Bumper's star just keeps on rising
SUNDAY'S Gold Cup looms large on the horizon with the Patrick Biancone-trained Bumper Star set to be looming large on his rivals heels as they come inside the final 200 metres of the 2,000-metre contest.
The prolific son of Carmelite House is the most exciting horse in training at the moment as it is simply impossible to know, just yet, how good he is going to become under the care of the master French handler.
Because when Patrick gets a good one, there is no finer trainer in the world at extracting every last ounce of potential.
Bumper Star has won five in succession since joining Biancone at the start of the season and his past seven in all.
The beauty of the horse is that the harder the races have become and the more weight he has been asked to shoulder, the more emphatic have been his victories.
And he gets on so, so well with his jockey Eric Legrix who knows exactly how to make Bumper Star relax and when to put his foot on the accelerator.
The acid test will come at the weekend when Bumper Star clashes with the likes of Derby winner Makarpura Star and the great River Verdon who appears to be very much on the comeback trial.
But if Bumper Star can handle the move from a mile to 2,000 metres, then the indications from the track are that he is going to be extremely hard to beat.
Last Thursday he put in the best work I'd seen him do all season when galloping all over stablemate Swept Away on the grass.
Yesterday, he perhaps went even better when completely dominating Graceful Win who is a good worker and thus a good guide.
Indeed, there has been a different nature to Bumper Star's work since the dismissal of Free Zone and a good Class One field over a mile on Derby day which, it should be remembered, was his first start back from a spell.
Prior to that victory, he rarely beat another horse in the mornings. Now it looks as if he is going to demolish anything that is pitched in against him, such is the zest and the bounce he is displaying.
Of course, it is much easier to be wrong about horses than it is to be right.
But it could just be that Bumper Star is the most exciting horse we've seen in training since River Verdon was taking all before him.
And while the first line of his pedigree is puzzlingly ordinary as his dam never raced and Carmelite House only won a few conditions races in England when in training with Henry Cecil and didn't really live up to expectations, Carmelite House is himself by Diesis whose direct family includes the great Kris and Keen.
While Bumper Star worked on the all-weather surface, River Verdon had a solid hitout on the grass.
He went pleasingly and will have been done the world of good by his pipe-opener down the straight 1,000-metre chute behind Sterling Town in the Centenary Cup.
Champion trainer Ivan Allan found the key to McBrave was stepping him up in distance. Keep your eye out for him the next time he is back to a staying trip in the right grade of company as he worked really well on the grass yesterday morning.
There was also a quality piece from David Oughton's Congratulations who had too much in reserve for Invincible. Congratulations is a useful stayer in the making, but he does seem to want a bit of cut in the ground, having disappointed when the ground was very firm earlier in the season.