The Irish 1000 Guineas (Group 1)

Found sets the standard.

She was tremendously impressive in Paris last year when beating Erevdya in the Prix Marcel Boussac, form that reads well with the latter winning the French Guineas a couple of weeks ago. Her maiden win last August was a surprise when she accounted for her stablemate Together Forever going in as an unconsidered 14/1 shot. We knew she beat a good one when Together Forever later took the top-level G1 Fillies Mile at Ascot. In between Found went down to Cursory Glance and Lucida in  the Moyglare. We haven’t seen the former since but the latter ran second in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas so the favourite here sets a high benchmark based on her juvenile career.

Aidan O’Brien decided to skip Newmarket (ground lightening quick) and instead ran her at the Curragh the day after on ground that turned out to be unsuitably heavy. She was beaten emptying out in the last half furlong. Do you forgive her the run? Ryan Moore was easy on her minding her up the straight knowing today is what it’s all about.

She has to beat a number of good fillies to win this. The colts may not be vintage this year but the fillies do look to be high quality.

Jessica Harrington’s Bocca Baciata beat Jim Bolger’s Pleascach (Irish for Explosive) at Navan in April in the Salsabil Stakes and Jim’s filly went on to win the Blue Wind at Naas by 8 1/2 L  (beating older fillies). Jessica also runs Jack Naylor who beat the English Guineas winner Legatissimo in the Flame Of Tara here last year. She’d previously beaten Agnes Stewart (2nd to Together Forever in the Fillies Mile) but she has 4 L to find on Found based on the her Paris run in the Boussac.

Raydara’s form also reads well. We haven’t seen her since the Debutante Stakes last year where she beat Lucida a 1/2 L. Dermot Weld’s Moyglare bred Joailliere must also come into consideration after a 7 L win in April at Gowan Park on her racecourse apperance. She mightn’t have beaten much but when the master of Rosewell House throws her in at this deep end then one should take note. She could be anything.

Similarly the impeccably bred Kissed By Angels, a daughter of Galileo out of Lillie Langtry is light on experience. She came to the track for the first time in April losing out in a Limerick maiden before scoring in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial a couple of weeks ago beating Willie McCreery’s Devonshire (Godolphin owned representative here) by 3 1/2L.

Malabar ran a cracker at Newmarket when fourth in the Guineas. The form of the race was subsequently boosted by the run of Irish Rookie sixth at Newmarket who ran second to Erevdya in France the following week.

There is a significance to this race beyond the norm for an Irish 1000 Guineas. If Found win’s and does it well she most likely will be supplemented for the Derby.

You have to go back to Fininella in 1916 to find the last filly to win The Derby. Epsom wasn’t an option that year because of the Great War and the race was run at Newmarket. She hadn’t been originally entered but because of the change of venue entries were reopened. Not only did she win the The Derby she also hacked up in the Oaks two day’s later.

Found won’t have that opportunity and in modern times not many fillies have tried to win The Derby. You might think Ballydoyle are grasping at straws for this years blue riband having lost the likes of John F Kennedy and Ol’ Man River from the picture by considering the filly to fulfill their Derby aspirations. It might be that Giovanni Canaletto will have already solved the problem by winning the Gallinule in emphatic style but if he hasn’t then a convincing demonstration from Found will put her very firmly in the Derby picture. An unconvincing performance will see her go the more traditional route of the Oaks.

It’s a day of tremendous Group 1 action in Europe and The Grey Gatsby should start to get the recognition he readily deserves by winning a top class Tattersalls Gold Cup. In France at Lonchamp we have the Coolmore sponsored Prix Saint-Alary and Prix D’Ispahan where Cirrus Des Aigles and Solow clash. A cracking duel that the wonderful Cirrus can win to retain his D’Ispahan crown.

Recommendation : Found 15/8 win

                                             The Grey Gatsby 5/4 win

                                             Cirrus Des Aigles 13/8 win

                                             ( 3 cross doubles and a treble)

Lockinge Stakes (Group 1)

The first clash in England of the older generation at top-level.

It’s not vintage, yet. The field is led by last years Guineas winner Night Of Thunder who hasn’t won since. He’s been beaten four times but he’s still the absolute rock of form for this race. Kingman and Charm Spirit twice have been his undoing at the mile and in all reality the only blot on the copy book is when his stamina was stretched beyond his capacity to 10 f in the Eclipse.

Toormore accompanies him from the Richard Hannon stable a horse who beat The Grey Gatsby in the Craven last year. He was a brilliant two-year old who’s three-year career didn’t quite match up to that early Craven win but he’s not far off the pace.

Integral a double G1 winner ( Falmouth and Sun Chariot) last year is the main act to oppose. Can she beat the boys? who’d rule it out in the hands of Michael Stoute with Ryan Moore in the plate.

Tullius went to all the big dances after coming second here last year and with give in the ground has to come into calculations.

Custom Cut has yet to score at top-level but he keeps getting better, a Dermot Weld baby is becoming a man with David O”Meara.

And of those that stand out under the radar.

Yeften’s disqualified second in the Jean Prat behind Charm Spirit doesn’t look too shabby nor does Here Comes When Challenge Stakes victory but the one that is most intriguing is Cougar Mountain.

You would have to think Aidan O’Brien lost the plot when he threw this once raced into the July Cup last year yet he only went down a 3 L  fifth to Slade Power. Next time out in the Nunthorpe ninth was the best he could muster yet only 2 L separated him from Sole Power.

It’s a shot to nothing stepping him up to a mile, if he doesn’t stay he’ll revert to sprinting. If he does stay that turn of foot proven with the best sprinters in the world will put this fella as the main opposition to Able Friend in the Queen Anne.

Recommendation : Cougar Mountain 25/1 win

Ante Post : Royal Ascot – Queen Anne 40/1 ew 



The Dante Stakes (Group 2)


John F Kennedy on his way out to win the Juvenile Turf Stakes at Leopardstown last year.

Without a doubt this race will change the ante post market for the Derby in a big way. Inconclusive trials to date have left the market at sea in terms of finding a candidate worthy of commanding the market.

The Dante has a rich tradition in pointing to top class three-year olds with the likes of The Grey Gatsby winning last year however you have to back to Authorised in 2007 to find the last Dante winner to triumph at Epsom.

It’s hard to believe that the current favourite for this race and also the Derby itself made his racecourse debut two days after christmas on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, hardly orthodox. He’s by Halling who won the 1996 Cambridgeshire handicap before winning 5 G1’s (2 Eclipse’s, 2 Internationals and a Prix d’Ispahan). He was green but none the less impressive at Wolverhampton where he came from last to first to win easily. On his turf debut in a handicap he destroyed the field at Sandown winning by 12 L. He’s trained by John Gosden and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori a team reunited this year who were responsible for that same success with his father all those years ago. There has to be a question mark about him lasting 12 f although he’s proved himself over this 10 f already at Sandown.

Golden Horn also from John Gosden’s stable put himself in the Derby picture by winning the Feildan Stakes. He’s 4/1 here and a 20/1 shot for the Derby, five times the price of Jack Hobbs for Epsom.

John F Kennedy and OL’ Man River travel from Ballydoyle both on retrieval missions. The former didn’t fire in the Ballysax and the latter trailed in last in the Guineas. Both runs are best ignored. They both showed their class last year in winning at Leopardsown and the Curragh respectively.

Nafaqa’s second to Elm Park in last years Royal Lodge will give connections hope as the latter went on to win The Racing Post Trophy, form that looks good after Celestial Path’s (third in The Racing Post) good 5th in the Guineas.

This race will establish a short price favourite for the Derby.

John F Kennedy looked to fill the part last year in the Juvenile Turf with a convincing display that marked him out as Ballydoyles number one for Epsom. The ground at Leopardstown for the Ballysax was awful and he should be forgiven the run. He will be a different animal today.

Recommendation : John F Kennedy 4/1 win


Musidora Stakes (Group 3)

Sariska in 2009 was the last filly to do the Musidora/Oaks double.

Two fillies have the opportunity to do it again.

Star Of Seville and Together Forever are respectively 12/1 and 16/1 shots for the Oaks at Epsom next month and a good performance in todays Musidora may see one or either of them shorten considerably.

Star Of Seville is trained by John Gosden who was very unlucky not to have done the double in 2012 with The Fugue. She won her maiden last October by 6L in impressive fashion (2nd has won since on the all-weather) and won a conditions event at Newbury again in impressive style by 3 1/2 l on her comeback last month.

Together Forever is already a Group 1 winner for Aidan O’Brien having taken the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot last autumn. It was the last run of six she had as a juvenile and it was a big step up the ladder having previously won at listed level and before that a fillies maiden.

Star Of Seville and Together Forever have cross form with both beating Winters Moon. The Gosden filly had 7 L on her at Newbury while there was less than 1L between the O’Brien filly and Winters Moon last year at Ascot. That would seem to give the edge to Star Of Seville and the reason why bookmakers have quoted her a shade of odds on today as opposed to 7/4 available about the Irish filly.

In her favour is a run already this year however against her is experience. That might shade it for Together Forever even allowing for the concession of 4 lbs for that G1 win.

It would appear this is a two-horse race and its significance for the Oaks will be further understood in the aftermath of the race.

Recommendation : Together Forever 7/4 win


1000 Guineas (Group 1)


Twiggy Wiggy was a very fast two year old.

She was a winner of both the G2 Lowther Stakes at York and the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket over 6 F making her the champion two-year old filly last year.

Visually she put in the most impressive performance of any filly last year when beating Cursory Glance in the York run. That form was franked when Cursory Glance went to Ireland to beat the favourite here Lucida in the G1 Moyglare Stakes.

In her comeback run she stepped up to 7 F in the Fred Darling at Newbury but didn’t display the devastating acceleration she did last year trailing in an eased down third. She just didn’t fire at all on the day.

Maybe her stamina was stretched beyond it’s capacity. Maybe she hasn’t trained on or maybe she needed the run.

If you opt for the latter then the possibilities here open up for her.

The market opinion is she’s a sprinter which is reflected in her 20/1 price for this mile trip.

There’s no doubt the extra furlong will stretch her stamina even further but if Richard Hughes can relax her, tuck her in behind, preserve her turn of foot she might just have enough of that blistering pace left in reserve to pounce late.

She’s the class horse in the race and with no other outstanding candidate in the field she’s well worth backing at that overly generous big price.


Recommendation : Twiggy Wiggy 20/1 EW

The 2000 Guineas (Group 1)

The flat season bursts into life this weekend with the 2000 and 1000 Guineas meeting at Newmarket in England and the Kentucky Oaks and Derby at Churchill Downs in America.

Focus here is the 2000 Guineas and who will come out of Newmarket’s famous dip to triumph. It’s a real test for inexperienced three-year olds who can become unbalanced entering it at speed and then can’t recover in the short run to the line. Those who handle it grab the ground on the incline and then stretch out on the run up to the line. You can be sure the winner will do that.

Nineteen have been declared with Gleneagles heading the market as he has done all winter. The top two-year old of last season comes here without the hype that surrounded Australia last year but with a lot more experience at top-level than last year’s favourite. Four wins from six runs, Aidan O’Brien put him through the gears last year.

After being beaten first time out he went back to the course to win a maiden. He followed up with G3 Tyros Stakes, added the G2 Futurity Stakes, then the G1 National Stakes and finished off first past the post in France’s premier two-year old G1, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. He was disqualified for interference in the straight with Territories (promoted to second) and was placed third by the stewards.

Andre Fabre has supplemented Territories for this on the back a smooth success the Prix De Fontainebleau while the other French trained runner Freddy Head’s Ride Like The Wind was also a winner last time out in the Prix Djebel. These two first met first time out in a maiden last July when the Head horse came out on top.

Also supplemented is the Roger Varian trained Hamden Al Maktoum owned Intilaaq who won a Newbury maiden in the style of a good horse by 7 L.

Aidan also runs Ol` Man River the ante post Derby favourite.  Unbeaten in two runs, he added the Beresford Stakes to his maiden win and idle speculation over the winter was that the mile here would be too sharp. Considering the other options available with other horses for this race from Ballydoyle and also the alternative of Derby trials it says treat this one as a genuine miler in the eyes of his trainer.

The Hannon quartet (defending the race after 40/1 shot Night Of Thunder won last year) are hard to separate.

Jockey bookings ruled Richard Hughes out of riding Estidhkaar (Paul Hanagan’s choice over Intilaaq)  and Moheet (Frankie Dettori) and he’s plumed for Ivawood over Kool Kompany. Given the choice of the two he might just have got it wrong again (went with Toormore last year). The latter is very hardy and showed his liking for the dip when winning the Craven here three weeks ago.

Ivawood was beaten fair and square in the Greenham where Muhaarar and Estidhkaar fought out the finish with the latter going down a neck with Ivawood 4 1/2 L behind. Richard Hughes felt although they thought he was fit he actually wasn’t. He believes the three weeks since has sharpened him enough to overturn the tables on Estidhkaar. Frankie’s mount Moheet was a 7 L maiden winner last year and all the rage going into the Craven (going off 2/1 fav) but he didn’t handle the dip on that occasion trailing in third 3 1/4 L behind Kool Company.

Qatar Racing will rely on the Ger Lyons trained Capella Sansevero with the withdrawal of Elm Park, the Racing Post winner of last year, as he won’t be risked on the good to firm ground. Capella Sansevero was purchased last year at the inaugural Royal Ascot sale topping the bill. He ran in the Coventry Stakes getting beaten by the Wow Signal when asked to do too much by Jamie Spencer. Overall his form would suggest he’s not far off top-level and he ran well here in the Middle Park when fourth, expect Andrea Atzeni to take the ride.

Hugo Palmer is sweet on the Home Of The Brave who took the European Free Handicap where he accounted for Faydhan the second favourite for this all through the winter.

No other horse in the field has achieved anything like what Gleneagles achieved as a two-year old yet he’s easy to back today as big as at 4/1 in places. Maybe this weakness is connected to the withdrawal of stablemates Found and Together Forever from the 1000 Guineas. The lack of confidence is concerning and looking elsewhere for some value may be the best thing.

If there’ s an upset it might come from Kool Company or Capella Sansevero. Both have track experience. The former may be given a soft lead and could then dictate. The question with the latter his ability to stay the mile but at 66/1 he’s worth the punt.


Recommendation : Kool Company 28/1 EW and Capella Sansevero 66/1 EW


The Craven Stakes (Group 3)

The Craven meeting brings classic thoughts hidden in deep winter into focus. Dreams of Guineas glory over long dark nights can disappear in a flash as was the case with the long-standing second favourite Faydhan yesterday in the Free Handicap.

The Craven is a Guineas trial over course and distance but it’s a long time since a Craven winner returned in May to capture the main event. That’s not to say it hasn’t produced great winners, Dancing Brave in 1986, Ajdal the year after, Twice Over in 2008, Toronado in 2013 however you have to go back Tirol in 1990 to find the last Craven winner to triumph on the first Saturday in May.

Off course the preference now for trainers is to miss the trials completely and instead go straight to the Guineas. This does somewhat diminish the trails unless of course their is a performance that cannot be ignored.

Of the seven runners lining up here early prices of around 3/1 and 7/2 would suggest Moheet and Nafaqa will dispute favoritism however in the ante post market for the 2000 Guineas there are respectively 20/1 and 33/1 shots.

Moheet had the one run at Salisbury in October where he ran out a 7L winner.

Nafaqa is much more experienced. Introduced in the Chesham at Royal Ascot where he ran fourth, he stepped up to win a maiden following up with a listed win at Doncaster before running second in the Royal Lodge to Elm Park who then went on to win the Dewhurst.

Kool Company is the most experienced in the field, having run nine times as a juvenile. He’s a five time winner including the Railway Stakes at the Curragh where he had the measure of War Envoy by 3 3/4 L on a good to firm surface.

War Envoy had eight visits the course. He’s also hardy and tough and in those runs there are some nuggets of good form. He ran second in last years Champagne Stakes (Aces back in third) and although turned over on his seasonal debut at Dundalk he was beaten by a good Ger Lyons colt in Convergence.

Luca Cumani’s White Lake is an interesting contender. After a maiden win he was fourth to Nafaqa in the Doncaster race. What’s interesting is that Luca doesn’t tend to put them into early season battle unless he’s see’s something.

David O’Meara is now responsible for Hail The Hero who transferred from Aidan O’Brien over the winter. He won his maiden at Doncaster on debut for the new yard and also has good form in the book. He was beaten a neck by Vert De Grace, a colt who went on to be beaten 3/4 L by the Guineas favourite Gleneagles in the Futurity Stakes following up with a G1 win in France at the end of the season in the Criterium International at Saint Cloud.

We mightn’t see a Guineas winner here yet this race will certainly give us a bearing on that race. Aidan O’Brien will come home from Newmarket knowing where he stands with Gleneagles and with a run under his belt this year his War Envoy represents the best value in today’s market.

Recommendation : War Envoy 11/2 win




The Pattern Racing World Championships – 2014


Before our 2015 journey begins in earnest let’s take a moment to reflect on 2014.

Last year was our second year to hold the Pattern Racing World Championships, the purpose of which is to recognise the consistency of horses, jockeys, trainers and stallions at pattern racing’s top-level, Grade 1/Group 1 over a year calendar year.

Here at Pattern Racing we compiled the results of 309 Grade 1/Group 1 in 2014 up from 238 in 2013.

The Championships

There are 4 categories, Champion Racehorse, Champion Trainer, Champion Jockey and Champion Stallion.

Included are G1’s from 12 countries. Point’s are awarded for finishing in the top three in Grade 1/Group 1 contests in the year.

Country No Of G1’s
USA 111
Australia 72
England 33
France 27
Japan 22
Ireland 12
Germany 7
Hong Kong 6
Italy 6
Canada 4
Singapore 2
Total 309

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

The Champion Racehorse of 2014 is Kingman.

Rank Horse Points Won
1 Kingman (GB) 47
2 California Chrome (USA) 45
3 Australia (GB) 42

Find the full list hereFind the detail here.

1. Kingman trained by John Gosden pipped American horse of The Year California Chrome to this years title.

His points were earned courtesy of a second in the Two Thousand Guineas followed by four flawless performances in the mile division. The Irish Guineas and St James Palace Stakes marked him out as the champion miler of his generation.

He further stamped his authority on the division when taking on the older horses in the Sussex Stakes and Jacques Le Marois. A throat infection led to missing the planned end of season engagement in the QE11 on Champions Day and unfortunately early retirement.

2. California Chrome lit up the season in America this year. The Dumb Ass Syndicate owed colt showed there is still a place at the top table for the smaller man.

He launched himself to favouritism for the Kentucky Derby with an authoritative performance in the Santa Anita Derby. He duly obliged at Churchill Downs then set the country’s pulses racing when he took the second leg of the triple crown the Preakness. In the last leg, the Belmont Stakes, the combination of the short timeframe between the three races and a foot injury sustained in the race alas meant at least another year’s wait for a triple crown winner.

He was rested and aimed at the Breeders Cup Classic where in a head bopper he was beaten a nose and a neck into third. In his last 2014 run he threw down a turf marker when winning the Hollywood Derby. Will we see him in the Arc this year?

3. Australia was beaten first time out in the Guineas and last time out in the Irish Champion Stakes. In between the one Aidan O’Brien described as the best he’s ever had won The Derby, Irish Derby and the International at York.

Like Kingman retirement came earlier than wanted and like Kingman he never made it to Champions Day where the QE 11 over the mile was the target.

We can only imagine but if Kingman and Australia had stayed in training at four, with California Chrome a more than possible for Royal Ascot then we’d of had one hell of Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

In 2014 244 horses won G1’s, 656 made the podium.

The Champion Trainer of 2014 is Aidan O’Brien.

Rank Trainer Points Won
1 Aidan O’Brien (IRE) 266
2 Chris Waller (AUS) 237
3 Todd Pletcher (USA) 190

Find the full list here. Find the detail here.


1. Aidan O’Brien second in 2013 (218) went one better in 2014. His winning total surpassed last years winning mark by 3 points.

13 G1’s winners, 13 seconds and 9 third place finishes marked Aidan’s season. His wins came from 10 individuals with Australia topping the bill with the 3 G1 wins referred to earlier. In the Irish Derby he again had the 1,2,3.

Adelaide was twice a winner at top-level in the Secretariat in America and the Cox Plate In Australia. The four-year old Leading Light took the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot while three-year olds Bracelet, Marvellous and Tapestry took the Irish Oaks, Irish 1000 Guineas and Yorkshire Oaks.

His two-year olds winners were the exciting Found in the Prix Marcel Boussac, Together Forever in the Fillies Mile, Dick Whittington in the Phoenix Stakes and Gleneagles in the National Stakes.

2. Chris Waller is a new entrant on the inclusion of Australia in these championships. He won 10 G1’s with 9 individuals and ran second 11 times and was place third in 12, all in his native land. His star attraction was Sacred Falls winner of the Doncaster Mile (where he had a 1,2,3) and George Main Stakes.

Boban took the Chipping Norton, Foreteller the Underwood, Junoob the Metropolitan, Amicus The Thousand Guineas, Brazen Beau the Coolmore Stud Stakes, He’s Your Man the Epsom Handicap , Moriarty the Kingston Town Classic and Preferment the Victoria Derby.

3. Todd Pletcher winner in 2013 amassing 263 points couldn’t quite match last years feat. He sent 9 individual G1 winners to the races with Stopchargingmaria doubling up in the American Oaks and Alabama Stakes.

Constitution won the Florida Derby, Danza the American Derby, Palace Malice the Arkansas Derby, Competitive Edge the Hopeful Stakes, Angela Renee the Chandelier Stakes, Daredevil the Champagne and Carpe Diem the Claiborne Breeders Futurity.

In 2014 150 trainers won G1’s, 292 made the podium.

The Champion Jockey of 2014 is Joel Rosario.

Rank Jockey Points Won
1 J. Rosario (USA) 227
2 R. Moore (ENG) 210
3 J. Velazquez (USA) 201

Find the full list here. Find the detail here.


1. Joel Rosario third in 2013 (186 points) topped the 2014 poll with 10 wins, 11 seconds and 10 thirds. 

He notched up a hat trick on Close Hatches in the Ogden Phipps, Personal Ensign and Apple Blossom. Tonalist won the Belmont Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes.

He also won on Minorette in the Belmont Oaks, Imagining in the Man o’War, Lea in the Donn Handicap, Bobby’s Kitten in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint and La Tia in the Matriarch Stakes.

2. Ryan Moore, fifth last year, was the worlds hardest working jockey travelling the world in his bid to become champion.

On his travels he won 15 G1’s.

In Dubai he won the Sheema Classic partnering Gentildonna. In Australia he won the Cox Plate on Adelaide and The Melbourne Cup on Protectionist. In North America he took the Secretariat again on Adelaide, The Beverley D on Euro Charline, The Canadian International On Hillstar.

In Europe at home in England he picked up the Falmouth and Sun Chariot on Integral, the Coronation Stakes on Rizeena and the Yorkshire Oaks on Tapestry. In France he bagged the Prix Du Jockey Club on The Grey Gatsby, The Marcel Boussac on Found and The Prix Du Cadran on High Jinx and in Ireland he took the Irish 1000 Guineas on Marvellous and the Irish Champion Stakes on The Grey Gatsby. His 7 seconds and 5 thirds were the difference between top spot and runner up.

3. John Velazquez was the 2013 winner on 234 points.

He returned from injury this year after the loss of his spleen in the 2013 Breeders Cup. He had 12 G1 wins, the highlights being Wise Dan’s victories in the Shadwell Turf Mile and Woodford Reserve and Main Sequence’s victory in the Breeders Cup Turf. His other winners were Carpe Diem the Claiborne Breeders Futurity, Competitive Edge in the Hopeful, Crown Queen in the QE11 Challenge Cup, Dayatthespa in the First Lady Stakes, Judy The Beauty in The Madison Stakes, Palace Malice in the Metropolitan Stakes Stephanie’s Kitten in the Flower Bowl, Stopchargingmaria in the Alabama Stakes and Untapable in the Mother Goose Stakes. , His wins were accompanied by 8 seconds and 5 thirds.

In 2014 125 jockeys won G1’s, 211 made the podium.

The Champion Stallion of 2014 is Galileo.

Rank Stallion Points Won
1 Galileo (IRE) 261
2 Deep Impact (JPN) 131
3 High Chaparral (IRE) 102
3 Dansili (GB) 102

Find the full list hereFind the detail here.


1. Galileo‘s domination of the breeding barn continued again 2014.

Also the winner in 2013 (160 points), did he up his game this year? Did he what?

He beat last years total by a whopping 101 points beating his nearest rival Deep Impact by 130 points, equivalent to winning 13 more G1’s.

He produced 9 individuals to win 14 G1’s. His prodigies were second 13 times and third on 6 occasions.

Australia and Noble Mission were was his leading lights with 3 wins each, the latter taking The Tattersalls Gold Cup, The Grand Prix De Saint Cloud and The Champion Stakes. Adelaide added the Cox Plate and Secretariat while Leading Light took the Gold Cup, Tapestry The Yorkshire Oaks, Together Forever the Fillies Mile, Marvellous the Irish 1000 Guineas with top two-year olds Gleneagles the National Stakes winner and Found The Prix Marcel Boussac winner giving us something to look forward to this year.

2. Deep Impact, also second in 2013, held his grip again in the east albeit falling 16 points short of his last years total.

He produced 9 individuals to win 10 G1’s. His prodigies were second 3 times and third on 2 occasions.

Gentildonna did the double in the Sheema Classic and Arima Kinen. Danon Shark took the Mile Championship, Harp Star the Oka Sho-Japanese 1000 Guineas, Lachesis the Queen Elizabeth 11 Commemorative Cup, Mikki Isle the NHK Mile , Shonan Adela the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, Shonan Pandora the Shuka Sho, Spielberg The Tenno Sho (Autumn) and Verxina the Victoria Mile.

3. Dansili third in 2013 on 135 points dead heated with High Chaparral on 102 points in 2014.

Dansili produced 5 G1 winners. His prodigies were second 6 times and third on 2 occasions.

Foreteller won the Underwood Stakes, Miss France the One Thousand Guineas, Flintshire the Hong Kong Vase, The Fugue the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and We Are the Prix de l’Opera.

The big step up came from High Chaparral who was ranked 64th in 2013.

He produced 4 individual G1 winners. His prodigies were second 6 times and third on 4 occasions.

Lucky Lion won the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen,  It’s A Dundee the Queen Elizabeth Stakes,  Toronado the Queen Anne and High Jinx the Prix du Cadran.

In 2014 189 stallions sired G1 winners, 400 made the podium.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these championships. When you consider the numbers who made the podium in each classification and then consider the number who tried you then realise how very difficult it is to succeed at G1 level. Those who do are special, those who top these tables, equine or human, are very special indeed.

Congratulations to them all.

A Question Of Sport. Who Is The World’s Greatest Jockey ?

Ryan Moore The Grey Gatsby returns having won The Irish Champions Stakes

Ryan Moore returns on The Grey Gatsby having won The Irish Champions Stakes.             1 of 15 G1’s he’s won internationally so far this year.

The International Federation Of Horseracing Authorities will this Saturday award the title of the Longines Worlds Best Jockey. It is to be presented at a gala dinner in Hong Kong on Saturday to coincide with Hong Kong’s prestigious international meeting on Sunday.

In layout it’s remarkably similar to Pattern’s World Jockey Championships 2013 conceived last year.

The scoring for the IFHA award is based upon performances in the 100 highest-rated Group 1 and Grade 1 races established for the year by the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings Committee. The scoring incorporates races from 1 December of the previous year until 30 November of the current year. Jockeys accrue 12 points for a win, 6 points for placing second, and 4 points for placing third.

Pattern’s scoring system, established last year, is 10 points for a win 7 points for second and 5 points for a third place over the calendar year.

We have decided to publish our jockey’s championship for 2014 to date (Click here) to contrast with the IHFA/Longines version.

As you can see from the following table there are differences between the Pattern top 12 and the IFHA/Longines top 12. 

Pattern IFHA/Longines
Rank Jockey Points Won   Rank Jockey Points Won
1 J. Rosario 217 1 R. Moore 94
2 R. Moore 210 2 C. Soumillon 88
3 J. Velazquez 201 3 J. O’Brien 72
4 J. Castellano 195 4 J. Doyle 70
5 J. O’Brien 173 5 Z. Purton 58
6 C. Soumillon 170 6 D. Oliver 48
7 M. Smith 131 7 R. Hughes 46
8 H. Bowman 125 7 J. Velazquez 46
9 V. Espinoza 118.5 9 W. Buick 42
10 D. Oliver 118 9 T. Berry 42
11 R. Hughes 113 9 M. Rodd 42
12 J. McDonald 109 9 J. Rosario 42

The purpose of the pattern racing system is to establish a hierarchy for races and to set a benchmark on which they are judged. If a pattern race has been award G1 status (decided by the IFHA) then the purpose of the exercise is to have it recognised as such. This produces an obvious question for the IFHA/Longines rankings committee.

Do the rest of the worlds G1’s not count?

Crucially what separates both championships is the number of races included in the calculation, in this case, of the Worlds Best Jockey. (this can be extended to trainers, horses and stallions as Pattern has done).

On this site we try to include all international Group 1’s and Grade 1’s in England, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Canada and the USA to in order to recognise a champion. To date in these jurisdictions there have been 299 G1 races run with 11 still to be come. In contrast the IFHA/Longines choose to limited to 100.

The means the IFHA/Longines have chosen to ignore the other 210 which have been granted G1 status.

These include the likes of the Epsom Oaks, The Dewhurst, The Santa Anita Handicap, The Gold Cup, The Jean Prat, The Irish 2000 Guineas and the TVG Pacific Classic. All massive races in their own right.

The danger with this exclusion is not only does it diminish those races but it also leads to a skewed result in the title bid of worlds greatest jockey.

In the Pattern Racing Championships top 12 there are 5 American based jockeys, 4 European and 3 Australian.

The winner of the Pattern Racing Jockey’s Championship is not yet decided.

With 11 G1’s still to run, (4 are in Hong Kong, 3 are in Japan, 4 in USA), Joel Rosario is ahead by seven points from Ryan Moore in second with John Velazquez (the reigning Champion) back in third. JJ Castellano in fourth is also not out of the title bid.

Ryan Moore will be in action on Snow Sky in Hong Kong Vase this weekend and it will be his last opportunity to add to his tally while in America before year end, we still have the Starlet, the Los Alamitos Futurity, La Brea and Malibu Stakes to run. This gives all three American jockeys the chance to still top the poll.

In the IFHA/Longines table Europeans dominate with 6 of the top 12, Australians get 4 in while the Americans can only muster 2. Is there an anti-American bias?

It’s worth looking at where Joel Rosario sits in the IFHA/Longines list, joint 9th along with 4 others. He is accredited with recognition for his both his wins on Tonalist in the Belmont Stakes and in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes, a second and 2 third places whereas Pattern recognises his 8 other victories, 10 other seconds places and 6 other third place finishes.

Joel notched up a hat trick on Close Hatches in the Ogden Phipps, Personal Ensign and Apple Blossom, plus he also won on Minorette in the Belmont Oaks, Imagining in the Man o’War, Lea in the Donn Handicap, Bobby’s Kitten in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint and most recently La Tia in the Matriarch Stakes. These are all recognised the Pattern standings.

Off course the Pattern Racing Jockey’s race isn’t finished and there are still chances for all to boost their tally.

A second place finish for Ryan Moore draws him level with Joel Rosario, and he may well better that however with 4 American G1’s still to run it looks like this is a race that will go down to the wire.

It might help our understanding if we look at which countries hold these G1 races. The tables below outline the number of races from each of the countries that make up the both the Pattern list and the IFHA/Longines list and also their percentage of the overall total.

Pattern IFHA/Longines
Country of Race Total Races % of Total    Country of Race Total Races % of Total 
USA 111 36% Australia 26 26%
AUS 72 23% USA 20 20%
ENG 33 11% England 17 17%
FR 27 9% France 11 11%
JPN 22 7% Japan 9 9%
IRE 12 4% Hong Kong 6 6%
GER 7 2% UAE 4 4%
UAE 7 2% Ireland 2 2%
HK 6 2% Germany 2 2%
ITY 6 2% South Africa 1 1%
CAN 4 1% Singapore 1 1%
SIN 2 1% Canada 1 1%
SA 1 0%
Total 310  Total   100

Not surprisingly in the Pattern list the USA has the greatest number of G1’s however as you can see Australia with 26 races has the highest representation of any nation in the IFHA/Longines list. Again has this created bias in the overall outcome? This must be considered.

This piece is not an attack on either the IFHA or their sponsor Longines who both do a fantastic job in promoting racing. Neither is it an attack on Ryan Moore whom we have the utmost respect and admiration for. Ryan most definitely is a man of sport and he will consider the merits of the accolade he’s been awarded given the exploits of his American counterparts.

This is about opening debate on the inclusion of all G1’s to decide the title of the world’s best.

Whether its horse, sire, trainer, jockey and indeed owner then encompassing all G1’s is a fairer assessment of who is the greatest of them all.

It’s also worth noting in 2013 we also established a trainer championship, horse championship and stallion championship and we will have the same championships for 2014. We’ll return to this in the new year.

Pattern calls on the IFHA and Longines to include all G1’s in the future. Better still, do with Pattern, the most comprehensive pattern racing guide in the world.

As a fella said to me, they might even ask you to the gala dinner next year.

Have your say,vote now and don’t forget to follow Pattern

The Japan Cup (Grade 1)

Trading Leather running third to The Fugue and Al Kazeem in the 2013 Irish Champion Stakes

Trading Leather running third to The Fugue and Al Kazeem in the 2013 Irish Champion Stakes

The last foreign trained winner of the Japan Cup was Luca Cumani’s Alkaased in 2005.

The last, and only, Irish trained winner was Frank Dunne’s Stanerra back in 1983. This year Jim Bolger has sent Trading Leather to bridge the 31 year gap.

Trading Leather’s last win was the Irish Derby last year. He hasn’t seen the winners enclosure since notching up a seven race losing sequence in the process. That and the draw position of 18 (widest of all) are the negatives that the Godolphin owned colt has to overcome.

Let’s concentrate on the positives.

Second to Novellist in the King George after the Irish Derby success, second to Declaration Of War in the International at York next time out and in his last run as a three old, third to the Fugue in the Irish Champion Stakes.

That’s defeat at the hands of three of the best in Europe over the last decade. Novellist was shudderingly brilliant that day at Ascot and would have gone off favourite for the Arc had injury not curtailed his career. Declaration Of War fought out that marvellous battle up the Santa Anita home straight in the Breeders Cup Classic when beaten a nose and a head by Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge. The Fugue followed up the Irish Champion Stakes in spectacular style when winning at Royal Ascot in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes this year.

As a four year old the son of Telfilo returned to the racecourse at Group 2 level in May when contesting the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. He was turned over as an odds on shot by Gospel Choir and Pether’s Moon. The winner, Gospel Choir only had one more run, two weeks later when beating Tac De Boistron in the Yorkshire Cup, again a Group 2. Tac De Boistron then didn’t run until October when he won the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak (French St Leger) in October.

Naturally Trading Leather’s trainer Jim Bolger only pitched him at the highest level since.

Next time out he ran second in the Coral Eclipse to Mukhadram. He then ran fifth to Taghrooda in the King George and third to the Grey Gatsby in this years Irish Champion Stakes. You could well argue this form isn’t as strong as last year’s but consider that last time out only Australia and The Grey Gatsby were ahead of him. When viewed in the context of this challenge that’s still very strong form.

Of course he’ll have to beat the home team headed by Gentildonna (going for a never done before, third straight victory) in the race, Just A Way and Harp Star plus Germany’s Ivanhowe.

Gentildonna will renew her partnership with Ryan Moore who won on her at Meydan in March beating Cirrus Des Aigles in the Sheema Classic. She’s run twice since beaten both times though second last time in a prep for this could well mean she’s back to her best.

Just A Way, Harp Star and Ivanhowe all ran in the Arc. Neither Japanese horses got in a blow however it must be remembered Just A Way was the most impressive winner of the Dubai Duty Free in March while Harp Star who loves to come from behind was given a mammoth task by her jockey in the Arc and if ridden closer to the pace can be seen at her best. Ivanhowe was way down the field in Paris did beat Sea The Moon in a G1 in the summer and after the Arc won another in Munich at the start of the month.

It’s a big ask to travel halfway across the world to win Japan’s major all age race.

Can he do it?

When you consider the opposition, top class proven international performers and then the draw, virtually in the carpark, you’d be inclined to think no.

Then you think Gentildonna won from stall 15 in 2012 so maybe the draw isn’t a killer. Then you wonder about the current form of the home team, say to yourself that if Trading Leather ran in this year’s Arc would he have done better than Harp Star and Just A Way, probably. Then factor in that Gentildonna has lost those last two runs.

Then consider that Trading Leather is running over his best trip, on his favoured ground, which he hasn’t encountered this year and consider the shrewdness of his trainer then the picture looks different.

You would have to conclude that Trading Leather has a real good chance of belying his 20/1 odds offered at the moment. If you are going to back him best not to be tempted to take that price, instead put PMU on your docket thereby taking the local odds as it’s hardly lightly the Tokyo public will steam into him and you just might end up with a more juicy return than that offered at the moment.

Recommendation: Trading Leather EW (PMU Price)