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Pattern Racing 2014 – The Money

This year 2014 there are 1076 pattern races with a prize fund of over $450m in Europe, America, Asia and the UAE.

There’s already a quarter of the year gone and the Dubai Carnival and worlds richest raceday is over. However Europe, and the USA are out of their winter slumber and the majority of the cash is still up for grabs.

We’ve so much to look forward to this year watching where this money is won.

The older division are well up and running.

In America The Big Cap was won by Game On Dude while last weekend Wise Dan was an easy winner at Keenland in the Maker’s 46 Mile and Will Take Charge put in an impressive display in the Oaklawn Handicap.

In Dubai African Story won The World Cup while the Japanese pair Gentildonna and Just a Way showed themselves in rude health taking the Sheema Classic and Duty Free. Roll on the Arc.

The three year old division is particularly exciting this year. California Chrome’s Santa Anita Derby win marked him out as a potential superstar and Kingman in the Greenham looked like a Frankel in the making.

These colts have shown us that this could be a vintage year on both sides of the Atlantic.

Aidan O’Brien has said Australia is doing things before his eyes that no other horse at that age has done. Initially quoted as saying he’s the best he’s ever handled he qualified that to say “on the flat” reserving the title of best for Istabraq.

Pity Free Eagle reported injured today and out of the Epsom Derby and Irish Derby picture will miss the early engagements. Dermot Weld was also seeing things he hadn’t seen before.

Potential that’s what this time of year is about. Come the Breeders Cup we’ll know. In the meantime enjoy what’s going to be a stunning season.

Here’s a quick look at how the prize fund is divided. Click on the links below to see where the money will be won.

238 Group/Grade 1′s will account for $227m.

306 Group/Grade 2′ s will account for $110m.

530 Group/Group 3′s will account for $113m.

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The Dubai World Cup (Group 1)

HONG KONG – DECEMBER 08: Douglas Whyte riding Akeed Mofeed winning Race 8, The Longines Hong Kong Cup during Hong Kong International Racing at Sha Tin racecourse on December 8, 2013 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Is the end in sight for Tapeta? It looks so. We may have reached the finish line on this particular surface. The failure of the world’s richest race to attract the world’s top performers over the last four years added to some shock results by outsiders looks like putting a nail in the coffin of this particular synthetic. The world’s richest race has not produced the world’s best performances. Indeed compared to Santa Anita’s Big Cap at the beginning of the month this one looks a tame little beast. No Game On Dude, no Mucho Macho Man, no Will Take Charge. The three top 10F horses in America are all dirt.

Of the 16 that contest here only Ron The Greek comes with an American dirt pedigree. He was a winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational last September where he had a comfortable 6 3/4 L over Palace Malice at Belmont Park. He has since transferred to Saudi Arabia where his prep was a pipe opener in a three runner race in Riyadh in February.

From the other side of the world comes Akeed Mofeed. He has come a long way since his Beresford run at the Curragh in September 2011. Then trained by John Oxx he had prior to the run shown a potential that rivalled that of the 2008 winner Sea The Stars. The loss was put down to unsuitable slow ground and as a two year old he wasn’t asked for a further effort. The miserable summer of 2012 left John with no option but to reintroduce him in the Irish Derby where bottomless ground left him 18 L adrift of Camelot. One more run as a three year old in Listed company at Cork yielded a 5 L win and a sale at reputedly $2m out east. Put in the care of Richard Gibson he was specifically purchased for the Hong Kong Derby (run on St Patrick’s Day) a race open to four year olds and up. He duly obliged and followed that up in December winning the Hong Kong Cup thus booking his place in this the world richest race. The potential seen on those Currabeg gallops unlocked.

The other Hong Kong horse is Military Attack. The ex John Hills inmate is now trained by John Moore and in the prep for this at Sha Tin in February he beat Akeed Mofeed 5 1/4 L reversing the form of the December race. That was on top of the wins in the QE11 Cup at home and the Singapore Cup in Kranji last spring. You can see why he is fancied.

And what of the European challenge?

Led by the Derby winner Ruler Of The World who will race in the colours of Al Shaquab after an intriguing deal being struck earlier in the week with the Coolmore outfit. He hasn’t won since Epsom in four visits to the track. A flat Irish Derby and a good Prix Neil was followed by an inconclusive Arc and a staying on third in the Champion Stakes. His class may tell this year.

The very likeable and underrated Red Cadeaux ran a cracker here last year to be second to Animal Kingdom doing the same in the Melbourne Cup again. Mukhadram just got home in the Sky Bet York Stakes from Grandeur before failing in the Champion Stakes while Hillstar hasn’t come out of the pack since beating Battle Of Morengo at Ascot last year going down in the King George, The International and the Champion Stakes also. Side Glance did go down under to bag a G1 in the Mackinnon Stakes on Melbourne Cup day but couldn’t repeat in Hong Kong and hardly inspired confidence when running on at the same pace in R3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on super Saturday three weeks ago.

Prince Bishop won that 1 1/4 L from Sanshaawes in a smooth if not brilliant performance having previously beaten the more fancied African Story in R2 of the Challenge.

Of the Japanese pair Belshazzar looks to have the edge over Hokko Tarumae based on Japan Cup Dirt where the former beat the latter who was favourite.

All in all the Hong Kong form looks to be the benchmark here.

Untested on Tapeta as many here are Akeed Mofeed does look to have benefitted from a good draw in stall 4. When he comes with a turn of foot and some raw acceleration I’m sure John Oxx will look on saying he saw that early one morning on those Curragh gallops.

Recommendation : Akeed Mofeed 10/1 win

 

 

Santa Anita Handicap (G1)

Once the most prestigious race on the West coast memories of old will be somewhat revived at Santa Anita with todays running of the Big Cap. It’s attracted three of America’s big guns for a mouth-watering clash. It’s goes off at 11.59 GMT but it’s got a high noon feel.

A nose separated Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge here in the Breeders Cup Classic in November. The favourite that day Game On Dude, the defending champion and twice a winner of this, never got into the mix that day but in the Clark Handicap at the end of November he did when he went down a head to Will Take Charge at Churchill Downs.

Now they all meet again.

Kathy Ritvo gave Mucho Macho Man a tune up in January when at Gulfstream Park he won by 14 L. There was never a question of him fluffing his lines and that run will have tightened him up nicely for this.

D Wayne Lucas gave Will Take Charge a run at Gulfstream Park also but surprisingly he didn’t win when going down a 1 1/2 L to Lea. It wasn’t a bad run but he was always being held. Maybe the excretions of the Breeders Cup and the Clark runs just caught up.

Bob Baffert gave Game On Dude his traditional prep for this in the San Antonio Stakes. Already a winner twice of it he went off a long odds on favourite. He broke well but ended up in an early battle with Blueskiesnrainbows in the first half of the race and by the time he reached the turn the energy sap left him a spent force and he trailed in 6 L behind. The beneficary was Blingo who came with a sweet turn of foot to pick off the tiring horses coming back to him and get the better of Imperative by 1/2 L with American Blend 4 1/4 L back in third.

The current form would give Mucho Macho Man the edge not having blotted his copybook as the other two have but the San Antonio was run in a quick time and it would be foolish to ignore the claims of the winner. Blingo recorded his first pattern win at Grade 2 level and he might just step up on that here.

Recommendation : Blingo 16/1 ew

The Pattern Racing Championships – Stallion

Foreword

This is the last of our posts on The Pattern Racing Championships. Here we look at how the stallions performed in 2013. Previous posts covered championships for horses, jockeys and trainers.

The purpose of these championships is to recognise the consistency of stallions at pattern racing’s top level, Grade 1/Group 1 over the year of 2013.

Here at Pattern Racing we’ve compiled the results of 238 Grade 1/Group 1 in 2013.

Included are G1′s from England, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada, UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Each race is given the same score with 22 points available on the basis, 10 points for 1st, 7 points for 2nd and 5 points for 3rd.

The Champion Stallion of 2013 is Galileo.

Position Sire Points Won
1 Galileo (IRE) 160
2 Deep Impact (JPN) 147
3 Dansili (GB) 135

The Champion Stallion of 2013 is Galileo. Find the full list hereFind all the detail here.

1. Galileo Coolmore’s king of kings won 6 G1′s, had 5 seconds and 13 thirds in 2013 to tally 160 points. 14 individuals contributed with his biggest points hauler being Intello with 25 points. The Prix du Jockey Club winner was also third in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains – the French 2000 Guineas, the Jacques Le Marois and the Arc.

2. Deep Impact the Japanese superstar standing at Shadi Stallion Station matched Galileo in individuals on 14 however he fell short by 13 points courtesy of 5 wins, 11 seconds and 4 thirds making up his 147 total. His top scorer was the filly Gentildonna with 29 points. She won the Japan Cup recorded seconds in The Dubai Sheema Classic and Tenno Sho (Autumn) and ran third in Takarazuka Kinen.

3. Dansili accumulated 135 points for Banstead Manor Stud winning 8, 5 seconds and 4 thirds from 10 individuals. The Fugue was his standard bearer. She accumulated 39 points winning The Yorkshire Oaks and The Irish Champion Stakes running second in the Breeders Cup Turf and Hong Kong Vase and third at Royal Ascot in the Prince Of Wales. 

In all 253 stallions had offspring placed in G1′s in 2013. Congratulations to them all.

The Pattern Racing Championships – Jockey

Foreword

You’ll know from previous posts on horses and trainers how it works. The purpose of these championships is to recognise the consistency of jockeys at pattern racing’s top level, Grade 1/Group 1 over the year of 2013.

Here at Pattern Racing we’ve compiled the results of 238 Grade 1/Group 1 in 2013.

Included are G1′s from England, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada, UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Each race is given the same score with 22 points available on the basis, 10 points for 1st, 7 points for 2nd and 5 points for 3rd.

The Champion Jockey of 2013 is John Velazquez. 

Position Jockey  Total
1  J Velazquez 234
2  M Smith 212
3  J Rosario 186
4  J Castellano 179
5  R Moore 168

Find the full list hereFind the detail here.

1. John Velazquez lost his spleen riding the ill fated Secret Compass in the Breeders Cup Juvienile Fillies when she broke down. It was his last ride of the year yet it didn’t stop him becoming champion with 234 points. 12 wins, 12 seconds and 8 thirds made up his total.

His rides for trainer Todd Pletcher accumulated 71 points while a first second and third on Justin Philip was the top contribution from an individual horse amassing 22 points.

2. Mike Smith behind all season nearly caught up on 212 points.

His rides for trainer Bill Mott gave him 44 points with Bill’s Emollient contributing 30 of those points. Game On Dude and Royal Delta were next best for Mike achieving 27 points each.

3. Joel Rosario, third on the rostrum on 186 points with 26 coming from the Chad Brown barn and 24 points from his association with Bill Mott’s Close Hatches.

In all 158 jockeys were placed in G1′s in 2013. Congratulations to them all.

The Pattern Racing Championships – Trainer

Foreword

For those of you who have already read the post on horses you’ll know the purpose of these championships is to recognise the consistency of trainers at pattern racing’s top level, Grade 1/Group 1 over the year of 2013.

Here at Pattern Racing we’ve compiled the results of 238 Grade 1/Group 1 in 2013.

Included are G1′s from England, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada, UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Each race is given the same score with 22 points available on the basis, 10 points for 1st, 7 points for 2nd and 5 points for 3rd.

The Champion Trainer of 2013 is Todd Pletcher.

Position Trainer  Total
1 Todd Pletcher 263
2 Aidan O’Brien 218
3 Bob Baffert 181
4 Chad C Brown 140
5 William Mott 133

Find the full list hereFind the detail here.

1. Todd Pletcher amassed his winning score by virtue of winning 14 G1′s, 9 seconds and 12 third place finishes with 21 individual racehorses.

Todd was a fillies man in 2013. His star of the year was the three year old filly Princess Of Slymar who won 4 G1′s (The Alabama Stakes, Beldame Invitational, American Oaks and Kentucky Oaks). Authenticity was his next best contributor although not winning she scored 26 points with 3 second places and 1 third at the top level.

2. Aidan O’Brien, the only non American in the top five, secured his second place with 9 wins, 7 seconds and 13 thirds from 20 horses.

Declaration Of War’s winning score of 37 points for 2 G1′s (Queen Anne and Juddmonte International) a second and two thirds was Aidan’s top performer. Next best for the Ballydolye maestro was Magician contributing 2o points with 2 G1′s (Irish 2000 Guineas and Breeders Cup Turf) and St Nicholas Abbey (RIP) who has made his last contribution also winning 2o points with 2 G1′s wins (Dubai Sheema Classic and Coronation Cup, for the third time). What a massive loss he is to the breeding barn.

3. Bob Baffet’s total was made up of of 9 wins 8 seconds and 7 thirds from 18 runners.

Top scorer for him was Game On Dude who like Declaration Of War contributed 37 points for 3 G1′s ( TVG Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup) and 1 second.

In all 224 trainers were placed in G1′s in 2013. Congratulations to them all.

The Pattern Racing Championships – Horses

Foreword

The purpose of these championships is to recognise the consistency of horses at pattern racing’s top level, Grade 1/Group 1 over the year of 2013.

Here at Pattern Racing we’ve compiled the results of 238 Grade 1/Group 1 in 2013.

Included are G1′s from England, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada, UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Each race is given the same score with 22 points available on the basis, 10 points for 1st, 7 points for 2nd and 5 points for 3rd.

The Joint Champion Racehorse’s of 2013 are Beholder and Wise Dan.

Position Horse Total
1  Beholder, 10 B F 47
1  Wise Dan, 07 CH G 47
3  Al Kazeem (GB), 08 B H 42
4  Lord Kanaloa (JPN), 08 B H 40
4  Princess of Sylmar, 10 CH F 40

Find the full list hereFind the detail here.

1. Beholder the three year old filly trained by Richard Mandella in the USA was a winner of 4 G1 in 2013 all at Santa Anita. She kicked off in the Las Virgenes in March and then took the Santa Anita Oaks in April on her way to a tilt at the Kentucky Oaks where she ran second to Princess Of Slymar. After a summer break she returned to take the Zenyatta Stakes before capping off the year as an emphatic winner of the Breeders Cup Distaff.

1. Wise Dan another American had a tremendous year matching even surpassing his achievements of 2012. Like the filly he amassed 4 G1 wins and one second in another. His season got going with a win in the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keenland in April. He followed that up in the Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby day then coming back from a mid season break he took the Woodbine Mile in September. The Shadwell Turf Mile was next up however torrential rain meant the race had to be switched to the polytrack and he finished second. The switch to the polytrack possibly cost him the race as when back on turf in the Breeders Cup Mile he easily accounted for his conqueror at Keenland Silver Max who trailed in fourth.

3. Al Kazeem Roger Charlton’s English colt ended the year 5 points adrift of the front two. A winner of 3 G1′s, his first top flight win was when beating Camelot, the 2012 Derby winner, in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May. He followed up in the Prince Of Wales at Royal Ascot and then made it three in a row in the Coral Eclipse. He was also 2nd in the International at York and third in the Irish Champion Stakes.

In joint fourth were the Japanese sprinter Lord Kanaola and the American three year old filly Princess Of Slymar. Both won 4 G1′s apiece. Lord Kanaola confirmed himself the best sprinter in the world showing a devastating turn of foot to capture the Hong Kong Sprint at the beginning of December in his last run before retirement. Princess Of Sylmar the Kentucky Oaks winner also added the American Oaks, The Alabama Stakes and the Beldame Invitational.

Thousands of horses had the opportunity to compete yet in all only 492 horses were placed at G1 level. Congratulations to them all.

Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (Group1)

Gold Ship (June 23, 2013. 54th Takarazuka Kinen)

Gold Ship (June 23, 2013. 54th Takarazuka Kinen) (Photo credit: Ogiyoshisan)

Like the Melbourne Cup the Arima Kinen is a race that stops a nation and with Orfevre having his final outing this years race will be keenly anticipated across the thoroughbred world.

Voted number 1 in the public poll (the public can nominate the runners) the five year old 2011 Japanese triple crown winner and also winner of this in 2011 comes here off the back of another second in the Arc where he went down 5 L to Treve.

Last year in the Arc he looked the winner only to throw it away by idling. He returned to run in the Japan Cup in November going down a nose to the wonderful Gentildonna but this year he’s had a further month to recuperate from his travels to Europe and his trainer Yasutoshi Ikee reports  “He’s very calm – almost too calm by his standards.”

Gold Ship last years winner will be ridden by Ryan Moore who won the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes a juvenile G1 in Japan last week. Gold Ship was beaten 8 L in the Japan Cup and hasn’t won since June when he took the summer Grand Prix, The Takarazuka Kinen. He’ll be fitted with blinkers for the first time and in his final piece of work Ryan found him impressive.

Admire Rakti will be ridden by another foreign jockey in Craig Williams who has plenty of experience having ridden in this the last two years. The partnership only went down a1 L in the Japan Cup when fourth, the same place he recorded in the Tenno Sho in October.

Tosen Jordan also trained by Yasutoshi Ikee finished third last time out when ridden by William Buick in the Japan Cup. The partnership hasn’t survived with Hiroyuki Uchida back in the plate but the seven year old is in top form and could produce here again.

Others to watch out for are Win Variation runner up to Orfevre on three occasions and To The Glory who’ll be ridden by Christophe-Patrice “Starcraft” Lemaire.

This field is dominated by five year olds with seven of the sixteen runners however four year olds have a better win ratio than their elders over the last ten years, 2.8% 5 yo, 18.8% 4 yo.

There’s only two four year olds running this year. Love Is Boo Shet and Gold Ship. Yutaka Take rides Love Is Boo Shet who is stepping into G1 company for the first time and will start at long odds.

If the blinkers concentrate the mind of Gold Ship with Ryan Moore in the saddle the pair may prove the more reliable answer to spoil the Orfevre final party.

Recommendation : Gold Ship win bet on the PMU

Hong Kong International Day (Group I)

The last big day on the international stage sees a cracking card at Sha Tin.

The Fugue is all the rage in the Vase coming off a super summer and autumn campaign. A top performance in the Irish Champion Stakes beating Al Kazeem and Trading Leather sent her off favourite in the Breeders Cup Turf where she was collared by the late swoop of Magician. She’ll rightly go off a short price favourite for this as even though there’s some very decent quality animals in this there are none who have the sharp turn of foot that she possesses over the 12 f here. The concern about her however is she’s been on the go for a long time since the Ecplise in July and she might just tire from those excretions.

The German raider Nymphea presents an attractive alternative. She was a Group 1 winner in the Preis Von Berlin where she beat Temida 3 L who previously was a G1 winner herself in the Preis Von Bayern. She ran at Ascot on Champions Day in the Fillies and Mares but didn’t handle the soft conditions. She will like the Fugue relish this quick surface and on the PMU will be available at a decent price.

In the sprint Lord Kanaloa comes back from Japan to defend the sprint title he won last year. He’s since added three G1′s in four outing including last time out in the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama in September. Like The Fugue he’ll be a short price and again he’s worth taking on. Eddie Lynam sends his two stars Sole Power and Slade Power from Ireland and the latter is preferred based on a good second in the Haydock Sprint Cup which was followed up with a win on Champions Day in the Sprint Stakes. He’s an improving four year old who has acted on the a quick surface before.

The Mile is a tremendous race. Anyone who saw Moonlight Cloud last time out on Arc day in the Prix De La Floret over 7 f will have been completely blown away with the run she produced. At the two furlong pole she was last with Thierry Jarnet looking like he had fallen asleep in the saddle. When he let out some reign she buried the field in a matter of strides. It was an electric turn of foot that could only be described as Arazi style. Prior to that she beat a real high class field in the Jacques Le Marois over the mile at Deauville. There is a concern, a major one, she has travelled for times from France and been beaten every time. Last year in the Breeders Cup Mile she never travelled however she did give Black Caviar’s supporters a serious fright when lunging late to go down a head in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

The one that could take her on is Gold Fun. The ex Ger Lyons inmate has proved himself a serious horse since moving east. He ran a beautiful race in the prep here two weeks ago and his trainer Richard Gibson will have him primed for this.

In the final Group 1 the Cup over 10 f there’s another ex Irish inmate who has turned local. From the same stable as Gold Fun Akeed Mofeed was considered a horse of very serious potential when handled by John Oxx as a two year old. Injury curtailed his career at three and he was sold east to run as as a four year old with the Hong Kong Derby as his primary target. He duly obliged. He was disappointing in the QE11 Cup in the spring but has been brought back with three preps for this in the Autumn two of which were over inadequate trips. Last time out he showed his class running wide from the back to be just touched off. In a classy international field he has the capability to see them off giving the locals something special to cheer about.

Recommendations :

Hong Kong Vase : Nymphea PMU E/W

Hong Kong Sprint : Slade Power PMU E/W

Hong Kong Mile : Gold Fun 5/1 win

Hong Kong Cup : Akeed Mofeed 5/1 win

The Japan Cup (Group 1)

The Japan Cup is the top class premier middle distance race for older horses in Japan.  It’s the east’s version of the King George or the Arc but wrapped into one. The early years of the race were dominated by international raiders whose superior breeding gave them a strong edge.

Not so now as Japan’s home breds are up there with the very best in the world. The king in the breeding barn is undoubtably Deep Impact the 2006 winner of the race. He’s represented by three offspring Verxina, Demon and Ruby and the likely favourite and defending champion Gentildonna who’ll be partnered by Ryan Moore.

Gentildonna beat Orfevre a nose in winning last year and has run three times since getting beat in all. In March she went down 2 1/4 L to St Nicholas Abbey in the Sheema Classic at Meydan. In June back on home turf at Hanshin she ran third off a wide draw going down to 3 1/2 L to Gold Ship in the Takarazuka Kinen and in October in prep for this over 10 f in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) she found Just A Way 4 L too good.

Her conquerer at Hanshin Gold Ship will rival her closley in the market. This colt last year as a three year old won the Japanese version of the the Guineas, the Satsuki Sho and also the St Leger, the Kikuka Sho.

Of the other home team Eishin Flash third in this year’s Tenno Sho (having previously beaten the winner) and the 2012 Tenno Sho winner Tosen Jordan need to be considered.

Three Europeans travel. Marco Botti sends Joshua Tree on the back of defending his Canadian International over this trip at Woodbine in October. With Ryan committed to Gentildonna this year’s Mr Confidence Johnny Murtagh comes in for the ride.

Dunaden and Simenon take the scenic route home from the Melbourne Cup.

Dunaden Melbourne Cup winner of 2011 looks to have had his best days behind him. His early season form was very promising, third at Epsom in the Coronation Cup behind St Nicholas Abbey. He followed that up with a second in the Grand Prix De Saint Cloud to the King George winner Novellist however his Prix Foy run and Melbourne Cup leave him wanting to find top level form again.

Simenson who again will have Richard Hughes in the plate has been a revelation this year running second in the Ascot Gold Cup and although the drop in trip here would suggest this would be too sharp he did run a cracker before the Melbourne Cup when running third to Sea Moon at Caufield over 12 f.

There’s negatives to all here. The top Japanese haven’t come with top recent form. That doesn’t mean that Gentildonna hasn’t been primed for this and next month’s equally important Arima Kinen. Gold Ship equally has been hit and miss this year. Two of the Europeans had as their primary season target their last race, the Melbourne Cup and while it would be unfair to say this is an after thought it is definitely a bonus.

The one coming here with the positive is Joshua Tree, a winner of his last race he has the benefit of Johnny Murtagh whose been riding big races like the best pound for pound boxer in the world.

One of those top flight successes was Chiquita in the Irish Oaks who went through the ring at Goff’s yesterday for a European record of €6 million. The seller Paul Makin should recall in gratitude how she violently veered to the left in the final furlong. That was no bother to the pilot who still saw her home in his ice cool manner. Don’t be surprised if he does it again on Joshua Tree whom incidentally he rode to win his first ever race back in the day when both were Ballydoyle inmates.

Recommendation: Joshua Tree 16/1 ew