Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Constantine Likes the Long Way Round

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Constantine Likes the Long Way Round

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

This is the time of year when older and more exposed horses are vulnerable to improving three-year-olds.

For example, five of the six second-season performers that contested the Freephone Stanley Old Borough Cup at Haydock last year finished in the first eight.

It was won by Roger Charlton's three-year-old Dune who was the best backed horse of the day. Now, a year on, the prize could go to Constantine, a former stablemate from the same age group.

After winning a Salisbury maiden on his third and final start as a juvenile, the grey changed hands for 70,000 guineas last autumn and joined Jim Goldie.

Constantine has since been gelded and has taken time to find his feet, not helped by the fact that he was racing over inadequate trips, and it wasn't until he was stepped up to a mile and six furlongs at Haydock two outings ago that he gave some indication of his ability.

He had a hard race in chasing home previous course winner Albany but reappeared at Newcastle 17 days later and, none the worse for his exertions, he pounced close home to deny Rajam.

Constantine, who had dropped 15lb since the start of the season, looked better than the bare form suggests as he came off a steady pace. Given a stronger gallop, which seems likely today with a big field, he will be seen in a more favourable light.

The gelding has been raised 5lb for that, which is fair, and I think we will find in due course, if not here, that he has a few pounds in hand of the assessor. My main worry is the fast ground. He will be even more effective on an easier surface.

Royal Cavalier, beaten half a length by Dune last year, is 5lb higher this time and hasn't been seen since finishing fourth to Hambleden at Thirsk in early June. All his wins have come in the spring and autumn but he has a bit to prove.

So far I have stayed loyal to Thewhirlingdervish and he has proved costly to follow.

His last effort at Newmarket was too bad to be true and he should be judged on his previous run at Ascot when narrowly outpointed by course specialist Mana D'Argent. …

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