09/08/2011 11:22AM

Northlands: Distance is Fintan's friend in Marathon series


Fintan paid $28.70 when he won in his first attempt at a marathon distance, going 1 3/8 miles in the first leg of the Northlands Park Marathon Series Aug. 20. He figures to be a much shorter price when he stretches out to 1 5/8 miles in the second leg of the series Saturday.

The $7,500 starter handicap for 3-year-olds and up drew 10 horses, and Fintan is clearly the one to beat off his impressive performance.

Trained by Rod Cone, Fintan was a sharp horse prior to his upset win, but was a generous price because he was stepping up in class after winning a $7,500 conditional claimer and he had never gone farther than 1 1/16 miles. A homebred son of Albert the Great, Fintan also won a $7,500 nonwinners-of-three going a mile June 19, and he finished second in an open $7,500 claimer at 1 1/16 miles July 10.

Cone thinks he Fintan will retain his solid form.

“He is training well, feeling good, and he is always looking for more distance,” said Cone.

Leading rider Rico Walcott takes over the mount from Ruben Lara, who rides longshot Tempered Spirit.

Cone has also entered No Reply, who has the best Tomlinson Figure in the field for the distance, 349, and is the top money earner with well over $200,000 in the bank. He will need to improve off his seventh-place finish behind Fintan in his first race at Northlands, however.

Constable Sheppard came from well back to win his last two races, and if he can reproduce the same kind of kick in his first try at a marathon distance he could be the winner. His low Tomlinson Figure, 191, is a concern, but one of the reasons trainer Red Smith is in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is his ability to get a horse to run past his breeding.

One’s Own Accord may have needed a race when he finished fourth as the favorite behind Fintan. Trained by Monica Russell, One’s Own Accord was coming off two sprints and could take a big step forward in his second try at a marathon distance.

The Tim Rycroft trainee Irish Action is an obvious contender off his second-place finish behind Fintan in the first leg of the series.