Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Cornerstone still excites Oliver

First Cornerstone

Andrew Oliver believes First Cornerstone may well have shaken up winning favourite Kingsbarns last weekend if his preparation has been more straightforward.

The youngster ran out an impressive winner of the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in late August, but a range of training problems meant he was forced to miss the following month's Beresford Stakes.

Oliver believes that may well have proved crucial as he travelled powerfully in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster before tiring late on to finish a creditable fourth.

"He has come out of the race well and we were really delighted with the run," said Oliver.

"I think we made it public knowledge the horse didn't have the most straightforward of preparations for the race.

"Taking everything into account, I thought he ran a stormer. He travelled as well as anything to the two-furlong marker and then Chris (Hayes) just said he had a blow and basically needed the run.

"The positives to take from it were that he travelled over to England very well indeed and he showed he is up to that level of competition. Chris is adamant that if the preparation had gone better he would certainly have been in the shake-up."

Oliver believes his charge is likely to want further than a mile next season and views him more of a Derby prospect than a possible for the 2000 Guineas in either England or Ireland.

"He's obviously finished for the year now but we'll be looking at all the main races for next season," said the trainer.

"How he gets on in his work at the beginning of the year will tell us which way we're going, but he looks to me like a middle-distance horse. He's in the Irish Guineas but at the moment I'd say we'll be going a wee bit further, maybe running in a Derby trial or something like that."

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