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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Questions answered: big views on the hot topics and key races

Enable: brilliant winner of the King George could have the Arc at her mercy
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Is Enable a good thing for the Arc and would you go via York?

Pat Cooney, bet365 spokesman If she runs at York it will be no more than a paid piece of work, as long as Rhododendron is absent. There are only two dangers in the Arc – Almanzor and Brametot – and she’s already better than them. I’d be more worried about which stall she gets as it seems many of John Gosden’s runners in France are drawn in the car park.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to Mark Johnston The Arc is invariably the best race of the year so I don’t think you could really call any horse a good thing. A lot can happen between now and October, and horses such as Almanzor are yet to show their hand this year, but she’s proven that regardless of what the ground is, she is top class and will take a huge amount of beating wherever she goes.

Simon Marsh, director of Myriad Bloodstock Enable was very impressive on Saturday, proving she goes on any ground, and she must have a massive chance in the Arc. We’ve had horses with John Gosden for many years and if he says she’s the best filly he’s ever trained you have to sit up and listen. He has an incredible bunch of fillies this year and has already said she’ll go to York first and he knows her better than me. 

Colm O'Donoghue, jockey Yes, I think she is a good thing. Obviously she will have the weight allowance again from the older horses, but she is an exceptional filly who stays. I know Frankie Dettori holds her in very high regard and has been constantly impressed by her. As for York, Mr Gosden will know what’s best for his filly so I will leave that decision to him.

David Probert, jockey She looked in a different league at Ascot. She is the best three-year-old filly about and I would go straight for the Arc, but I have to say she looks unbeatable whatever her target is. She goes on any ground and track and is a very impressive individual.

Of the juveniles we've seen, who has impressed you most with a view to next year?

Pat Cooney Gustav Klimt looked a real 2,000 Guineas contender when overcoming traffic problems to win at Newmarket. His dam was a six-furlong filly so he’ll have no Derby aspirations and the Guineas will be his big day. Of the fillies, I like Happily. The form book shows how much she’s improved with each run so far with more to come.

Charlie Johnston From a slightly biased point of view I thought Nyaleti was hugely impressive at Ascot on Saturday. We have to hope that she has improved since Newmarket, which I think she has, otherwise September and Clemmie set a daunting standard. Our filly looks like a mile could be no problem this year – never mind next May – and she deserves to be Britain’s top filly right now.

Simon Marsh I was most impressed with The Pentagon at Leopardstown last week and he’s probably the best juvenile colt we’ve seen this year. He’s already won a Group race on just his third start and it’ll be interesting to see him if he comes to Britain. Of the fillies, Alpha Centauri is worth another chance as things didn’t pan out for her in the Albany.

Colm O'Donoghue Clemmie has been very good and has kept progressing through the year so she is one you’d have big expectations for. From my own point of view, Alpha Centauri is a filly who is exciting to be associated with. She is a big horse who should keep improving and make a lovely three-year-old.

David Probert I was very impressed by Nyaleti. I rode her stablemate in the race and she ran very well. I went a good gallop over the six furlongs but she left me for dead at the two-furlong pole – she got six or seven lengths on me, easy. My filly would pick up black type and Nyaleti looks like she will definitely improve with age.

Looking ahead to Glorious Goodwood, who wins the Sussex Stakes?

Pat Cooney I suppose Ribchester will as he was only just beaten in this a year ago and has improved about 8lb since. I wouldn’t rule out a big run from the French raider Zelzal, though. He brings a high level of form and, with Frankie Dettori booked, he looks a solid each-way alternative at the prices.

Charlie Johnston Ribchester. The three-year-olds may have taken the upper hand against their elders in the middle-distance division, but I expect him to confirm this week that the three-year-old milers still have a bit to find. He has shown himself effective on any ground and at a variety of tracks and William [Buick] seems to get a great tune out of him.

Simon Marsh It’s obviously gearing up for another of these duels and if I had to pick the winner I’d probably go with Ribchester. Although it would be great to see Churchill bounce back to form, Richard Fahey’s colt is tough and consistent and has previous experience of the track, which can be a big advantage.

Colm O'Donoghue I’d love to see Churchill win it but I think it is going to be a very tough contest. When he ran at Royal Ascot the heat was unreal, which might have had a bearing on his performance. If he comes back to his best he would be the horse they all have to beat.

David Probert Ribchester will be coming into the race from Ascot in very good heart. He is proven on quick and soft ground, was impressive at Ascot and it would definitely be Ribchester for me.

What’s your banker for Goodwood?

Pat Cooney Battaash in the King George Stakes. He broke the track record at Sandown and, if he flies out of the stalls that way again and granted fast ground, I think he’ll be away and gone.

Charlie Johnston It’s a very big week for us and I’m hopeful we are sending a strong team. The horses are going there in great form although the prospect of slow ground is unusual for Glorious Goodwood and maybe won’t suit us. Cardsharp has come out of the July Stakes in fantastic form while Mildenberger looked very useful at Newbury.

Simon Marsh She’s not really a banker as she’s been off for so long, but we are really looking forward to getting So Mi Dar back on track in the Nassau Stakes. It’s frustrating that she’s making her debut so late in the season but we are pleased with how she is at home. Winter looks a worthy favourite but, if it were to turn soft, a stamina test would suit our filly.

Colm O'Donoghue Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. I thought James Doyle was excellent on him at Ascot and I feel his performances this season have been even better than last year. He loves Goodwood and I don’t see anything beating him.

David Probert Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. He was very impressive in the Gold Cup at Ascot and I think he will be very hard to beat. We already know how much he enjoys the track and the race looks pretty much set up for him.

Big Orange: will be the centre of attention at Goodwood on Tuesday

And give us one or two for the handicaps at Goodwood or Galway

Pat Cooney I like Polybius in the Stewards’ Cup. He was beaten only a length when fourth in the Wokingham and was unlucky back at Ascot over five furlongs last time. He’ll need a good draw and luck in running, but looks just the type. Also Secret Advisor looks well weighted off 96 in the Matchbook Handicap on Wednesday. He’s improving with each outing and looks sure to run well.

Charlie Johnston Rufus King controls the weights in the six-furlong nursery and he should take a lot of beating. Love Dreams was a horse we thought a huge amount of as a two-year-old before injury curtailed his season. He was impressive at Newmarket last weekend and is up to a mark of 100, but I hope he’ll be out of handicap company after the seven-furlong race on Saturday.

Simon Marsh The draw is all important at Goodwood especially in races like the Betfred Mile, but I did happen to see GM Hopkins work when I was in Newmarket the other day and he looks in good form. The last time he ran in the race I think he was drawn widest of all so he deserves a change of luck.

Colm O'Donoghue As a general comment, the British challengers at Galway always tend to be quite strong. I won on Baraweez for Brian Ellison a couple of years ago and I could see him running well there again this week. I think Mr Ellison trains him for the meeting so he should show up well once more.

David Probert I like the Hunt Cup winner Zhui Feng, who goes for the Betfred Mile. It is a pace track and he has speed to burn, and as he made all at Ascot he is bound to be thereabouts. Dark Shot, who I ride tomorrow at Goodwood, ran well in the Dash and is very consistent. He is a bit of a dark horse as he needs the race run to suit, but if he gets it he would be one of my best chances of the week.

Has Bryan Cooper been harshly treated by Gigginstown?

Pat Cooney No. I just feel Gigginstown’s set-up is too big for a number-one retained rider and perhaps he’s better off not making the decisions – it must be tough having to pick one out of five or six with similar chances in those wide-open handicap chases. I’d put Jack Kennedy ahead of him, but he’ll still be in demand, including in Britain.

Charlie Johnston He’s obviously had a tough time with some major injuries at fairly regular intervals for the past few years. However, Davy Russell has shown that losing the job does not prevent you from riding major winners for Gigginstown and I’m sure that will be the same case for Bryan.

Simon Marsh It’s not really my area, but the owners have announced they are no longer retaining him yet he is being used by them this week. How does that work? 

Bryan Cooper: Gold Cup winning jockey won't be short of takers after his split with Gigginstown

Colm O'Donoghue In a way, yes, because he has been unfortunate with injuries and when he has had the material in the big races he has produced the goods. He is a very, very good rider and is still very young. This is something that has happened in his career but he will bounce back.

David Probert That’s hard to know. He is a very talented rider, is always in the right spot at the right time in his races and I’m sure he will have plenty of opportunities for trainers and other owners. It’s a shame it had to come to an end.

We've had horses with John Gosden for many years and if he says she's the best filly he's ever trained you have to sit up and listen
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