Turf Talk: Birkdale bidding for two wins from two starts since switch to O’Meara stable

Trainer David O'Meara.
Trainer David O'Meara.
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Birkdale can make it two wins in two starts for David O’Meara by landing the totepool Chatelherault Palace Handicap at Catterick.

The three-year-old was in the care of Richard Fahey as a juvenile but had just two runs, finishing third when hot favourite for an Ayr maiden last May before claiming second in a similar event a month later.

Birkdale was then off the track until lining up at Hamilton earlier this month, again taking on maiden company, but this time he made it third time lucky.

Gelded over the winter, he was sent off the even-money favourite to make a winning start for O’Meara and justified that support as he made all before coasting home for a length-and-a-quarter victory.

O’Meara would likely have been hoping for a lower starting mark than 77 for his switch to handicaps, but Birkdale remains unexposed and can likely improve again on the form he has so far shown.

Royal Reef appears to have found his niche over two miles on the Kempton all-weather so must be one to consider in the 32Red On The App Store Handicap.

He is the lowest-rated horse in the field, but as a four-year-old with only six runs to his credit so far, he is potentially still open to plenty of progress now that William Knight has worked out his optimum requirements.

Royal Reef did not show too much promise in four initial middle-distance starts but moving up to two miles at Kempton in May worked the oracle as he finally got off the mark by a neck.

He had to settle for third last time but possibly went for home a little too early and was collared by a couple of rivals in the shadow of the post.

Royal Reef remains on a mark of 71 following that defeat, but it does not look an unworkable perch.


BATH: 6.00 Final Choice, 6.30 Chantecler, 7.00 Cosette, 7.30 St Michel, 8.00 Amaany, 8.30 Dixie Peach, 9.00 Posh Bounty.

CATTERICK: 2.00 Peach Pavlova, 2.30 Kiringa, 3.00 Fillydelphia, 3.30 BIRKDALE (NAP), 4.00 El Principe, 4.30 Jess, 5.00 Dusky Raider, 5.30 Seamster.

KEMPTON: 6.10 Costa Filey, 6.40 Queen Of The Stars, 7.10 Urban Fox, 7.40 Exalted (treble), 8.10 Royal Reef (next best), 8.40 Zambeasy, 9.10 Geoff Potts.

PERTH: 2.10 John Monash, 2.40 Jackofhearts, 3.10 Baysbrown, 3.40 Tradewinds, 4.10 Letbeso, 4.40 Le Grand Chene, 5.10 Walkabout.

WORCESTER: 2.20 Forever My Friend, 2.50 Edgar, 3.20 Oscar Rose, 3.50 Ballinure, 4.20 Preseli Rock, 4.50 Sporting Milan, 5.20 Asockastar.