Sutter County: showed blistering speed earlier in the season
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Tony McFadden 2:40PM 15 AUG 2016
UNBEATEN juvenile Sutter County could make his eagerly-awaited return in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes at York on Saturday as Mark Johnston’s exciting colt features among 15 confirmations for the Group 2 contest.
Sutter County burst onto the scene with an impressive nine-length victory at Wolverhampton in March before defying a penalty to win a strongly-contested novice event at Newmarket the following month but was ruled out of Royal Ascot with a tibial stress fracture.
He had been regarded as a strong contender for the Coventry Stakes prior to the injury.
Interesting Gimcrack rivals include Blue Point and Intelligence Cross, the pair who finished second and third respectively behind Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last month.
Blue Point was a beaten odds-on favourite at Goodwood but John Ferguson, Godolphin chief executive, expects the lightly-raced juvenile to benefit for the experience.
“It was the first time our fellow had ever been asked the question because he’d won both of his races on the bridle so easily,” Ferguson said. “He just became a little bit unbalanced, coming off the bridle for the first time. I think we’ll find he’ll be a lot savvier this time.”
The feature race on Saturday is the Betfred Ebor, Europe’s most valuable handicap. Most of the leading protagonists, including 6-1 favourite Ivan Grozny, have stood their ground at the five-day stage, though Qewy and Dannyday are notable absentees.
Qewy may be out but Godolphin could still be represented by Northumberland Plate winner Antiquarium and Oceanographer.
Ferguson said: “We know Antiquarium gets the trip but with Oceanographer we’re going slightly into unknown territory. But bearing in mind the race is worth a lot of money, I think it’s a risk worth taking.”
With a prize fund of £280,000 the Ebor is unsurprisingly oversubscribed and only the top 20 in the weights are guaranteed a run.