Category Archives: Australia

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

 

 

 

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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

The Everest

US Navy Flag saddles in the ring on debut at Naas

Aidan O’Brien has sent US Navy Flag down under to take on the best of the Australians in the second running of the The Everest at Randwick, Sydney.

It’s not a pattern race but it is now the world’s richest turf race and is run over the sprint distance of six furlongs. The race, run similarly to the Pegasus World Cup in Florida is a restricted race with owners buying slot’s for $600,000 each hence the big pot.

US Navy Flag leaving the ring.

From his debut in May last year US Navy Flag improved and improved throughout the season. He took his racing well and by November he’d run eleven times and by the end of it he’d captured two G1’s, the Middle Park over six furlongs and the Dewhurst over seven furlongs. In both he’d displayed a liking to boss, being up in the van and leading from the front. 

This year he was campaigned to get a mile early season contesting the French and Irish Guineas where he was fifth and second respectively. In Paris he stumbled badly when out in front on an uneven Lonchamp surface which cost him his chance. He was tried again in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before the decision was made to let him use his speed over the shorter trip of the July Cup.

At Newmarket he burst from the gate and adopted up his usual tactic of leading from the front. Unlike at the Curragh over the mile when his stamina ran out, Romanised got the better of him there, here he was able to use his speed over the shorter trip and he’d no difficulty in knocking out all comers.

Ryan Moore racks up the air miles to ride him and the trip may very well be rewarded. He’s a quality horse, a Middle Park winner, a Dewhurst winner and a July Cup winner, he’ll certainly bring a top level of form with him.

He did travel to America for the Breeders Cup last year and was well beaten which might be a cause for concern however that was on Dirt, on Turf different matter.

The home team no doubt will have something to say and of them the one that stands out the most is Santa Ana Lane, the winner of the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben in June.

US Navy Flag is a bigger, stronger athlete than he was when we took those picture’s only fifteen months ago and now he’s a formidable force. His run style is deceptive, he looks as if he’s doing nothing which hides the fact he’s going so quick. They’ll break smart from the gate which if anything will suit him, he doesn’t need to be in front, what he needs is a strong pace to use his speed and this is nearly guaranteed. 

It gives him every chance.

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

Recommendation: US Navy Flag 10/1 ew

20 Group/Grade 1’s Around The World This Weekend

Saturday

Australia

Winx kicks off the action in the Turnbull Stakes in her last race at Flemington looking to take her sixth G1 of the season in her final prep race before her historic attempt to win her fourth Cox Plate in a few weeks time. We all routing for her, Chris Waller says she’s more forward in her coat and looking even better than she did this time last year. 

Also down under the feature at Randwick is the Spring Champion Stakes, a race restricted to three-year old’s over 10f. 

England 

Laurens entering the parade ring at Leopardstown

Laurens returns to Newmarket for the one mile Sun Chariot Stakes in pursuit of her for her fourth G1 of the year. Last time out she captured the Matron Stakes over the same trip having won her two previous G1’s over 10f. She outgunned Alpha Centauri, subsequently reported injured and retired, down the straight. There’s a quartet of Coolmore fillies in opposition with Ballydoyle sending three, Clemmie, Happily and I Can Fly with Andre Fabre sending Wind Chimes from France. The latter two can make Laurens work for it, I Can Fly was the best winner over Irish Champions Weekend and Wind Chimes was unlucky to just get caught here by Recoletos in the Moulin a couple of weeks ago.

Recommendation: Wind Chimes 3/1 win

France

The Arc weekend begins with the Prix Du Cadran, a stayer’s race over 20f taking centre stage. Holdthasigreen will go off favourite on the Pari Mutual. Wille Mullins Max Dynamite might hold the key here after a good second to stablemate Thomas Hobson in the Doncaster Cup last time. He’s an eight year old but he keeps on giving for Rich Ricci.

Recommendation: Max Dynamite win bet on the PMU

USA

In America Belmont hosts the Beldame on Dirt, a 3yo+ for Fillies and Mares over 1m and the Champagne Stakes for Two Year old’s over the same trip. Ben Cecil, Henry’s nephew, might make the G1 breakthrough with Listing who ships from his Santa Anita Californian base in the latter.

Keenland has the First Lady Stakes on Turf, the Breeders’ Futurity on Dirt and their highlight, the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Godolphin supply a European raider in the First Lady, Henri Pantall’s Crown Walk makes the journey on the back of her good second in the Prix Rothchild to With You at Deauville.

Recommendation: Crown Walk 5/1 win

It’s disappointing that no European’s have travelled for the $1m Shadwell Turf Mile won last year by David O’Meara’s Suedios however we’ll give a big shout for the outsider Great Wide Open trained by Conor Murphy who moved from Nicky Henderson’s yard after skinning the bookmakers a few years ago at Cheltenham. He was not far off Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere last time who trades at 8/1 for this.

Recommendation: Great Wide Open 50/1 ew

Sunday

France

Europe’s premier middle distance race is the feature, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in which Enable is a short price favourite at even money to repeat her victory of last year. Her season has not gone to plan with injury delaying her return until Kempton, she looked a picture when easily accounting for Crystal Ocean appearing to retain her ability. Sea Of Class, the year younger filly will put it up to her and Ballydoyle’s brace of Leger winners Kew Gardens, this year and Capri last year, aren’t out of it with the three-year old having won a G1 over course and distance in July. Capri has been laid out for this.

Recommendation: Kew Gardens, Capri (coupled on PMU)

The card features another five G1’s with the two-year old’s contesting the Prix Marcel Boussac for Fillies and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere open to both colts and fillies, both over a mile.

Godolphin are double handed in the Boussac with Charlie Appleby sending Ceratonia and Saeed Bin Suroor responsible for Dubai Beauty. They’ll have it all to do to upset the favourite Rocques who beat the Appleby runner comfortably last time out.

Recommendation: Rocques 1/1 win

They might have a better chance in the Lagardere with Royal Marine however Freddy Head’s Anador likely to be popular on the PMU with the home fans.

The older fillies will contest Prix De L’Opera over 10f, again a quality contest with Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, Coolmore’s Magic Wand and George Strawbridge’s With You all in with a shout. Preference is for With You should Crown Walk frank the form of their Deauville run in the First Lady at Keenland.

Recommendation: With You 3/1 win

Next is the turn of the sprinters over the minimum trip in the Abbaye. Battaash will still be most people’s answer after his devastating performance when wining this last year. He’s not displayed the same level of form this year and he’s worth opposing with Aidan O’Brien’s Sioux Nation and Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid who were third and fourth in the Flying Five a couple of weeks ago, Son Of Rest gave that form a boost when winning the Ayr Gold Cup last week.

Recommendation: Sioux Nation and Hit The Bid – (both ew on the PMU)

The Floret over 7f for older horses then rounds off the weekend and Pollydream will be all the rage on the PMU after her win in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. Gustav Klimt will keep her honest, his overall form being good quality with the last run in the Haydock Sprint Cup being particular relevant.

Recommendation: Gustav Klimt 7/1 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 222 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