All systems go for Uncle Mo's comeback
A fairly pedestrian programme on British soil should prompt even the most insular into a brief glance across the Atlantic this weekend, where no fewer than seven Grade One races will establish the lie of the land for the European raiders at the Breeders' Cup this autumn. As things stand, the consensus remains that the American three-year-olds have failed to achieve a vintage standard – and that it could prove a very good year to take on the home team at their own game, on dirt in the Classic.
As such, particular interest will be reserved for the comeback of Uncle Mo at Saratoga. In a sensational juvenile career, Uncle Mo won three starts by an aggregate of over 23 lengths – culminating in a runaway success in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. After being turned over at 1-10 in his trial, however, he was an 11th-hour scratching from the Kentucky Derby in May and subsequently diagnosed with a rare liver condition.
Happily, Uncle Mo has been earning rave reviews since returning to training and another "bullet work" at Saratoga last weekend persuaded Todd Pletcher to commit the colt to his first appearance since 9 April in the King's Bishop Stakes, over seven furlongs, on Saturday. "I don't think he could be training any better," Pletcher declared. The record-breaking trainer says that where Uncle Mo had previously had a depressed appetite and dull coat, he now looks "awesome".
Uncle Mo's return will especially delight admirers of Mike Repole, his owner, whose energetic and outspoken style has freshened up the elite scene. Repole and Pletcher will also be represented by one of the favourites for the historic Travers Stakes, known as the "Midsummer Derby", in Stay Thirsty. "It's interesting when the same owner has these two horses in back-to-back races, one of them a $1m [£606,000] race and one a $250,000 race – and in some ways the $250,000 is bigger," Pletcher said. "You could have one of them win, and still leave disappointed. It's certainly as exciting as any Travers Day I can remember."
The Irish will be keeping things interesting this side of the ocean, with Maybe putting her unbeaten record on the line at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy, denied a run at Deauville last weekend by some obscure and exasperating red tape, is now likely to be diverted to the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday week.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Powerful Presence (7.20 Kempton) Latest start may have come too soon after an exceptionally generous effort at York and can continue his amazing improvement for this yard.
Circus Clown (3.20 Catterick) Much improved over hurdles during the winter and made most of a very modest rating on his return to the Flat, before improving again next time.
One to watch
Sir Trevor (Tom Dascombe) Shaped extremely well on his debut at Chester on Saturday, meeting trouble after blowing the start and running green but still managing fourth behind Na Zdorovie in a two-year-old maiden.
Where the money's going
Galiando is 25-1 from 40-1 with William Hill for the Betfred Cambridgeshire after his success at Windsor on Monday evening.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Latest in Sport
Comment: David Moyes paying the price of Manchester United's virtual abstinence from top-level transfers since 2006. Can he refire their ambition?
Arsenal 1 Everton 1 match report: Gerard Deulofeu provides late sucker punch following Mesut Ozil opener
Transfer news: Manchester United will not be forced into panic buys, says David Moyes
Gerard Deulofeu - Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
Ashes 2013-14 match report: Another woeful display sees England lose to Australia by 218 runs to go down 2-0
- 1 Turning up the voice of America
- 2 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 An obsessive’s documenting of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon can show us how the West lost respect for international law
- 5 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
£35000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Winfo...
£40000 - £55000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior C...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior A...
£29999 - £40001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A top independent...