Mahogany a cinch for Gold Cup
MAHOGANY's Gold Cup warm-up, a comprehensive eight-length victory over LABAN, was no joke.
Carrying topweight 126lb and having to swoop down on free-running VICTORY TURN, who ripped 22.3, 33.2, 45.1 and 57.3 into the lane, before taking over and hitting the furlong pole in 1:10.2, for a final time of 1:24.4, given only four reminders with the whip, makes Ian Parsard's chestnut an automatic choice in the real deal on Saturday.
VICTORY TURN's futile attempt at slipping the field should not be scoffed at, having clocked a finishing time of 1:27.0 for third, beating SENTIENT, AWESOME TREASURE, EL PROFESOR, EAGLE ONE and HARRY'S TRAIN.
MAHOGANY returning with topweight 126lb, five heavier than KING ARTHUR, is neither here nor there at seven furlongs. There is no runner in the event capable of carrying the splits VICTORY TURN had churned out last month without having MAHOGANY on their girth in a flash.
Stablemates PATRIARCH and GOD OF LOVE learnt that lesson the hard way, slapped away by MAHOGANY's solid 1:05.0 for five and a half furlongs in the August 3 Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission Trophy.
The beauty about MAHOGANY, since turning four, is that he no longer attempts to tear away from rivals at the start, instead making a crippling move inside the last three furlongs before hitting overdrive in the stretch run.
Omar Walker has been summoned by trainer Ian Parsard to replace Dane Dawkins, who was injured in an exercise spill on Saturday morning and missed all his rides on Tuesday's nine-race card. Walker is no stranger to MAHOGANY, having won by 10 lengths aboard the gelding last August, flirting with the eight-and-a-half furlong track record in 1:43.0.
Much is being made of three-year-old FURTHER AND BEYOND's featherweight of 108lb with Christopher Mamdeen. The three-time classic-placed colt easily beat disappointing United States-bred EXCESSIVE FORCE at seven and a half furlongs on September 27, carrying 117lb.
In receipt of weight from a bunch of older horses, FURTHER AND BEYOND sat off lazy splits being set by PRIMAL FEAR, JAMAI RAJA, EXCESSIVE FORCE and ROY ROGERS before making his bid three and a half furlongs out.
If Mamdeen believes Walker will be waiting around for him aboard MAHOGANY, he has another guess coming. Don't be surprised if MAHOGANY's stablemate, vastly-improved ROJORN DI PILOT, turns out to be the lightweight surprise of the Gold Cup.