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To Be Wild hasn't stood much racing down the years but it is encouraging that he has put together a couple of decent efforts of late, and he is certainly well treated on the pick of his form. To Be Wild ran better than for a while when runner-up in a competitive mile-and-three-quarter handicap at Newmarket last month and he produced an even better effort in defeat at Goodwood on Sunday.
To Be Wild didn't look set to play a part in the finish when coming off the bridle early in the straight, initially wandering off a true line and racing awkwardly, but he stuck to his well to get within a length of the winner.
Admittedly, he was flattered to get so close to the winner, East Asia, who always looked in control after moving stylishly into the lead. However, that thriving rival was completing a hat-trick, and it is instead better to focus on how To Be Wild pulled two and three-quarter lengths clear of the remainder. He has been unfortunate to bump into progressive rivals the last twice but he is clearly on a competitive mark and is in the groove at the moment.
This year’s renewal of the Diomed Stakes only attracted seven runners, but it had a competitive enough feel to it, and previous two-time winner of the race Century Dream was only narrowly denied another victory by eight-year-old Oh This Is Us. Richard Hannon’s very likeable Oh This Is Us caused a 66/1 shock when winning a listed event at Ascot in April, and returned to his best form to deservedly come out on top in a race he had finished third and second in on his last two starts in 2017 and 2019.
One horse that didn’t get the rub of the green in behind was Duke of Hazzard, who travelled through the race like a horse back in top form. The blinkers were back on and Duke of Hazzard went with plenty of verve in rear, making smooth headway entering the straight but going for a daring run on the rail. He was caught in a pocket behind the eventual winner Oh This Is Us, who was starting to hit top gear, and Duke of Hazzard didn’t pick up as well once in the clear, but was far from knocked about by Frankie Dettori. Duke of Hazzard is worth following if pitching up in a similar event next time, still seemingly having more to offer in minor pattern company.
The mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Epsom won by Blue Cup was run at an overly-strong gallop as Data Protection and Dream With Me took each other on a long way out on rain-softened ground. Dream With Me toiled inside the final couple of furlongs, beating only a couple home, but Data Protection deserves plenty of credit for sticking to his task as well as he did, refusing to curl up. He finished a creditable third, only three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up, and should be treated as if in top form at present.
He had also shaped with promise on his reappearance at Chester last month and is only 2 lb higher than his last winning mark, so he is competitively treated. He is also a versatile type, effective from a mile to a mile and a quarter and on ground ranging from heavy to good to firm, so connections should have plenty of options with this likeable type.
There are few fillies in training with a better pedigree than Discoveries, who is a sister to Alpha Centauri - a four-time Group 1 winner - and closely related to last year's Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star. Like those two high-class fillies, Discoveries carries the colours of the Niarchos Family and is in training with Jessica Harrington. She has a lot to live up to, but she certainly made a pleasing start to her career by finishing fourth in a strong seven-furlong maiden at Leopardstown that was dominated by well-bred fillies from powerful yards.
Discoveries was never able to launch a meaningful challenge as Juncture quickened clear in impressive style over a furlong out. However, Discoveries stuck to her task nicely after being pushed along on the turn for home, earning the 'r' in-running symbol from Timeform's reporter, denoting that she responded well to pressure. She is clearly open to plenty of progress and it would be little surprise were she making an impact in Group races later in the season.
This was a fairly useful handicap which produced a bunched four-way finish, but it was run at a steady gallop, and Idoapologise was arguably unlucky not to collect, coming from much further back than the other three who shared the photo finish.
Idoapologise shaped as though he would come on for his reappearance when finishing nearer last than first in a handicap at Newmarket last month and, just like in his three-year-old season, he duly proved that to be the case, producing a career-best effort in first-time cheekpieces.
Connections may feel somewhat aggrieved that they didn’t take first prize, though, as Idoapologise was situated in the rear after a slow start, and was still in last place entering the straight. He was still travelling powerfully in rear around two furlongs out, and had to be switched to the outside for a run, finishing with a real flourish inside the final 100 yards but just failing to get his head in front. That was a very encouraging run, and this generally progressive sort could have even more to offer this year. He remains a handicapper to be positive about.
This looks a race to keep an eye on as there were plenty of appealing newcomers on pedigree and they were a good-looking bunch on the whole, too. John & Thady Gosden unleashed a potential Royal Ascot contender in the shape of Dhabab, who cost £200,000 at the Goffs breeze-ups in April and justified market support to make a taking winning debut. He proved much too good, but there were some promising sorts who caught the eye in behind, notably Triple Time.
Triple Time is bred to be smart – related to the likes of Ajman Princess, Ostilio and Cape Byron – and he shaped very well amidst greenness to finish third. He dwelt leaving the stalls and was positioned in the rear in the early part of the race, failing to settle at first but then moving well. He didn’t get the clearest of runs when the race began in earnest and had to be manoeuvred to the middle of the track, but he made good headway once in the clear around a furlong out.
Triple Time stayed on well without being knocked about in the closing stages and will have learned plenty for that initial experience. There is stamina in his pedigree, so he will have no problem staying at least seven furlongs, and he looks a sure-fire improver who should have no problem winning a similar event in the coming weeks.
Cape Sunset was unable to threaten two excellent prospects in Boomshalaa and Arousing, but he made a hugely encouraging debut when finishing third at Windsor.
Cape Sunset, who is out of a half-sister to the smart Court House, cost 125,000 guineas as a foal, 200,000 guineas as a yearling but only 6,000 guineas as an unraced three-year-old last season after presumably having his problems.
That 6,000 guineas now looks like money extremely well spent, though, after Cape Sunset showed so much promise on his belated debut. He was restless in the stalls and slowly away, which meant he had only one behind him in the early stages.
However, he travelled well and picked up in eyecatching style when switched to the centre of the track, following through the two market leaders. That pair are probably set for pattern company now and were a league apart, but Cape Sunset kept on well to prove best of the rest, showing a lot more at the first attempt than many trained by Rae Guest, whose runners tend to come on with experience. He will find much weaker contests than this and looks a bargain buy.
May 24-30 - Last week's eyecatchers from Timeform included Bernardo O'Reilly
May 17-23 - Check out the week's eyecatchers from Timeform including Bezzas Lad.
May 10-16 - We round up the week's eyecatchers from Timeform including a two-year-old to note from the Sunday meeting at Ripon.