa running poorly at Salisbury on Thursday. It seems to me that Richard Hughes still has some way to go to establish himself as a trainer within hailing distance of the front rank, though these are early days and he may simply need the really good horse (or two) that can set things going. 

Of course, Odyssa may be a bit unreliable and had been running over a mile before reverting to six furlongs but the form looks fairly ordinary and it’s bound to affect my thinking where Upstaging is concerned. Then again, he had a welter burden and may have needed the outing after an absence of seven weeks. We shall see.

On another matter, owner Ray Greatorex hasn’t heard any reason why Swiss Pride stopped suddenly and was virtually pulled up at Sandown. Ray takes the view that there may be some sickness in the Hughes yard and all one can do is wait for things to turn around. Swiss Pride, who should have been around 9/2 favourite on his unlucky fourth in a Goodwood nursery, drifted like a barge out to 8/1. You can be saved by the price sometimes    as I was    and it reminds you that the odd phone call here and here will alert the layers to the fact that there’s nothing to worry about. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but Swiss Pride had to be ignored at 8/1.

I’ll bring you the latest news on that as soon as I have it. Meanwhile George M will be hoping for a good run from Open Wide at Ascot on Saturday. The horse has a tough task under top weight and needs a shade further than five furlongs but the stiff track will help and he should get the fast pace which is vital to him. George is a tremendous supporter of racing and deserves a bit of luck. I think Open Wide would have won the consolation race at Goodwood but made it into the Stewards’ cup itself, while You’re Hired should have won by a length at least at Brighton before the Ascot run. Things turn around eventually; it’s just that you need deep pockets.