Mission's impossible job to match Frankel
Wednesday 26 October 2011
Comparisons may be odious but sometimes they are inevitable. Yesterday at Yarmouth the most scrutinised runner of the afternoon was the two-year-old debutant Noble Mission, simply because of his genes. And if the colt does eventually prove to be, like Sigerson Holmes, the younger smarter brother of the celebrity, then he will be some machine. For the first product of the mating between Galileo and Kind produced none other than unbeaten superstar Frankel.
As an individual Noble Mission is, like his sibling, a bay, though with a full white blaze on his face rather than just a mark between his eyes. At this stage of his development he is much the more backward, still rather weak behind the saddle. But he did show one family trait, that of sweating on his neck in the preliminaries.
Before the first division of the mile maiden, Noble Mission's connections – like Frankel, he is trained by Sir Henry Cecil for his breeder Khalid Abdullah – warned that, though straightforward, the colt was no more than a promising type. And that is exactly how he looked and performed, staying on for second place behind the five-length winner Swedish Sailor.
With defeat, the pressure will now be off. "I thought if he got into the first four today that I'd be happy with him," said Cecil. "He travelled nicely and, I hope, is a horse for the future."
Yarmouth is a track much-favoured by Newmarket trainers to introduce well-regarded prospects and Noble Mission did well from an unfavourable draw to rally past Frasers Hill to take second place.
He very likely has above-average ability. But Swedish Sailor, sent to the front from the start by Frankie Dettori, may have more. The son of Monsun was always going easily and came readily clear through the final furlong, earning himself a quote of 25-1 for next year's Derby. Yes, comparisons can indeed be odious – but the last time Godolphin took this maiden with a five-length winner, it was with Dubai Millennium.
Ruby Walsh yesterday submitted an appeal against his five-day ban for breaching the contentious new whip rules at Aintree on Saturday. Those lodged by Richard Hughes and Christophe Soumillon against their similar five-day bans will be considered tomorrow at the British Horseracing Authority's London headquarters.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Lexington Bay (3.50 Musselburgh) The further he has gone, the better he has performed. He won a better race off a feather weight last time and is climbing the ratings but may not yet be in the handicapper's grip.
Up To The Mark (4.35 Haydock) Winner of a similar contest earlier in the year and will strip much fitter today after a satisfactory return at Bangor last month following his summer break.
One to watch
Flat winner Ardlui (Alan King), closely related to very smart hurdler Self Defense, is in the right hands to make an impact in his new sphere.
Where the money's going
Kumbeshwar and Sire de Grugy are 8-1 joint-favourite with sponsors William Hill for Saturday's feature handicap hurdle at Ascot, while Diamond Harry has been cut to 11-4 favourite by the same firm for the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
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