Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Galaxy's Ready to Rock the Big Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Galaxy's Ready to Rock the Big Time

Article excerpt

HE may not be entirely straightforward and has his own way of getting from one side of a fence to the other, but Galaxy Rock has always given me the impression there was a big handicap within his grasp.

A year ago he turned up at Sandown for the bet365 Gold Cup, for which he was ante-post favourite, but drifted like a barge on the day when it became obvious ground conditions had gone against him. He came home in his own time in ninth place.

Today, he is back at the Esher track for another crack at the last major chase of the season and, provided any rain doesn't wash away his chance, he will have the quicker ground he relishes.

Jonjo O'Neill's nine-year-old has shown his best form in the spring, he is 5lb lower this time round, and the race distance appears to be his optimum trip. Admittedly, he hasn't as much to recommend him as last season, except for a good second to Balthazar King at Cheltenham in October off a 2lb lower mark than his current rating.

The ground was just on the soft side of good that afternoon and the way he was staying on again after being headed suggests that this extra five furlongs will be right up his street.

On a point of handicapping, he now enjoys a 5lb pull with his conqueror for a length beating, while the third, Hold On Julio, renews rivalry on slightly better terms which puts him well into contention if his jumping holds up.

Galaxy Rock returned to Cheltenham a month later but the testing ground was against him and he was pulled up before three out.

On his only other start over fences this term, again in the Cotswolds, he got no further than the first in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup and his fall caused horrific injuries to amateur jockey JT McNamara. Hopefully, out of some bad will come some good today.

Hold On Julio, who ran on past beaten horses to finish fifth in the Hennessy Gold Cup could well be more at home over this longer trip on better ground. His stable is ending the campaign with a flourish but his jumping remains suspect and he looks a risky proposition. …

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