Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Father Patrick improving at right time

Published:Saturday | July 4, 2020 | 12:26 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

FATHER PATRICK appears to have matured, running a relaxed race last Saturday, suggesting he should stay six-and-a-half this afternoon after chasing home 2000 Guineas contender, MAHOGANY, in a fast-run event at five and a half furlongs.

Quickening nicely midway the stretch run, FATHER PATRICK challenged SHE’S A HIT as a team with MAHOGANY and proved he was clearly the second-best horse in the line-up behind his stablemate, finishing four lengths ahead of a struggling ENGLAND’S ROSE, who rallied for third place.

It was FATHER PATRICK’s best race in three outings, a win included, since returning off an eight-month lay-up on February 16. Six-time former champion jockey, Omar Walker, replaces apprentice Youville Pinnock as FATHER PATRICK renews rivalry with BALTUSROL, who leads a quartet of runners for champion trainer Anthony Nunes.

Run-on sprinter, DUKE, who won first time out for his new trainer, Gary Subratie, beating ACTION RUN two Saturdays ago, is also in the nine-horse line-up, which should be a pacey affair featuring ROY ROGERS, FORMAL FASHION, TRULY AMAZING and FATHER PATRICK as the speedsters.

Subratie must be relishing DUKE’s chances at six and a half in a field stacked with speedsters. However, in putting away ACTION RUN, he posted a modest 1:00.1, whereas FATHER PATRICK was a full second faster when beating the American at the distance in March.

LAST SEASON

Considered a classic horse last season, beaten a length and a half by TOONA CILIATA in the Prince Consort Stakes, FATHER PATRICK blew a fuse after straightening fourth in the 2000 Guineas, and finished nearly last. In the Guineas, he was beaten 23 lengths by second-place TOONA CILIATA, a dismal effort.

Returning early June, FATHER PATRICK soared to the lead in a rich race, a headline he disputed with ROJORN DI PILOT, ENEDINA and PRINCE CHARLES, stalked by super-fit GOD OF LOVE. Though a length and a half clear at the furlong pole, splits of 22.3 and 45.0 took toll and GOD OF LOVE swept by FATHER PATRICK a half-furlong out to win the five-and-a-half event in 1:05.3, one of the fastest times recorded at the distance last season.

FATHER PATRICK did not return until eight months later, opening his 2020 season mid-February, but was obviously ring-rusty, not showing his customary dash, running wide into the straight and finishing two and a quarter lengths behind BALTUSROL at five furlongs round. On March 7, FATHER PATRICK made short work of United States-bred ACTION RUN at five furlongs straight.

Running off a forced COVID-19 break, FATHER PATRICK returned to show his class last Saturday by moving as a team with MAHOGANY, pouncing on ENGLAND’S ROSE and SHE’S A HIT, putting the fillies in their place to land an Ian Parsard exacta.

ainsley.walters@gleanerjm.com