The Paul Mulrennan Column: Cathy Come Home can hit heights

Fri 13 May 2022

Racing TV Ambassador Paul Mulrennan reflects on the Dante Meeting, tells us about the pick of his weekend rides and nominates a two-year-old to follow.

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York reflections

Julie Camacho’s Makanah ran a hell of a race at York on Wednesday. I said immediately afterwards that the one horse we didn’t want to have an easy lead and then to get into a battle with was Dakota Gold.

However, Makanah did nothing wrong at all, and this has opened a few doors for the future. We were experimenting over six furlongs - he usually races over five - but he stayed the trip well and we were beaten by a particularly good horse.

Emily Upjohn was an impressive winner of the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. She’s Epsom bound for a spin around the track on Monday week, so John and Thady Gosden will learn plenty more about her after that experience. There was no messing around from Frankie Dettori in the Musidora, and from what we’ve seen on the track, she’s clearly the horse to beat in the Oaks.

Desert Crown did everything right in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes. You couldn’t fault any aspect of his performance. He’s won a race which is historically the strongest trial for the Derby, easily beating a horse (Royal Patronage) who was beaten six lengths or so in what was a strong 2000 Guineas.

Admittedly Richard Kingscote is a quiet rider, but he barely had to move a muscle on the winner, and Desert Crown is in safe hands with Sir Michael Stoute. Furthermore, he’s already demonstrated that he’s versatile in terms of ground having won his maiden on soft.

Cathy Come Home is one to follow

Karl Burke has a strong bunch of two-year-olds, so much so that his biggest challenge could be to keep them all apart.

I partnered Monday’s Musselburgh winner Cathy Come Home and she has a superb attitude. She’ll stay a lot further - her dam was a winner over 1m2f - so despite having the obvious option of the Queen Mary Stakes (5f), I think the Albany Stakes (6f) could be an even better avenue for her at Ascot.

From the moment that I walked into the paddock at Musselburgh her stamp, her physique and her skin were perfect. She had that presence about her. She looked like a little athlete, and then getting on her and going to post you just knew that she had such a good temperament. Plenty boils down to temperament for juveniles, and she was taking it all in, but you’d swear that she’d done it a million times previously.

It's a sharp five furlongs at Musselburgh, and they went a nice gallop, but she simply moved through the gears. It was like riding a piece of work. I didn’t even wave the whip at her. I didn’t need to. Any horse who can go through the gears in that manner is smart. She galloped out after the line as well and that’s always a good sign for the future.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to ride her at Musselburgh, but obviously Danny Tudhope and Kieran Shoemark are retained riders for the Bronte Collection.

Hamilton rides on Friday

I’ll be busy at Hamilton on Friday evening with a total of seven booked rides. It’s difficult to identify a standout, although John Kirkup (7.55pm) is certain to appreciate the forecast soft ground.

Sir Chauvelin is a massive price in the Braveheart Stakes (7.20pm). For whatever reason, the market often underestimates the chances of Jim’s (Goldie) runners. This horse has won the Braveheart twice previously, and is 3-3 at Hamilton Park, so you’d be foolish to rule him out of contention in what is now just a six-runner race.

He was checked at a vital stage at Newcastle on Good Friday, and but for that he’d have finished closer.

Thirsk rides on Saturday

I’ll be spending Saturday at Thirsk, which is something that I’ve become accustomed to over the past few weeks.

I have five booked rides with the Michael Dods-trained Northern Express (4.40pm) my best chance of a winner.

We enjoyed some good days with him last season, and he ran a super race on seasonal reappearance at Musselburgh, even more so if you consider that track isn’t necessarily his cup of tea.

He’s a top of the ground horse, and the weather forecast is favourable, so I can’t imagine that the ground conditions will change.

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