Conquest may have run last race


RACING NEWS:CHINESE WHITE is set to return to Group One action in Rome on Sunday, while Famous Name could be on his way to California next month for the Breeders’ Cup. But Casual Conquest, the most high-profile of Dermot Weld’s older horse brigade this season, may have run his last race.

This year’s Tattersalls Gold Cup winner hasn’t been seen since finishing a sick horse behind Sea The Stars in the Irish Champion Stakes, and a training setback since then looks like it could have called time on the Moyglare Stud-owned colt’s career.

“He has had a hold up, a training setback, and he won’t race again this season,” Weld said yesterday. “A decision will be made in the next couple of weeks about whether he races again as a five-year-old or is retired to stud.”

Casual Conquest, a son of Hernando, has won four of his nine starts, including May’s Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. As a three-year-old he finished third in the Epsom Derby, before being promoted to second in the Irish Derby by the Curragh stewards behind Frozen Fire.

Chinese White missed out on the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp earlier this month when Weld wasn’t 100 per cent happy with her fitness. She now gets the opportunity to secure a valuable Group One prize in Rome on Sunday in the Premio Lydia Tessio.

The 10-furlong event is worth €206,550, and champion jockey Pat Smullen will take a break from his 2009 championship battle with Johnny Murtagh to take the ride.

It is less certain if Famous Name will attempt to secure elusive Group One honours in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on November 7th, although the Juddmonte team are considering the Dirt Mile event for the three-time Group One runner-up.

“It is a possibility,” said Weld. “There aren’t too many options left for him this season. But no decision has been taken yet.”

Weld’s Precious Gem ran in Munich on Sunday where she finished third under Eddie Ahern in a Listed race over a mile-and-a- quarter.

It is seven years since Aidan O’Brien secured the last of his four Racing Post Trophy victories, but St Nicholas Abbey has been installed a warm favourite to bridge the gap at Doncaster on Saturday.

Ireland’s champion trainer has left six in the final Group One of the British flat racing season, including last week’s Curragh winner Midas Touch and the Royal Lodge winner Joshua Tree.

However, the unbeaten St Nicholas Abbey is Ballydoyle’s number one in the mile event.

The home team will be headed by John Dunlop’s Acomb Stakes winner Elusive Pimpernel, while other cross-sea hopes are likely to include Godolphin’s highly-rated Al Zir and Mark Johnston’s Goffs Million winner Shakespearean.

Tom Taaffe is another Irish trainer who could be in action in Britain on Saturday after entering his 2008 Cheltenham festival winner Finger Onthe Pulse in the Tote Tentofollow Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Finger Onthe Pulse is the sole Irish entry for a race.

Eddie Lynam is hoping his stable star Duff finishes the season late in Hong Kong in December with an invitation for the prestigious Mile event on the international card.

Duff won the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster on his last start and the form of that event got a boost at Newmarket over the weekend in the Challenge Stakes.

Arabian Gleam and Ouqba were third and fourth at Doncaster but filled the first two places at Newmarket on Saturday.

“It upheld his form big time. They finished exactly the way they did at Doncaster. Hopefully we can now get an invitation to Hong Kong,” Lynam said yesterday.