The Pentagon on his way out to win the Tyros Stakes in July
Six weeks ago we said it couldn’t be done. There we are, talk about getting it spectacularly wrong. Tomorrow if Aidan O’Brien wins this race he will break Bobby Frankel’s world record of 25 G 1’s established in 2003. We no strangers to his genius. His greatness was hinted at last year ( just have a look at distance he won the PRWC 2016) but this year he’s really put himself in a league of his own.
He saddles four here with Ryan Moore siding with Saxon Warrior after his impressive win at Naas in the Beresford Stakes from another Ballydoyle inmate Delano Roosevelt. The latter was a surprise winner of a maiden in July when returned at 14/1 when winning first time out, a rarity for an O’Brien two year old. He beat Coat Of Arms who appears here in possibly a pacemaking role, possibly not. On collateral form Coat Of Arms has only 2 L to find on Saxon Warrior.
The winner of the Tyros Stakes on the same night in July was The Pentagon. He was a very short price favourite returning 4/11F. That was his third run. First time out when needing the run he was nearly 20 L behind Verbal Dexterity, Jim Bolger’s main hope here. He then went on to win a maiden by 8 L. In The Tyros he had a comfortable 1 3/4 L to spare over Theobald, Jim Bolger’s other runner here. We haven’t seen him since and his fitness is taken on trust.
Seahenge returns to Doncaster, scene of his finest hour where he was given a canny ride by Donnacha O’Brien to come through the pack and win the Champagne Stakes over 7 F. Since he’d a difficult passage in the Dewhurst where he was bumped at the start and became unbalanced entering the dip but stayed on well to clinch third. The step up in trip here will suit.
The best form in the race comes courtesy of Verbal Dexterity. He’s already a G1 winner when taking the National Stakes at the Curragh from Beckford. He found plenty when asked the question and pulled away powerfully to win easily in the end. There was an awful to like about it.
Roaring Loin heads the home team for John Gosden. He’s unbeaten in three runs. He took the scalp of the Ballydoyle inmate Nelson (who’ll go to France on Sunday) a neck in the Royal Lodge last time out. He’s improving with every run.
Martyn Meade will hope his charge Chilean is as good Eminent. Two wins from three runs suggests he could be while the unknown quantity in the race is the Charlie Appleby trained Loxley. He dead heated for first on his only racecourse appearance with Istanbul Sultan who previously had run second to Sir Michael Stoute’s Gabr who makes the line up here.
It could be Aidan’s day. It’s a strong team he is sending, all four are capable especially the front two who now head the market for the Derby next year. They’ll surely come out of the race with their reputations enhanced if both are placed behind Verbal Dexterity. He’ll go winter favourite for the 2000 Guineas when he win’s this. He’s should be backed to win both.
Recommendation: Verbal Dexterity 4/1 win
Ante post: 2000 Guineas 2018 Verbal Dexterity 12/1 win
Poets Word finishing 2nd to Decorated Knight in the Irish Champion Stakes
Long Distance Cup
The ground will be soft, hardly surprising given the time of year. It won’t bother the favourite in the first, Order Of St George. He relished the conditions in this years Irish St Ledger winning by a commanding 9 L from Torcedor who once again can chase him home.
Recommendation: Order Of St George, Torcedor (SFC)
Harry Angel won the Haydock Sprint Cup on heavy ground after taking the July Cup on good to firm. He was very impressive both times however you would be concerned that his three defeats were here at Ascot. Caravaggio beat him here in the Commonwealth Cup but has flopped twice since. In The July Cup and in the Prix Maurice De Gheest he looked a shadow of the horse he was in June. Aidan O’Brien has given him a confidence booster since with a win at at the Curragh over Irish Champions Weekend where he handled the soft ground. The speed factor wasn’t quite there though what was there was the stamina to see it out in the difficult conditions.
Recommendation: Harry Angel, Caravaggio (RFC)
Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
Alyssa won the Park Hill at Doncaster at a big price on similar ground and again she’s priced here to have little chance. She stepping down in trip and that along with the ground in her favour could see her poised to spring another surprise.
Recommendation: Alyssa 20/1 e/w
Queen Elizebeth 11 Stakes
Lancaster Bomber could be the one to break the record for Aidan O’Brien if Caravaggio equals it. He’s been second at G1 level on four occasions. At 80/1 in places he’s the forgotten one again.
Recommendation: Lancaster Bomber 80/1 e/w
Poets Word is on the up and put in a great performance in the Irish equivalent of this when running second to Decorated Knight. His win in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood showed his liking for soft ground and he can go one better than he did in Ireland.
Recommendation: Poets Word 7/1 win
True Valour at Leopardstown in August
Recommendation: True Valour 25/1 ew
The G1 Fillies Mile is the main event with the G2 Challenge Stakes acting as support on what is a cracking card on this the opening day of the Future Champions Day Festival at Newmarket.
It has attracted four Irish entries, Rehana, Gordon Lord Byron, True Valour and Cougar Mountain.
If one is to win they’ll have to beat a home team headed by Limato. He has not hit the heights he did last year when winning the July Cup and Prix de la Foret and he comes here on the back of a below par run in the Lennox Stakes in early August in what it has to be said has been a below par season.
When he took the July Cup last year he beat Suedois a comfortable 2 L s and in France in The Foret he had him back in third beating him an even more comfortable 3 L s that time. Suedios went to America last weekend and won the Shadwell Turf Mile one of the premier turf races on the American pattern calendar.
Before that Suedois was in Ireland where he won The Enterprise Stakes, the form of which is working out very well. He beat Johnny Murtagh’s True Valour a 1/2 L on that occasion, who’d gone off an unconsiderd 25/1 shot with Phsychedelic Funk back in third and Sir John Lavery back in fourth.
Phsychedelic Funk has won since and Sir John Lavery was second in the Joel Stakes.
The Enterprise was a real step up for Johnny’s colt and if he can match that now dropping down in trip to 7 F he can present a real alternative to the favourite. Again he’s unconsidered and available at 25/1.
Peace Envoy at Naas before the Tetrarch Stakes
Peace Envoy is a big price today at Doncaster for the Park Stakes over 7f.
He’s a three-year old running against older horses, something he did for the first time in the Minstrel Stakes last time out at the Curragh in July over this trip.
On that occasion like today he had Seamie Heffernan on his back. He raced at the back of the field and Seamie quietly brought up the inner. At the two furlong pole he was tracking the subsequent winner his stable companion Spirit Of Valour who also runs today. When they quickened he was slightly caught for toe and the gap in front of him closed. Within a couple of strides his chance was gone and Seamie had no choice but to pull him up for fear he would come down. Chance gone.
As a juvenile he’d had a few very good run’s beating King Electric on debut, probably Ger Lyons best three-year old this year, and running second in the Railway Stakes to another Ger Lyons inmate Medicine Jack.
This year as a three-year old he made his comeback on bank holiday Monday at Naas in the Tetrarch Stakes with Ryan Moore in the plate. He got no run when boxed in on the rail. He then went to the French Guineas where he got no luck in running with Ryan unable to get a gap having to switch him a number of times but to no avail.
Next time out in the St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile again he wore headgear. He was lit up from the gate carrying his head awkwardly refusing to settle and his race was over by halfway.
Clearly he’s considered highly at home bearing in mind where they’ve sent him and he’s one that Seamie has been sweet on. He’s no doubt got an engine and this trip of seven furlongs might just be his optimum.
If he settles today and gets a clean run, at 28/1 he’s worth backing.
Recommendation: Peace Envoy 28/1 ew