The Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)

Highland Reel in the Pre Parade Ring at Leopardstown

 

Postponed beat Highland Reel in this and in The International at York last year, the latter at 10f.

At York when they broke from the gate Postponed’s pacemaker King Bolete took it on with Sheamie Heffernan content to settle in behind on Highland Reel. Andrea Atzeni on Postponed tracked Highland Reel. As the pacemaker fell away 4F out Andrea immediately kicked. He received an instant response from his mount. At the 3F pole he cruised past Highland Reel in a matter of strides and looked to a have the race won. Highland Reel having got caught for toe initially began to pick up and battle. Postponed drifted towards the stands rail under maximum effort and managed to hold off the Irish colt. Immediately the suspicion was over a longer trip there would be a reversal.

In Paris in the Arc in October they met again.

Both were drawn wide and needed to break well in order to establish position. After 2F they had shuffled across to sit in behind the leader’s racing side by side for much of the race. As they turned for home Andrea asked Postponed to extend. He did picking up as instantly as he did at York with Highland Reel once again caught for toe. Then the stamina requirement of those extra two furlongs began to ask questions. Postponed dash was over while Highland Reel was finding his stride. He galloped to the line only to be denied by the turn of foot of his stablemate Found who had burst through on Postponed’s inside to fly to the line.

Maybe it was the excretions at York that emptied Postponed.

Highland Reel who’ll reunite with Ryan Moore went on to the Breeders Cup where extraordinarily he was given a soft lead by the American jockeys. They mustn’t have watched him win the King George in the summer under Ryan. This time it was Seamie who thought them a lesson. He wound him up in his own time and not even Found’s pace could reel him in. He then took in Hong Kong in December where he looked to have the race won only to tire in last 100 yards and be collared by Santono Crown who has since followed up in the Kyoto Kinen at home in Japan in February.

Maybe it was the end of a long season.

Postponed has followed a similar route to last year prepping for this on super Saturday in the Dubai City Of Gold. Last year he won easily, this year he was beaten. When they broke from the gate Andrea Atzeni found himself trapped wide. He didn’t want to be there so he angled his way in onto the rail. As they raced around the bend into the straight he brought Postponed off the rail. A gap appeared briefly for Postponed to get upsides of one of the Godolphin runners Emotionless on the outside. He was in turn being tracked by another Godolphin runner Prize Money ridden by Adrie de Vires. Adrie pressed Prize Money to close the door and the gap was gone. Postponed angled back inside Emotionless and got a run up the rail. He ran on and got passed Emotionless but it was too late Prize Money on the outside was in full flight and won it a half a length.

Maybe Roger Varian had left something to work on.

Jack Hobbs put in one hell of a run in the Champion Stakes last October. He’d been virtually off the track for a year as in his only other start in April he had been pulled up. At Ascot he came from the tale of the field travelling wide putting in his best work at the finish to close to third behind Almanzor and Found. Word is he put in a spectacular piece of work at Chelmsfort before travelling to Dubai. These extra two furlongs will help his cause.

Seventh Heaven the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner must prove herself again. After disappointing in the English equivalent at Ascot in October she was a tad unlucky when not getting the best of runs in the Fillies and Mares Turf at the Breeders Cup.

Sounds Of Earth will have to find something having finished in the bunch in the Arima Kinen on Christmas Day. Before that he ran second in the Japan Cup while Prize Money who won the November Handicap has continued to improve through the spring at Meyden winning a handicap before the City Of Gold.

It might be that Roger Varian didn’t want Postponed as forward as he had him last year, that he’s left more to work on in the intervening three weeks or it might be that run at York last August left too deep a scar. If it’s the latter then Highland Reel will expose the wound.

Recommendation: Highland Reel 4/1 win

Tricast : Highland Reel, Jack Hobbs & Seventh Heaven

 

 

The Pattern Racing World Championships (Part 2)

Aidan O'Brien

It’s been a good year for Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore team

This is the 4th Year of the Pattern Racing World Championships (PRWC). 

The PRWC’s tracked the placings of 312 Group/Grade 1’s races across the world and we can now announce the winners of PRWC 2016.

Point’s are awarded for finishing in the top three in Grade 1/Group 1 contests.

Points                1st = 10 pts,                    2nd = 7 pts,                 3rd = 5 pts.

We have 6 categories, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Sire, Owner and Breeder.

In the last post we covered the first 3 categories Horse, Trainer and Jockey and today we cover Owner, Sire and Breeder.

4. The Owners’s Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Owner
Rank Name Points Scored
1 Coolmore 494
2 Godolphin 379
3 Al Shaqab Racing 133

 

1st Coolmore Alice Springs on the way in after winning the Coolmore Matron Stakes

1st Coolmore Alice Springs on the way in after winning the Coolmore Matron Stakes

Coolmore take top spot from Goldolphin in a reversal of last years placings. Godolphin actually surpassed last years winning total of 372 points but Coolmore outpaced them going from 330 points up to 494.  The powerhouses in racing are separated by 115 points, that’s a very comfortable margin.

Naturally Ballydoyle were the big winners for Coolmore with 477 points and Simon Callaghan in America added 17 points.

2nd Godolphin Devonshire on her way out for the Coolmore Matron Stakes

2nd Godolphin Devonshire on her way out for the Coolmore Matron Stakes

Godolphin success came from trainers across the globe with John O’Shea in Australia contributing 156 points. In England 165 points were collected with Godolphin’s principle trainers Charlie Appleby winning 73 points and Saeed bin Surorr collecting 47 points. Richard Fahey, John Gosden and Roger Varian also collected in England for them while in the United States Kiaran McLaughlin won 42 points and Jim Bolger in Ireland added 12 points.

3rd Al Shaqab Racing Qemah on her way in after the Coolmore Matron Stakes

3rd Al Shaqab Racing Qemah on her way in after the Coolmore Matron Stakes

Al Shaqab advanced from 7th last year to take 3rd spot this year and will be very happy to have added 56 points on top of the 77 won in 2015. English trainer’s Hugo Palmer and Richard Hannon won 34 points and 12 points respectively. In France Jean-Claude Rouget won 60 points and in America Todd Plecther collected 20 points.

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

5. The Sire’s Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Sire
Rank Name Points Scored
1 Galileo (IRE) 454
2 Deep Impact (JPN) 204
3 Dubawi (IRE) 146

 

Galileo retains his crown for the third year in a row with a with a whopping 454 points. He posted 24 wins, 22 2nds and 12 3rds. His winning margin was a massive 250 points and he also improved his winning score by 197 points from last year’s winning total of 257 points.

Ballydoyle horses won 400 points with Minding, Found and Highland Reel putting up 180 points between them. His stunning year was capped off with a first time 1, 2, 3 in the Arc, a feat he also achieved in the 1000 Guineas.

Deep Impact improved a place to 2nd with 11 wins, 7 2nds and 9 3rds.

He also created a first with a clean sweep of Japan’s Triple Crown. Dee Majesty won the Satsuki Sho – Japanese 2000 Guineas, Makahiki the Tokyo Yushun – Japanese Derby and Santono Diamond’s took the Kikuka Sho – Japanese St. Leger.

Dubawi slipped a place to 3rd with 7 wins 8 2nds and 4 3rds. His proudest moments were provided by Postponed who won the Dubai Sheema Classic, Epsom’s Coronation Cup and the International Stakes at York.

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

6. The Breeder’s Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Breeder
Rank Name Points Scored
1  Darley 268
2  Northern Racing 156
3  Shadai Farm 98

 

Darley retain top spot on the breeders table improving their total from 241 points to 268 points. They also beat the number of  G1 wins having won 9 last year they upped that to 10 this year. They were 2nd in 15 having dead heated in the Emirates Stakes down under and 3rd in 13. No doubt with the streamlining of the Godolphin and Darley operations they will be looking to retain the title this year.

In Japan Northern Racing will also be very pleased moving from 7th last year on 87 points to 3rd this year on 156 points. They won 6 G1’s were 2nd and 3rd on 8 occasions.

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

Who will be the champions in 2017?

The Pattern Racing World Championships (Part 1)

This is the 4th Year of the Pattern Racing World Championships (PRWC). 

The PRWC’s tracked the placings of 312 Group/Grade 1’s races across the world and we can now announce the winners of PRWC 2016.

Point’s are awarded for finishing in the top three in Grade 1/Group 1 contests.

Points                1st = 10 pts,                    2nd = 7 pts,                 3rd = 5 pts.

We have 6 categories, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Sire, Owner and Breeder.

Ryan Moore on Minding on the way out for the Irish Champion Stakes

Ryan Moore the winning jockey of PRWC 2016 on Minding 2nd in PRWC 2016 on the way out for the Irish Champion Stakes

1. The Horse Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Horse
Rank Name Points Scored
1  Black Heart Bart (AUS) 65
2  Minding (IRE) 62
3  Winx (AUS) 60

 

The Australian Black Heart Bart is this year’s Champion. He ran in G1 company 8 times in all winning 3 and finishing 2nd in another 5. His highlight was the Memsie Stakes in August. It was his consistency through the season that put him on top. Others may have won more G1’s but his durability through the year over distances between 6f and 10f saw him become champion, no mean feat.

Minding fills 2nd spot. She won 5 G1’s and was 2nd and 3rd in another pair. She proved herself a spring, summer and autumn filly collecting the Guineas, Oaks and QE II Stakes.

Winx like Minding, another filly won 6 G1’s. She collected in her autumn when she took the Chipping Norton putting her on route to a 2nd Cox Plate in her spring. 2017 will see her stay at home however in 2018 her trainer Chris Waller is considering a tilt at Royal Ascot and a northern hemisphere campaign. How exciting is that.

In all 606 horses scored points this year –

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

2. The Trainer’s Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Trainer
Rank Name Points Scored
1 A P O’Brien 477
2 Chad C Brown 301
3 Chris Waller 205

 

Aidan O’Brien regained top spot last held in 2014 with a staggering display of supremacy. 22 G1 wins accompanied by 26 2nd’s and 15 3rd’s supplied the points total. He beat Chris Waller’s 2015 winning total of 279 points by a whopping 198 points. He built on a super spring to have a spectacular summer and finished the year off in the autumn with that memorable 1,2, 3 in the Arc. Minding, Found, Highland Reel, Alice Springs and The Gurkha were all major points winners and you can expect 2017 to be another good year with his two year olds led by Churchill having contributed 138 points.

Chad Brown improved his position from 4th last year to 2nd courtesy of 12 wins 18 2nd’s and 11 3rd’s. His older horses led the charge with Flintshire amassing 34 points to be his best performer and Wake Forest earning 27 points. The two year old Practical Joke added 25 points to carry high hopes in 2017.

Last year’s winner Chris Waller fell to 3rd this year but still had 8 win’s, 10 2nd’s and 11 3rd’s. Winx’s 6 wins puts her in the truly outstanding mould and she will attempt to win the Cox Plate for the 3rd time this year before that trip north in 2018.

In all 188 Trainer’s scored points this year –

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

3. The Jockey’s Championship’s 2016

PRWC 2016 – Jockey
Rank Name Points Scored
1 Ryan Moore   347
2 Javier Castellano 211.5
3 Frankie Dettori   185

 

Ryan Moore retains the title won last year improving his points total from 270 to 347. It’s hardly surprising given his role as number one jockey to Ballydoyle, 20 G1 wins with 16 2nd’s and 7 3rd’s made up his tally. As well as winning 16 G1’s for the O’Brien team he also won for Henry Candy and Japanese trainers Noriyuki Hori and Yoshito Yahagi.

Javier Castellano improved one place from 2015 to 2nd with 9 wins including a dead heat in the Spinaway Stakes adding 9 2nd’s and 12 3rd’s. His association with Chad Brown provided 100 points.

Frankie Dettori filled 3rd spot with 7 wins, 10 2nd’s and 9 3rd place finishes. Was Galileo Gold Guineas his highlight or Wicklow Brave’s win in the Ascot Gold Cup.

In all 194 Jockeys scored points this year –

Click here to see where they finished

Click here to see how they did it

We shall cover the other three categories in the next post.

Hong Kong Vase & Mile (G1)

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Aidan sends Highland Reel and Cougar Mountain east to Hong Kong in a bid to cap an outstanding season. His lead in the Pattern Racing Trainers World Championships is unassailable but more of that in a later blog. His work isn’t finished yet for the year.

In the Vase Highland Reel will go off a short price favourite on a return to the course where he announced himself on the world stage last year when he beat Flintshire here. Since he’s won the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes the highlight of the middle distance summer in Europe and then went on to run second to Found in the Arc. He then confirmed his superiority over Flintshire in the Breeders Cup Turf where the opposition jockeys didn’t show him the respect he deserves. He showed them though.

Cougar Mountain in the per parade ring at Leopardstown

Cougar Mountain in the per parade ring at Leopardstown

In the mile Aidan also send an old favourite in Cougar Mountain. He’s always been capable and every now and again he’s shown himself more than that. This course and ground could well bring out the best in him. He won the G2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket over 7f and then ran well at Santa Anita when 8th beaten 4 1/2 L in the Breeders Cup Mile. He’s a big price for this, 64/1 on the Sha Tin tote but he’s well drawn in 7 and he may well belie those odds and with Donnacha aboard he could run into a place and if the opposition show the same respect Highland Reel was shown in Santa Anita it might well be just better than that.

 

Recommendation: Highland Reel 1/1 win

                                        Cougar Mountain PMU E/W