Darren P Goodbody previews the Betway Quebec Stakes – Saturday 17th December
A competitive Listed event on an average days racing, this is the tenth year this race has been staged and I am looking this year for a finisher in form and Dominic Ffrench Davis’ “VAN HUYSEN” impressed me in the manner he won over course and distance when landing the Betway Handicap two weeks ago.
Sitting off the pace, he took it up at the final furlong marker and even though he was wandering around in front he was holding Natural Scenery at the business end. Natural Scenery doesn’t re-oppose this time around he does although have to concede a lot of weight to the third from that race, Beardwood. This time around Beardwood benefits from an 18lb turn around in the weights which, in theory, should be reversing that form and then some.
My dilemma with Beardwood is his front running tactics. A typical Johnston horse who tries to grind it out from the outset, I feel will be vulnerable again trying to dictate, he will have to apply the same tactics and kick off the bend with a substantial lead under his belt and I’m not sure can he fend off the likes of Van Huysen.
Grendisar is attempting to become only the second six year old to win this race. He lost the race from the start in the Churchill Stakes when fluffing the start to come home late in the latter part of the race, but it was all too late and he finished fourth, two lengths off the winner Team Talk. Educate was second and at the weights can hold the form. Grandisar was runner up in this last year when beaten by Don’t Be with Energia Davis and Battalion well behind. Battalion is a course and distance winner, landing a conditions contest beating Energia Davis comfortably.
If the form line through Energia Davis is anything to go by we could dismiss Battalion but he could be a threat if in teh same form as when taking the Betway Conditions race over course and distance last month, hacking up by four lengths. Somethingthrilling was back in third that day and looks well held at the weights. His Diamond Stakes run at Dundalk when finishing runner up to Long Island Sound, beaten a neck when conceding 5lbs, was encouraging and he has made a pleasing transition from five to six – both runs after a break have seen him improve, but his tendency to switch off in races and occasionally miss the break is off-putting. He will need the gaps to come to land the prize here, which will not be easy, we will have to see what draw he gets.
Overall I feel this is not the strongest renewal but it is competitive with Educate, Grandisar, Beardwood and Battalion all creditable contenders. However VAN HUYSEN set a good standard and is the selection.
VAN HUYSEN : 3pt Win @ SP (BOG on the day)