The Melbourne Cup (G1)

Yucatan at Leopardstown in August

Aidan O”Brien’s Yucatan will go off favourite for the Melbourne Cup 2018.

His last run in Ireland was on a summers evening in August where he ran third in a tight finish for second headed by Eziyra and Stellar Mass close home.

He went down under to contest the G2 Herbert Power Stakes winning it as easily as he liked in what only can be described as a caught the eye performance, coming from nearly last to first, cruising past the opposition he won eased down. He was a revelation compared to the form shown at home, the authority the Australian public saw that day was never displayed in Ireland. 

Maybe it’s the trip that has brought out the best in him, he might be loving the holidays, or possibly the form of the G2 Herbert Power is questionable, questionable compared to European form that is. Aidan O’Brien has improved horses beyond recognition many times before however in the Ballydoyle pecking order Yucatan would have been considered third ranked of their trio on what he’d achieved in Europe. 

Cliffs Of Moher in the ring at The Curragh before The Tattersalls Gold Cup in May

Cliffsofmoher will be partnered by Ryan Moore who travels from Kentucky, overall he’s a a very decent colt who’s possibly just a tad under high quality. His best run remains the 2017 Epsom Derby where he ran second but his Caulfield Cup run was encouraging.

Rostropovich at Leopardstown in September

Rostropovich will be partnered by Wayne Lordan who also makes the trip from Kentucky. His best run was second in this years Irish Derby. As a three year old he’s the beneficiary of the weight allowance as is Godolphin’s Cross Counter and both are in the mix as a result.

The key to this Melbourne Cup may well have been found in the closing race of the Irish flat season, the Listed Finale Stakes at Naas on Sunday. It was won in the style Yucatan displayed to the Aussie audience by Ger Lyons Mustajeer by a very easy 7L, he pulverised them. 

His previous run was the Ebor at York in August which with a £500,000 pot now requires a G1 horse to win it. Mustajeer was outpaced but ran on really well to get up up be fourth. The winner of the Ebor was John Gosden’s Muntahaa who comes here fresh having not run since. Jim Crowley who travelled a week early to be here is in the plate. He was very impressive at York, well as Mustajeer ran he was never going to beat the winner.

The market is shaped by the Herbert Park form and that is a concern, Yucatan would not have won the Ebor, that form looks much more solid. 

Recommendation: Muntahaa  10/1 win, Rostropovich 20/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 268 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

PRWC 2018 Horse, PRWC 2018 Jockey, PRWC 2018 Trainer, PRWC 2018 Sire, PRWC 2018 Owner, PRWC 2018 Breeder

 

 

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The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and The Breeder’s Cup Classic (G1)

Eryiza returns after winning the Ballyraon Stakes at Leopardstown

Dermot Weld’s Eryiza has a great opportunity to capture a first G1 win here at Churchill Downs. Last time out she was a winner of the G2 Blandford Stakes over a mile and two furlongs at the Curragh. Her previous run to that was at G1 level when she ran a fine third to Sea Of Class and Cornet in the Yorkshire Oaks, a run that now looks very good considering Sea Of Class’s fine second to Enable in the Arc and Cornet’s fine second to Magical in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. 

Roaring Loin before winning The Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstwon.

In the Breeders Cup Classic the best colt in Europe will try to do something very special. He’s been on the go since April and has won the Dante at York, ran second in the Derby, won the Eplicse at Sandown, The International at York, the Irish Championship Stakes at Leopardstown and the Queen Elizebeth Stakes at Ascot., the latter over a mile having proved himself over 10f before that.

The big question, Can he handle the dirt?

It’s going to be very tough, his run style means he’ll have to come form off the pace, so he’ll get to eat a lot of it. This doesn’t mean he won’t like it, the surface that is, it’s just he’s never encountered it before and with no experience of it Mendelssohn may be a better alternative.

He’s been prepared for this with a dirt campaign beginning with a 18 L win in the UAE Derby at Meyden and he then came here for the Run For The Roses. Ok the run in the Kentucky Derby was awful, at least he won’t encounter the sloppy track that we had in May again tonight.

Aidan O’Brien gave him a two month break and brought him back for a confidence building third in the Dwyer Stakes before stepping back into G1 company where he ran second to Catholic Boy in the Travers Stakes and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes to Discreet Lover and Thunder Snow.

Recommendation: Eryiza 8/1 win

                                  Mendelssohn 9/1 win

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 268 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 Horse, PRWC 2018 Jockey, PRWC 2018 Trainer, PRWC 2018 Sire, PRWC 2018 Owner, PRWC 2018 Breeder

The Cox Plate (G1)

Rostropovich after his last win at Leopardstown over Irish Champions Weekend

Aidan O’Brien has sent Rostropovich to be his runner in the Cox Plate. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the European form versus the Australian equivalent and the concentration of the argument has centered around Godolphin’s Benbatl winner of the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago and his chance of beating Winx denying her a fourth win in this race, the Arc of down under.

Rostropovich’s whose best form came at the Curragh in the Irish Derby in June where he put in a battling performance to finish second to Latrobe, a place in front of Saxon Warrior has largely been ignored.

After the Curragh he went to Ascot for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, England’s premier middle contest. Seamie Heffernan rode him positively bringing him to the front early making it a true run gallop, in the straight he began to thread water staying on eventually to finish fifth. 

He was given a break until September and brought back for a much easier encounter at G3 level where he beat his stable companion Giuseppe Garibaldi, all three trips over a mile and half.

It’s interesting that he’s brought back in trip here to ten furlongs, a trip he last won over in May when he took the Dee Stakes at Chester on a track not too dissimilar to Moonee Valley. That win brought a trip to Paris for the French Derby where he failed to land a blow behind Study Of Man hence the step up in trip.

Can he become the most unpopular horse ever to visit Australia? 

Well he has a chance, a son of Frankel means it’s in his blood and his best form, finishing in front of Saxon Warrior means he’s not far away from being up there with Roaring Loin given the Irish Champion Stakes run of Saxon Warrior, albeit on his best day. 

Winx has nothing to prove, she will be trying to win her seventh G1 of the year after a long campaign. She likes to come from off the pace, from way off the pace actually and Hugh Bowman her rider always exudes the utmost of supreme confidence giving her the opportunity to find her stride before she unleashes her turn of foot. It’s always been enough. 

Winx is the current Pattern Racing World Championship having won six G1’s last year. Since the beginning of the championships in 2013 no horse has ever won seven. It will be wonderful to watch her do it and have Australia celebrate but with Ryan Moore likely to let Rostropovich take it on, there’s a chance, an outside one, that her speed may just be tested, just once to often this season.

Recommendation: Rostropovich 33/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 251 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 HorsePRWC 2018 JockeyPRWC 2018 TrainerPRWC 2018 SirePRWC 2018 OwnerPRWC 2018 Breeder

 

 

 

Caulfield Cup and Champions Stakes

 

Cliffs Of Moher in the ring at The Curragh before The Tattersalls Gold Cup in May

An intriguing story is developing across the Pattern Racing World Championships 2018, Godolphin have surpassed Coolmore to top the championships for the first time since they last won in 2015.

The intervening two years 2016 and 2017 saw their great rival Coolmore pull clear to win the Owners Championship going away. The gap between the two was a hundred plus points in the last two years. This year that has been turned around into a 44 point lead for Godolphin.

Has it been the expansion of the trainer base that has inspired the comeback?

Saeed Bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby, Charlie Hills in England, James Cummings in Australia, Yoshitada Takahashi in Japan, Henri Pantall and Andre Fabre in France, Thomas Albertrani in America and Willie McCreery in Ireland have all scored  points for them. The big stables which represent the heart of the operation, Saeed Bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby in England and James Cummings down under have provided 22 of the 25 G1’s. Andre Fabre has won one and Yoshitada Takahashi another two.

Coolmore’s 12 G1 wins have all been trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Both Godolphin and Coolmore will have a runners in the Caulfield Cup in Australia on Saturday. The draw has been kind to neither, Thecliffsofmoher, as he’s been renamed, is drawn three while Best Solution is out in the carpark in box seventeen. It’s a short run to the first tight turn and position is everything coming into it. 

Thecliffsofmoher travelled to Australia after a decent break when he was third at Sandown in the Eclipse in July, beaten 2 3/4L by Roaring Loin. He had a run last week over 10 f at the venue in the Caulfield Stakes when he was a staying on forth, never troubling the Saeed Bin Suroor trained winner Benbatl. This step up to the mile and half will suit.  

This week Saeed relies on Best Solution who had a hat trick of wins, the G2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July followed by the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppergarten in August and the G1 Grosser Preis Von Baden at Baden-Baden in September where he beat Defoe a neck. Cliffs Of Moher had him a 1 1/2L behind in The Tattersalls Gold Cup.

A win for either will set up the day nicely for Champions Day at Ascot. In the four G1’s Coolmore will have the numerical advantage with Ballydoyle sending ten to contest while Gololphin will be represented by two, one trained by Andre Fabre and the other by Clive Cox. 

The ground has come up soft, heavy in places which might leave both empty-handed. One horse it will suit is Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity who landed his G1 last year in the National Stakes at the Curragh on soft to heavy. It was hoped he’d be ready for the Guineas in the spring but a setback kept him off the track until late August where it was expected he’d need the run. He was given a tough assignment a couple of weeks later in the Irish Champion Stakes and although he’ll have to step up hugely on those runs he has the ground in his favour plus being a fit and fresh horse.  

Recommendation: Thecliffsofmoher 6/1 win & Verbal Dexterity 25/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 268 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 Horse, PRWC 2018 Jockey, PRWC 2018 Trainer, PRWC 2018 Sire, PRWC 2018 Owner, PRWC 2018 Breeder