O'Gorman set to step out in style with Bolshoi

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The Independent Online
There are two places serious backers need to be in order to watch the most interesting races this weekend, since neither will be televised live. The first is their local betting shop, for the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon this afternoon, and the second is France, where Zamindar, the ante-post favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, will face three rivals in the Prix Morny at Deauville tomorrow.

Both possibilities carry risks, of course, the former to the lungs and the latter to the wallet, so many will be forced to make do with three races from Newbury, including the Group Two Geoffrey Freer Stakes. This is a competitive event, but much of its appeal has been lost with the defection of last year's easy St Leger winner Classic Cliche and Dushyantor, the Derby runner-up and a contender for this year's renewal of the final Classic at Doncaster.

Only Samraan, who has been disappointing in Group company since winning the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, represents the three-year-old generation. Posidonas, Key To My Heart, Phantom Gold and Song Of Tara are all possible winners, and for betting purposes the race is best avoided. Those who cannot resist should side with Posidonas (3.00), who carries a Group One penalty but is at the peak of his form.

Nor are winners any easier to find in the two remaining televised events, the St Hugh's Stakes for two-year-old fillies and a 13-runner handicap. The St Hugh's is impenetrable, featuring nine useful but unexceptional runners whose rate of improvement is impossible to judge.

The Andover Rated Handicap, meanwhile, is a tightly-framed handicap, from which only one or two runners can be discounted. Betting at short odds makes no sense, and it could pay to take a chance on Latching (next best 2.00), who was a little unlucky last time out, at around 10-1.

It is a shame that the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon will not receive a wider audience, since it may offer yet another demonstration that Emma O'Gorman, who will ride Bolshoi, is a match for any of her male peers. Racing's deep-rooted chauvinism ensures that O'Gorman faces a constant struggle for outside rides, but her overall strike-rate of 20 per cent is inferior only to those of Pat Eddery, Lanfranco Dettori and Mick Kinane.

Bolshoi's fine run of form this summer coincides exactly with O'Gorman's arrival in his saddle. "He's my ideal sort of ride," the jockey says, "he's a bit of a thinker and you've got to outwit him a bit. Most jockeys hate riding horses like that, but I enjoy it. If you give him half a chance he'll drop himself out, but you can't bully him or he'll say: 'No thanks'. You've just got to sit and suffer a bit."

O'Gorman timed Bolshoi's run to perfection at Ascot last month, and though he has risen in the weights, his improvement this year has more than kept pace. BOLSHOI (nap 3.45) can win again this afternoon.

British yards supply three of Zamindar's four opponents in the Prix Morny at Deauville, but Andre Fabre's colt, already 8-1 for next year's 2,000 Guineas, is unlikely to be defeated.

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