The Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1)

Twiggy Wiggy looked an extremely impressive winner of the Lowhter at York where she went pillar to post. The pack in behind never got in a blow as she stretched away from them 2 f out to win easily from Cursory Glance (since a winner of the Moyglare (G1)) and Anthem Alexander.

At York she was avenging her short head defeat suffered at the hands of Anthem Alexander in the Queen Mary and Eddie Lynham has chosen to let the fillies meet once again.

Andre Farbe throws High Celrebrity in here looking for a fourth French win in the last eight years. Three runs have yielded two wins and a second. The loss came in the Duchess Of Cambridge at Newmarket when as a 4/9 shot she got turned over. She put it right when comfortably winning the Prix D’Arenberg at Chantilly a couple of weeks ago.

David Simcock fresh off a Group 1 double in Canada sends his 10 L Warwick maiden winner to take her chance. She was very good at the shallow end but here she’s in at the deep end on only her second run. She could be anything.

Not often you get the chance to back Ryan Moore at 33/1 in a G1 but that’s the opportunity today when he rides Richard Fahey’s Zuhoor Baynoona. A Yarmouth maiden winner she was third to Patience Alexander (Twiggy Wiggy second) at York in May and hasn’t run since.

John Gosden and James Doyle combine for Khalid Abdullah’s Tendu. She’ll hardly replace Kingman for stable stardom but she has advanced from a first run 7 L defeat to a 5 L second time out win on Kempton’s all weather surface.

The Irish filly could well beat the French filly but can either beat the English one. Visually Twiggy Wiggy was the eye catcher of the season. A win here and connections are talking about a trip to Paris next weekend for the Abbaye . The way she won last time you wouldn’t rule either out.

Recommendation : Twiggy Wiggy 6/4 win

Irish Champions Day 2 and Arc Trials Day

The Grey Gatsby returns having won The Irish Champions Stakes

The Grey Gatsby returns having won The Irish Champions Stakes

Cracking days racing yesterday at Leopardstown.

The action moves on to the Curragh today with another 3 Group 1’s with the limelight switching to the two year olds with the Moyglare Stakes for the fillies and the National Stakes for the colts.

In the Moyglare Cursory Glance represents the Leger winning combination of Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni. She comes here having run second to an extremely fast filly in Tiggy Wiggy in the Lowther at York a few weeks ago where she had Anthem Alexander back in third. Very decent form.

The other English runners Malabar and Osaila are both pattern race winners having taken the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood and the Princess Margret at Ascot respectively putting both in the window for this. They were both behind Cursory Glance in the Albany so have to turn over the form but both have gone the right way since.

Aidan runs four with the once raced Found being the pick of Joseph. She was an unconsidered 14/1 shot when she beat her stalemate Together Forever here last month on the bridle. This is a major step up in class but the way she did it last time suggests she mightn’t light up the gallops at home but saves her best for the racecourse. Simply A Star has the most experience having seven runs yielding one win and placed each time in the other six. There’s some decent form in those efforts. Second to Accepted (3rd in the Flying Childers at Doncaster on Friday) and third to Ainippe twice means she’ll outrun her price of 50/1.

The National is disappointing numerically with no horse there to pick up the €3000 sixth prize. It’s hard to see beyond Gleneagles though if there is to be a surprise, as we had yesterday with Australia, then Jim Bolger’s Hall Of Fame who already has the scalp of John F Kennedy (impressive winner of the Juvenile Turf yesterday) could be the provider.

In the Irish Leger Pale Mimosa can put it up to Leading Light while over at Longchamp for Arc trials day there’s plenty to keep an eye on.

Treve in the Vermille is vulnerable to the John Gosden pair of Pomology and Sultanina with Pomology preferred. Kingsbarns might fulfill his potential in the Prix Foy with Ryan Moore aboard who can also boot Adelaide home in the Prix Neil.

Recommendations :

The Moyglare Stakes Simply A Star 50/1 e w 

The National Stakes Hall Of Fame 16/1 ew 

The Irish Leger Pale Mimosa 5/1 win

Prix Neil Adelaide 5/1 ew 

Prix  Vermille Pomology PMU Price

Prix Foy Kingsbarns 12/1 win

 

 

Irish Champions Weekend

 

Crowd Watch on at Leopardstown at last years Champion Stakes

The crowd watch on at Leopardstown at last years Champion Stakes

As summer slips gently by racing goes into overdrive as a trio of top class festival’s begins. Irish Champions Weekend , Arc weekend in Paris and Champions Day at Ascot all but bring Europe’s pattern season to a close.

The inaugural Irish champions weekend comes with a real punch of quality. Ten Group races including five Group 1’s. A veritable feast of racing. €2.9 m of prize money up for grabs.

On Saturday at Leopardstown

Kilternan Stakes (G3) over 10 f for 3 yo and up Open. €100,000

Golden Fleece (G3) over 8 f for 2 yo Open. €100,000

Solonaway Stakes (G2)  over 8 f for 3 yo and up Open. €200,000

Matron Stakes (G1) over 8 f for 3 yo and up Fillies & Mares. €300,000

Champion Stakes (G1) over 10 f  for 3 yo and up Open. €1,000,000

On Sunday at the Curragh

Blandford Stakes (G2) over a 10 f for 3 yo and up Fillies & Mares. €200,000

Flying Five (G2) over 5 f for 3 yo and up Open. €100,000

The National (G1) over 7 f for 2 yo Colts & Fillies. €300,000

Moyglare Stakes (G1) over 7 f for 2 yo Fillies. €300,000

The St Leger Stakes (G1) over 14 f  for 3 yo and up Open. €300,000

Last year that we saw Australia take first taste of superstardom when he had 6 L to spare over Free Eagle in the Golden Fleece. He’s back again this time for the main event The Irish Champion Stakes. As you’d expect plenty of other stars will be on show Leading Light, Chiquita, Tapestry, Encke, Marrek, Gordon Lord Byron to name but a few.

It’s a weekend that cover’s all angles, top class older horses, the best of the classic generation and the establishment of the top juveniles. Sprinting, middle distances and stayers all catered for.

And the good news if further were needed, good fast ground with the sun shining to boot.

What a weekend it promises to be.

Recommendation : Be There

Sprint Cup

He wasn’t first choice for this in his stable.

He’s never won over 6f yet his best performance was over the distance in Hong Kong last year when beaten 5 L by Lord Kanaloa.

He comes here on the back of three straight wins the last two at top level, the Kings Stand and Nunthorpe .

He’s there to be shot at but his racing style means it’s impossible to that.

He loves to sit in and come with a late burst and scythe down the opposition and in Richard Hughes he has the pilot who can get it right, the man to deliver at the death.

The quicker the ground the better but good will do to allow him unleash that killer acceleration.

Age is on his side. Sprinters get better with maturity and he he’s learnt to preserve his speed until he needs it.

Eddie planned to keep him for next week to support Irish Champions weekend and run him in the Flying Five but it’s only right that we see him here in Group 1 company.

Is he the best sprinter in the world ? We won’t find out today.

What we will find out is that Eddie Lynam has the two best sprinters in the world right now.

Slade and Sole the most able of replacements.

Recommendation : Sole Power 7/2 win

Juddmonte International (Group 1)

Australia winning The Derby from Kingston Hill.

Can he be beaten?

Mukhadram as a four year old struggled when mixing it at top level. His best performance was here last year over course and distance in the G2 York Stakes. Twice beaten by Al Kazeem in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and The Eclipse he’s a different horse at five. Maturity now means he an Eclipse winner himself and he can’t be easily dismissed here as a result. Stretched to the limit of his stamina in the King George he’s now back his favoured trip and he is the benchmark for a 10f test.

Telescope has touched the flame but failed to ignite it. You know it’s there, we saw it at Ascot in the Hardwicke yet there’s a question about his attitude. Twice behind Frankel’s brother Noble Mission this season is still reliable form but does he really want do it at top level?

The circumstance of the race plays a huge part, weight for age matters and the concession to the three year olds is significant at this stage of the season. The last three year old winner of The International was Sea The Stars. Testament to the difficulty of winning the race for the younger horse. You have to be top drawer to do as a three year old. It’s why Ballydoyle are keen to run, to establish a superstar.

The Grey Gatsby winner of the French Derby is in someway the forgotten horse. His last run in the Grand Prix De Paris told us he’s not a 12f horse but the Prix Du Jockey Club showed us his trip is this 10f. The French Derby hasn’t worked out too well with both the second and third also beaten since.

Arod another three year old was no match for Australia at Epsom but yet he remains’ somewhat of an unknown quantity. Peter Chapple-Hyam sent him to Leicester for a 9 L confidence booster over 10f in July which should have him cherry ripe for this.

And then there’s Kingfisher not to be treated as a mug, he’s there on merit. He was an impressive Dee Stakes winner at Chester and he proved himself behind Australia when beaten 2 1/2 L in the Irish Derby. He will most likely be sacrificed as the pacemaker but he may well be very difficult to pass.

The ground will be good to firm which is just what Australia will want. He’s had a mid season break and put on some weight since we last saw him at the Curragh. Aidan has informed us he has a question mark about his level of fitness and this prehaps is the only hole to be found in him. We know how he is viewed in the pantheon of all time Ballydoyle greats and his Derby win’s have confirmed it to the public eye. It could not have been any easier at the Curragh.

The older horses Mukhadram and Telescope will make sure this has to be won. Arod is bound to have come on since Epsom and will get closer while The Grey Gatsby has course experience when winning The Dante here. Kingfisher will ensure this a true test but even if Joseph has to carry a few pounds overweight to match the belly of his mount it’s most likely we’ll see Australia prevail.

Recommendation : Australia 8/11 win

 

 

Arlington Million Day

Great chance of Irish success in Chicago as Ballydoyle throw three good horses at the Arlington’s big annual meeting.

First up in the Listed American St Leger is Eye Of The Storm. He’s a winner over the 16f trip already when beating Missunited (since a winner of the Lillie Langtry and 3rd in the Ascot Gold Cup) last year at the Curragh and comes here after a nice confidence booster when beating Roheryn in the Ballyroan (G3) last time out at Leopardstown.

Opposition seems light with last years winner Dandino not firing in the Hardwick Stakes or the Princess Of Wales Stakes this year. Suntracer second last year went down to The Pizza Man in the prep for this, The Stars and Stripes  and the latter may prove best of the home team.

Adelaide goes in the first of three G1’s on the card, the Secretariat. He was a shade unlucky last time in the Belmont Derby when going down a neck to Mr Speaker, another few strides would have seen him get up so he’s a deserving favourite. Aidan employs a pacemaker this time in the shape of Belisarius. Gailo Chop put the form in good light at Deauville today (4th at Belmont) in the G2 Prix Guillaume D’Ornano.

Looking at the Beverly D Kiyoshi didn’t uphold the form in Deauville , second to Euro Charline in the Woodcote recently at Ascot she didn’t fire in the G3 Prix De Lieurey today. This may open it for an ex Tipperary filly in the shape of Tannery (formely with David Wachman) winner of last years Ep Taylor (G1) at Woodbine now in the care of Alan Goldberg.

Magician is the Ballydoyle representative in the Million. He’ll be back on Laxis for the first time since The Breeder’s Cup Turf win of last year. He couldn’t cope with the soft ground at Ascot in the King George and that run is best forgotten. Previously at the Royal meeting he lost out to the Fugue (whom he collared at Santa Anita) with Treve a length behind. Fast ground is the key to him now. Real Solution the Manhattan winner is best of the home team.

Recommendations :

American St Leger : Eye Of The Storm

Beverley D : Tannery  

Secretariat Stakes : Adelaide 

Arlington Million : Magician  

The King George And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Group 1)

Ground is a the major factor here.

Ascot got a dumping on the eve of this, the centrepiece of the British flat racing season. A race that some had thought had lost its lustre has been restored over the last few year’s. German thoroughbred’s have had a hand to play with Dandredream and Novelist playing no small part.

Today is about the excitement generated by the John Gosden filly, Taghrooda, set to be crowned the new The Fugue. If she win’s this she’ll wear the mantle lightly.

Her Oaks victory was a commanding performance, never in doubt she wrote class all over it yet the step up here is a brave move not only for her trainer but for owner too. Hamdan Al Maktoum silks have made a welcome return to the Group 1 circle lately but to put out want may be an absolutely talented but inexperienced filly into this company is some statement of intent.

You could argue there’s a hole on the incline in the road. The filly second at Epsom, Tarfasha, ran poorly at the Curragh last weekend although Volume threw in a tough and honest run to uphold the form when holding on to be third.

That’s the thing about throwing a three year old filly into the bear pit against the older males. She might get scared of them and let then dominate her through sheer inexperience or she might hold them like putty in her hand, a thing to play with till she decides to show them how it’s done.

These boy’s are no mugs, there led by Telescope the impressive winner of the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot over the same trip last month. If you had a horse like him with the potential he showed you would feel very comfortable that patience would be rewarded. His trainer Sir Michel Stoute can do master classes in how to turn near misses into block busters. His general level of form says nearly but his last run suggested superstar.

There’s another hot three year old in the hands of John Gosden. Eagle Top destroyed Adelaide in the King Edward VII over this trip. He’s unknown to us in reality when we’re talking this level and fit’s into the category of could be anything.

Magician hasn’t given us that Breeders Cup moment this year though that’s benchmarked against a 1 3/4 L downing to The Fugue at Ascot. Trading Leather this year is considered a bit last year in the fashion sense. That doesn’t mean he can’t still dress for the big occasion. Jim Bolger call’s it on himself and while the first run was trainer error the second was just beaten by a better horse.

Between the Oaks and this the meat in the sandwich is the Eclipse. Mukhadram is considered to have got the better of the field when the pilot’s were asleep at the back but that denies the truth of his authoritative performance. He took it on and burned a hole in all bar Trading Leather who battled to try to create a fight.

Romsdal brings the Derby form to the contest, (and a shiver to the spine if you thought of Australia being here). He was only beaten 4 1/2L at Epsom.

If Taghrooda is as good as she looked at Epsom then she’s the one to beat but back to where we started, the ground.

These are horses who so far have shown a preference for a quick surface to show their best and finger’s crossed that’s what we’ll get but if the thunderstorms appear and with the word soft appearing in the going description then a horse who can win a Curragh maiden in October by 6 L as a two year old on heavy ground shouldn’t be discounted.

Recommendation : Magician win 5/1 win

 

 

The Coral Eclipse (Group 1)

The Fugue winning last years Irish Champion Stakes

The Fugue winning last years Irish Champion Stakes

 

The money has come for Kingston Hill this morning. 11/2 overnight he’s now a 4/1 shot. The ground rides good to firm despite 3mm of rain overnight. The difference for the Varian team between this week and last week is that the drop of rain should be enough to take the sting out.

The Fugue is on the drift from 2/1 to 5/2 as the sponsors attempt to take her on. This reflects the depth of the race. It’s only 17 days since she beat Magician, Treve and Mukhadram at Royal Ascot in the Prince’s Of Wales over this 10 f trip. It’s now considered her favourite as she excelled last year at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes ahead of Al Kazeem and Trading Leather.

As well as Kingston Hill four other three year olds get the weight for age allowance. The Guineas winner Night Of Thunder had the form overturned with Kingman in the St James’s Palace Stakes where War Command ran on to be third. Richard Hannon’s colt might find the trip brings him to the edge of his stamina whereas War Command looks likely to benefit from the step up in trip. True Story didn’t stay in the Derby and he will surely benefit from the drop in trip. The Dante run behind the Great Gatsby shouldn’t be forgotten.

The two four year olds come from Ireland. Last years Irish Derby winner ran a moderate race at Newmarket over 12 f in early May. Likewise his trainer Jim Bolger also had a moderate start to the season but between Fairyhouse on Wednesday and Leopardstown on Thursday he’s had 7 runners of which 4 won and 2 were second.

Verrazano is getting better, third in the Lockinge, second in the Queen Anne to Toronado both over the mile he goes a furlong further than his best performance when he won the Haskell Invitational over 9 f. Tullius is going the other way second in the Lockinge he could only manage fourth in the Queen Anne.

The 17 day gap since The Fugue’s last run will encourage to the opposition. In high summer it might not affect her but she did break the track record which would have required some exertion.

A cracking race, the first meeting of the generations this year. The three year old’s look to be above average this year and the weight advantage might pay this afternoon. The Derby and Guineas form is hot and arguably the Derby is the hotter. Kingston Hill was the best stayer in the race beaten by an exceptional speedster in Australia . The trip is the question here. He might just find this trip too sharp on ground that not ideal.

The one who could have the cards fall his way is True Story. He hated Epsom, the trip, the switchback nature of the track and the chamber all of which blunted his natural talent and curtailed the one thing you need to win this race today, pace. This won’t be short for pace and weight for age can put Kieron Fallon and Godolphin back in the limelight.

Recommendation : True Story 16/1 ew

 

Irish Derby (Group 1)

John Oxx's Ponfeigh returning to the ring after his recent win at Navan

John Oxx’s Ponfeigh returning to the ring after his recent win at Navan

“They never get it right, it was meant to be sunny today”.

“They never get it right it was meant to be raining today”.

The two things you hear said most often in Ireland every summer.

The beauty of the Irish weather is its unpredictably. The painful phrase that all Irish people have grown up to. It means “expect to get pissed on”

When dealing with high class proven animals the major consideration one must have is the going. Treve taught us an invaluable lesson last week. She didn’t handle good to firm whereas The Fugue did. As John Gosden said come autumn in Paris instead of high summer at Ascot and the chances are that The Fugue would have no chance.

Similarly here at the Curragh in what is effectively a match between Australia and Kingston Hill, first and second at Epsom, the major consideration is the prevailing ground.

The Curragh authorities have been left with a most difficult balancing act.

Aidan O’Brien has strongly intimated that should the surface be slow he will not repeat the mistake he made when running Camelot two years ago and he will go the route John Oxx did with Sea The Stars and wait for the Eclipse next week.

Roger Varian on the other hand wants it no worse than decent but the more give the greater the chance his horse, Kingston Hill will have to shine.

5 mm of rain fell Thursday night on the track to leave it remaining good to firm.

Advantage Australia, as they would say in Wimbledon, so much so it risks the scenario that the match won’t happen at all.

Tempting as it might be to run when Roger put’s his head in the fridge and think’s back to the Guineas he’ll surely conclude that there will be another day for his stable star.

What do you do if your track manager?

Water tonight just enough to take the jar out which will leave it good to firm?

Come post time tomorrow evening it will most likely be on the quicker side of good to firm.

Whew, Australia will be there to romp home as Kingston Hill drives out the gate.

Or

Water tonight enough to leave it good?

Whew, Australia and Kingston Hill will be there to fight out a tremendous battle.

Of course you run the risk that the artificial intervention will be followed by the beauty of the Irish weather in which case Kingston Hill will be there to romp home as Australia drives out the gate.

If he does then Geoffrey Chaucer will get his chance to put Epsom behind him. Tailed off last 90 Ls in arrears of the winner says forget the run, it doesn’t matter, he’s a hell of a lot better than that.  The others who ran at Epsom Fascinating Rock, Kingfisher and Orchestra all have over 10 L to find and would look to be running for places. The one who never made Epsom was Ponfeigh who instead prepped at Navan over 10 F. He had Maskoon 3 3/4 Ls behind him who ran a decent race in the Premier Handicap tonight to be third.

One thing for sure, as any Irish person will tell you, the beauty of the Irish weather is one pain in the hole.

Recommendation : If one drops out stick Ponfeigh in the forecast with the one who hasn’t.

 

Royal Ascot Day 2 – Featuring The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)

 

Treve’s form is in reality is only enhanced by the defeat in the Prix Ganay by Cirrus Des Aigles.

Cirrus has gone on to take the Prix D’Ispahan and Coronation Cup since and before the Ganay had run a cracker in Dubai behind Gentildonna. The advantage of a run gave Cirrus the edge and the fact that Treve got involved in an epic battle up the straight showed not only has she trained on but also she is a willing fighter with a will to win to match her class.

She’s truly a superb animal, one of the best we’ve ever seen over middle distance’s. She trounced a top class Arc field last year when she had no right to. Lit up early, out of position for most of the race, it didn’t matter she sauntered past them as if they weren’t there.

This field is decent.

Another top class filly in the shape of The Fugue (triple G1 winner, last time in the Irish Champion Stakes), Magician (top class Breeders Cup Turf winner and Irish Guineas winner), Dank (Beverley D winner), Mukhadram (2nd in Dubai World Cup) and a rejuvenated Parish Hall (Dewhurst winner, albeit 2011). They’re all playing for place money. The fact that Jim Bolger continues to let Parish Hall mix it with the best means he’s some faith in him. He ran his best race since that Dewhurst when making Magician battle all the way last time out at the Curragh. He could sneak a place at long odds.

Recommendation : Treve 4/6 win, Parish Hall 80/1 ew (if all 8 run)

In the other races :

The Jersey Stakes (Group 3)

Strong Irish challenge in number and quality, with Surdiman’s two year old form suggesting he’s overpriced. He’s a won the Phoenix Stakes and was second in the National and should strip fitter for a recent run at Naas where he ran out of puff in the closing stages to finish fourth.

Recommendation : Surdiman 25/1 ew

 

The Queen Mary ( Group 2)

Wesley Ward’s Spanish Pipedream will be all the rage after Hootenanny romping home today but Eddie Lynam’s Anthem Alexander a 7 L winner at Tipperary is a worthy second favourite. Maybe she didn’t beat much but like another of yesterday’s winner’s The Wow Signal she’s by Starspangledbanner who showed he’s capable of passing on his speed gene. Eddie know’s how to produce quick one’s too. Wonder if she’s worked with Sole Power?

Recommendation : Anthem Alexander 7/2 win

The Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Certify is worth another shout, only beaten the once she was overturned by L’Amour De Ma Vie in the Balanchine at the Dubai Carnival having beaten her earlier in the carnival. She was a proper two year old beating Sky Lantern and Purr Along before winning the G1 Fillies Mile by 4 1/2 L’s from Roz.

Recommendation : Certify 14/1 ew