Feature Races

Five things we learned: Follow the Falcon in the autumn

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Snow Falcon was a ready winner in testing conditions at Gowran on Saturday.
Snow Falcon was a ready winner in testing conditions at Gowran on Saturday.

We pick out five key talking points from the weekend's action, which saw Arc heartbreak for Enable in Paris, while the new National Hunt season creeps ever closer...

Never say never?

All eyes were on Paris on Sunday, as Enable went in pursuit of an historic third straight win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Of course it just wasn’t to be, with the wonder mare collared in the dying strides by the Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist, though it does mean that we could yet see her on the racecourse for one last time. Sunday’s pursuit of the Arc was meant to be the final appearance of an illustrious career - with August’s win in the Yorkshire Oaks her British swan song - though it's worth noting that she still has two entries on British Champions Day in just under a fortnight, while the Breeders’ Cup over in America is also an option. It seems unlikely that she will stay in training in 2020, but we could be treated to one last hurrah in 2019. 

Billesdon Brook comes to life on the Rowley Mile

After failing to pick up another win in 2018 after her stunning 66/1 shock in the 1000 Guineas, Billesdon Brook was deemed to be a one hit wonder, and though she undoubtedly went off the boil last term, she has bounced back since to prove that label to be an unfair one. Wins at listed and Group 3 level at Chelmsford and Goodwood respectively over the summer hinted at a revival, and Billesdon Brook roared back to Group 1-winning form in Saturday’s Sun Chariot Stakes - at the scene of her greatest triumph. This 16/1 Group 1 success wasn’t quite as surprising as her last one, and although it remains to be seen if the four-year-old will remain in training in 2020 - it will certainly be worth keeping an eye on her entries if she does. 

Yulong looks one to follow in the mud

The going for Sunday’s card at Tipperary proved to be tough, and such conditions suited the Jim Bolger-trained Yulong Gold Fairy down to the ground (pardon the pun), as she won the seven-furlong contest readily. She’s now won that particular contest for two years running, and considering that she’s been lightly-raced so far this term, it would be no surprise to see her run again yet. If she’s found testing ground, she looks one to keep on the right side. 

Sands proves Middle Park show was no fluke

The Richard Fahey-trained Summer Sands raised an eyebrow or two when finishing a sensational third as a 100/1 outsider in last month's Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, beaten less than two lengths by the winner Earthlight, and he proved that to be no fluke when justifying short odds to land Redcar's listed Two-Year-Old Trophy on Saturday afternoon. Admittedly, this was a sharp drop in class from the blinding lights of Newmarket, but he won the race in the style of a very useful colt indeed, and will be one to keep an eye on in the spring. 

Snow Falcon is a horse to follow in the autumn

Although the Flat is undoubtedly still king for the time being, National Hunt racing is slowly coming back into the fray, and Gowran Park hosted a quality card on Saturday - which included its Grade 2 Champion Chase over two and a half miles. The Noel Meade-trained Snow Falcon excelled in uncharacteristically heavy conditions for the time of year to pick up a fourth Grade 2 success of his career over obstacles, romping clear to win by six and a half lengths, and he looks set to head to Down Royal next month; either for the Grade 2 Skymas Chase (which he won last year) or the Grade 1 Champion Chase on the same card. Sky Falcon had something of a light campaign last term, missing the Cheltenham Festival amongst other targets, but he clearly thrives at this time of year, and looks a horse to keep on side for the first couple of months for the National Hunt season proper at the very least. 

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