Outbreak, so impressive when an unchallenged second time out winner at Salisbury a fortnight ago, attempts to supplement those gains by defying a 7lbs penalty in the 14-runner Novice Stakes over a mile of ‘good to firm’ Ayr this afternoon when the three-day(s) ‘Gold Cup’ fixture gets underway; Mark Johnston will be keen to get his Middleham ‘juggernaut’ on the road in his native homeland.
Our ‘winning-most’ trainer was apparently somewhat surprised when Oisin Murphy-ridden Outbreak stormed clear to beat Point Lynas by five lengths, even though the Dark Angel was even-money favourite; ‘Johnno’ doesn’t ‘waste races’ with long expensive journeys, his modus operandi always has purpose and I simply can’t believe he didn’t know about the potential of Outbreak, an outstanding prospect judged on the time-handicap mark achieved. Joe Fanning rides, none better!
There are few two-year-olds which have caught my eye this season but Outbreak is an exception; ‘definitely one to follow’ was my mental note as he hit the line and subsequent computation confirmed the impression. This game is all about opinions and I’ve been right enough times to proffer them.
Close scrutiny of his rivals turned up no serious danger which means Outbreak represents a ‘professional special’ for a columnist unconcerned about starting prices; there is nothing one can do about them, no longer do I have any influence because they are compiled in a studio, not on racecourses where my movements and activity used to play a vital role in determining prices.
I’ll give you an instance; last weekend with the usual approach I nominated Freyabella as a solid nap and it opened generally at 7/2. All of a sudden there was a world-wide rush and she finished up winning at 11/8. Sometimes it works the other way, but not often.
Mark is always prepared to cast his net wide and Tippy Toes, second in all three races to date, has an excellent chance of breaking this unfortunate sequence in an eight-runner Fillies’ Novice Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ ground Yarmouth, where Ryan Moore is booked for the 79-rated Havana Gold filly. An extra furlong should be ideal.
Finally, at ‘good to firm’ Pontefract, don’t miss twice-raced Zoom Tiger in the ten-runner Maiden Stakes over a mile, trained by Andrew Balding who is throwing everything at the Championsip .
I’ll play a ‘trixie’ with my firm fancies.
Selections, Ayr, 1.50 Outbreak; Yarmouth, 2.05 Tippy Toes (e.w); Pontefract, 4.35 Zoom Tiger (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019