The highlight of Saturday’s racing away from the Curragh and the Irish 2,000 Guineas is the Group Two Temple Stakes at Haydock Park. Ran over the minimum distance of five furlongs, the race usually provide more clues towards the likes of Royal Ascot and other major sprinting prizes later in the season with horses such as Dayjur and Lochsong going on from this race in their respective winning years to much greater things.
At the five day stage, there are only thirteen entries left after the original twenty nine and whilst at the current moment the field looks decent, the weather forecast of up to 25mm of rain could diminish some of the key contenders. This includes the first two from the Palace House Stakes, Sole Power and Kingsgate Native.
Sole Power has been an absolute credit to connections over the years. First coming of note when winning the Nunthorpe at a staggering 100-1, his consistency over the years at the top level has been fantastic. When given his ideal conditions, a lightening pace and quick ground, he is lethal however this huge band of rain would be a huge negative and he probably will go straight to the King’s Stand. Likewise Kingsgate Native who won this twelve months ago and for a veteran of the sprinting game still retains a high level which is extraordinary.
Just like the Palace House, Qatar Racing Limited have both Hot Streak and Pearl Secret entered. The former is top rated in this field and is also one of two top three year old sprinters that Kevin Ryan has with him the handler too of Astaire who ran well in the Duke Of York Stakes last week. The rain won’t be an issue and with him getting seven pounds with the three year old weight advantage, he looks the one to beat. Ryan also has Hamza entered and he should run his usual honest race with definite place claims.
Whilst Pearl Secret is likely to get his ground, I just feel that his preferred trip will be six furlongs especially with the way he finished off in the King’s Stand. This fragile chestnut will get his Group One win before the year is out but it will more likely be over six furlongs.
The Jim Goldie pair of Jack Dexter and Hawkeyethenoo both have a difference in preference of ground with the former wanting every drop of rain whilst the latter would like a sounder surface. However, Jack Dexter does have form on better ground and has been disappointing on both his starts this year and would need a big return to form whilst Hawkeyethenoo will probably find a few too good in this class.
The selection is the Gary Moore trained DUTCH MASTERPIECE which will please a certain person who writes for this blog! Highly thought of by connections, he first caught the eye when winning a handicap off a mark of 89 at Chester before taking a nine pound rise in his stride at Newmarket. His first try at Group level was also a successful one when winning a Group Three at the Curragh under a confident Joseph O’Brien where he beat Hamza. He was then sent off favourite for the Prix de l’Abbaye however he returned a sick horse and once beaten that day was looked after by Ryan Moore. His comeback run at Newbury can also be forgiven as he looked to need the run and the rain will definitely be in his favour. His current odds of 14/1 in a field that is very likely to cut up are pretty generous and he will definitely run into a place and does have the potential to win also.
Selection – Dutch Masterpiece – 14/1 E/W