Don't rule out Reggae Road
THE 'official' Guineas prep races were run last week with a mild upsetter, DISABILITY CHARM, landing the Thornbird Stakes, followed by EL PROFESOR's 32-1 stunner in the Prince Consort. However, Saturday's Monday Morning Trophy, at the exact 1400 metres of last weekend's races, could further muddy the waters, two weeks ahead of the 1000 and 2000 Guineas.
One thing's for sure, coming out of last week's 'trials', the fillies are about a second behind the colts, which is expected, unless there's a 'Maneater' among the lot. Therefore, SERGEANT RECKLESS, LICI's PEPSI and BRANDY will have hell against Richard Azan's REGGAE ROAD, who was only beaten a length and a quarter by EL PROFESOR on his February 17 debut.
REGGAE ROAD returned, tongue tie fitted, two and a half weeks later, to easily win by six and a half lengths at 1400 metres, clocking 1:26.4, the exact time DISABILITY CHARM posted, ridden flat out, to beat NADESHICO and MY SISTER in the Thornbird Stakes.
Though running four-fifths slower than what EL PROFESOR posted to win the Prince Consort, REGGAE ROAD should not be judged on that facile victory, but instead his debut against EL PROFESOR, who he allowed four pounds - a horse who had raced six times prior and returned to beat ANOTHER VIGOROUS in the Prince Consort.
REGGAE ROAD faces two 'unknowns' among his nine rivals, horses who won impressively on debut and continue to train well in the mornings - MISS FORMALITY and OUTRAGEOUS TAJ, a half-brother to SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS, who was easily one of the most improved horses in training last season, winning as recently as Ash Wednesday.
MISS FORMALITY is well bred, a full sister to ill-fated BOY WONDER, the horse who won a sequence of races and was on his way to stardom before injury ended his career as a three-year-old. However, similar to her brother, she has issues and is being gingerly trained by DaCosta, who has fingers crossed that she makes the 1000 Guineas.
An almost effortless runner, MISS FORMALITY glided home in 1:14.0 for six furlongs on March 10, winning by four and a half lengths. Omar Walker abandoning Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes runner-up, BRANDY, to partner MISS FORMALITY, tells exactly what the champion jockey thinks of both horses.
OUTRAGEOUS TAJ might not be bred in the purple but certainly looked classy at 1000 metres straight, clocking an easy 59.3 on February 24. He has looked really flashy on the round course at exercise, 1:07.0 for five and a half, last five in 1:00.0, on March 13, suggesting he could be a monster in disguise.
However, both MISS FORMALITY and OUTRAGEOUS TAJ appear to be horses who will be battling for the lead, or thereabouts, which will be very interesting with the likes of SERGEANT RECKLESS and the imported SUPER SPARKLE in the mix.
REGGAE ROAD, a half brother to DREAM COME TRUE, appears as though he will stay all day and tomorrow, with a little pace about him. Coming in at 50.5 kilos with Anthony Thomas, the lightest he has been in three starts, makes Azan's runner the horse to beat at 1400 metres.