IN RECENT years northern trainers have always been a fair way behind their Newmarket and Lambourn contemporaries when it comes to the very best races – they just don’t have the firepower.
But if there is a future champion trainer amongst their ranks it is surely David O’Meara. The former jump jockey has made a real name for himself since taking out a licence in 2010.
He has a real knack of turning seemingly exposed horses into superstars and he might just be able to notch his third career Group One with CUSTOM CUT in tomorrow’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (3.45pm) at Newbury.
Formerly trained by George Kent in Ireland, the gelded son of Notnowcato was transferred to O’Meara’s Yorkshire stable around 14 months ago.
He was defeated on his first five starts for the him, but since then has won six of his last seven outings, including two Group Two prizes.
The one reverse in that purple patch was a sound beating in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last October, yet there were excuses that day. The ground was terrible and he’d had a long, hard season.
An impressive success on his reappearance at Sandown, when carrying a penalty, means that he goes into this as one of the leading fancies and I will be backing him each-way at 10/1 with Betway.
Last year’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder is the obvious favourite. He was only narrowly beaten in the aforementioned QEII on Champions Day and has some top class form.
He is making his seasonal debut, though, while the same is true of Sir Michael Stoute’s dual Group One-winning filly Integral. I wouldn’t be surprised if either of those won, but 10/1 about Custom Cut is better value.
The Al Zubarah London Gold Cup (3.10pm) has been won by some top class animals over the years, including last year’s hero Cannock Chase who went on to Royal Ascot glory.
I’m pinning my hopes on Roger Charlton’s TIME TEST this time, with Ryan Moore booked for the ride. This son of Dubawi has always been well-regarded by Charlton and he can take this before going on to bigger and better things.
TIME TEST 3.10pm Newbury (tomorrow)
CUSTOM CUT e/w 3.45pm Newbury (tomorrow)