Category Archives: England

Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (G 1)

Alpha Centauri after winning the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas

It looks a one horse race, when Alpha Centauri heard her feet rattle she showed herself to be a cut above the rest. She blasted the field at the Curragh in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas beating the Ballydoyle inmates Could It Be Love and Happily. She repeated the feat in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot where she was even more impressive giving Mark Johnston’s Treading a 6 L trouncing.

The only issue you could crap about is the depth of the form. The two beaten at the Curragh, Could It Be Love and Happily, have both been beaten since. Could It Be Love ran third in the Jersey at Royal Ascot and was then second in the Browntown Stakes to Xenobia at Fairyhouse the other night.  That an interesting piece of form as it ties in one of the older mares here, Mick Channon’s Opal Tiara. She went to Ireland last time where she sprang a surprise beating another Ballydoyle inmate Hydrangea at G2 level in the Landwades Stud Stakes with Xenobia 12 L back in fifth.

Clemmie was European Champion two year old filly last year and at the beginning of the season she was, you would have thought, numero uno filly at Ballydoyle. She had a setback that meant she missed Newmarket’s Guineas however she did start at the Curragh and at Ascot where she was well beaten both times by Alpha Centauri.

On the plus side she needed her first two run’s last season also before we saw the real Clemmie. She finished her juvenile career with a cracking win in the Cheveley Park but again if your crabby, the form is now questionable as she beat Different League, since purchased by Coolmore, who hasn’t managed a win in five runs this year.

Mark Johnston’s second runner Nyaleti adds some spice having won the German 1000 Guineas last time out and it’s worth noting she was also only beaten a 1/2 L by Laurens in last year’s May Hill at Doncaster, good form now.

Arabian Hope, third in this last year and Altyn Orda complete the field. The latter ran fifth at Newmarket in the Guineas but couldn’t build on that last time out in France in the Prix de Sandringham.

Alpha Centauri is an unbackable price for most trading at 1/3 on however there might still be an opportunity in the place and each way markets for a small interest. Unfortunately there are only seven runners which restricts the play to first and second.

Opal Tiara is having her last racecourse run, she is in foal to Churchill, something that might just tilt the age weight concession here for her. Xenobia’s win last Sunday puts her in the mix and she’s already taken a big scalp in Ireland when beating a double G1 winner in Hydrangea.

She could depart West Issley leaving a big smile on Mick Channon’s face.

Recommendation: Opal Tiara  40/1 ew

 

 

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The Eclipse Stakes (Group 1)

Happily 27th July 2017 at Leopardstown

The news broke just after six last night that Masar was out of the Eclipse due to his off-fore becoming inflamed after a knock at exercise. It’s a blow to the race to lose the Derby winner so late in the day however there was another surprise this week, the news that Saxon Warrior would run despite having had an outing only last Saturday in the Irish Derby at the Curragh where he finished a weary third over the mile and half trip.

The horse who looked so good over a mile in the Guineas is sent on a retrieval mission, he must have some constitution.

He’s accompanied by Cliffs Of Moher who ran here last year but was well beaten. In eleven visits to the racecourse since his Epsom Derby second of 2017 he’s only managed one win. He looked to be gradually regaining his confidence when second to Lancaster Bomber in the Tattersalls Gold Cup but since he’s been beaten twice at Royal Ascot.

Happily, Aidan O’Brien’s other runner form has been slightly disappointing this year. She was outstanding as a juvenile beating Masar in France’s premier two-old race, the Jean-Luc Lagardere last year. She went off favourite for both English and Irish 1000 Guineas and was third in both over the mile. She stepped up to this trip for the Prix de Diane finishing a close fourth behind Laurens. Now she benefits from both the age and sex allowance here which could be crucial.

Roaring Loin’s best run to date was in the Dante at York over this trip however those he beat have all run poorly since. In the Derby he was outstayed by Dee Ex Bee for second who was subsequently disappointing at the Curragh.

Hawkbill won this in fine style in 2016 and had a very good spring this year winning twice at Meyden including beating Poets Word in the Sheema Classic. That form has not been replicated on his return to England, he finished tailed off in the Coronation Cup and was again well beaten by Poets Word in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Forest Ranger has been a revelation this year winning his two runs both times beating Ballydoyle inmates. He beat Deauville and War Decree but again the form has not been franked.

Raymond Tusk is asked to do the near impossible, step up on two previous racecourse appearances where he won his maiden and was second in a Novice Stakes. It will be the shock of the season should he do so.

This is the first meeting of the generations, the first time the classic generation are tested against their older brethren at Group 1 level. To date this classic generation have been disappointing. With the exception of Study Of Man, the French Derby winner, no horse has stamped authority over their peers. Are they a poor crop?

Today will tell us more.

Saxon Warrior could find the kick he had in the Guineas, he could once again be the one to ooze class. Over the longer trip he’s bred for, he looked ordinary. Roaring Loin’s is probably best at 10f but he beat nothing of note in the Dante. Forest Ranger could be the surprise act but he’s yet to prove himself at top level.

Of the older horses only Hawkbill can genuinely be considered proven however his form in Europe has been less than distinguished since he conquered here two years ago.

That leaves us with Happily. She’s benefitting from the weight of age and sex allowance and her run in France, only beaten a 1/2 L by Laurens was a good one given the winner was winning her second G1 of the season. Added to her excellent juvenile form she looks the one to beat.

Recommendation: Happily 5/1 win

 

 

The Gold Cup (Group 1)

Lucius Tiberius on his way out to win his maiden at the Curragh recently.

Order Of St George will once again go off favourite for the Gold Cup.

He was an odds on favourite both last year and in 2016. He justified it in 2016 but last year he couldn’t reel in Big Orange going down a short head. He’s run six times since losing only the once in the Arc over for him, an inadequate trip where he still managed to finish fourth going down only 5 L to Enable.

He’s a fabulous stayer but this could well be his toughest test yet in the division. He meets Varizabad France’s star stayer for the first time and Stradivarius the young pretender to the crown and then there’s his old nemesis Torcedor to contend with as well.

There are only two G1’s in the Pattern Racing calender over this trip of two and a half mile’s each year, this and the Prix du Cadran held in France on Arc day. Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Varizabad was second in the French race in 2016 and won it last year. He comes here on the back of two G2 win’s this year, at Meyden and his prep for this at home at Longchamp.

Stradivarius is also in top form after a good win in the Yorkshire Cup in mid May where he beat Desert Skyline 3 L and Max Dynamite 6 L. He will vie for favouritism on the back that performance. The John Gosden Frankie Dettori combination will be looking for compensation for the defeat of Cracksman yesterday.

Torcedor also comes here in rude health and had 8 L to spare over Desert Skyline here at Ascot in the Sagaro Stakes a couple of weeks earlier at the beginning of May.

The four of them all look like they will bring their A game here today and it promises a momentous battle up the straight. Class will have to prevail to win.

It will be a ding-dong battle with Frankie likely to be the first to commit. Christophe Soumillon will chase him down with the Irish pair being played late. Colm Donoghue might catch the front pair but as the line appears Ryan Moore might just get the last ounce out of Order Of St George to get him home.

In the lucky last the King George V Stakes Ballydoyle’s Lucius Tiberius also represents good each way value and could even double up for Ryan Moore.

Recommendation: Order Of St George 2/1 win

                                        Lucius Tiberius 20/1 ew

The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)

Cliffs Of Moher chases home Lancaster Bomber in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Cracksman hasn’t been beaten since the Irish Derby last year when Capri denied him at the Curragh. He racked up five wins on the bounce since, the last three at top level. He was imperious in the Champion Stakes here last October winning 7 L from Poet’s Word and on his comeback run in April the Prix Ganay he was professional though not spectacular. The wheels nearly came off in the Coronation Cup when he was just got the job done beating Salouen a head getting up late to snatch victory.

Are there cracks appearing or is that he just hates Epsom and it’s undulations.

His previous visit to the track was for last year’s Derby where he finished third a  neck behind Cliffs Of Moher in second and 3/4 L in front of Eminent who finished fourth. Neither if the trio could cope with the fast finishing Wings Of Eagles who nailed them all to win.

Granted he’s a different colt now, stronger, leaner, meaner and streetwise. A man compared to last year’s boy. At the same time connections of the opposition will have been encouraged that Epsom this year leaves a chink in his armour.

Cliffs Of Moher was a bruised animal after Epsom last year and those exertions took their toll over the remainder of the season. He was beaten six times between then and revisiting the winners enclosure when he beat Ken Condon’s Success Days at Naas in the G2 Mooresbridge Stakes at the beginning of May. He since followed up with a nice run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup where he put in a good display running second behind stable companion Lancaster Bomber. Both those runs were over 10f, a trip he’s raced exclusively at since last year’s Derby. His confidence is returning.

Poet’s Word running second to Decorated Knight in last year’s Irish Champion Stakes

Poet’s Word was no match for Cracksman in last year’s Champion Stakes and in the Irish Champion Stakes he finished second to Decorated Knight in front of both Eminent and Cliffs Of Moher. Sir Michael Stoute has also had to rebuild confidence this year and in The Sheema Classic he was held 3 L by Hawkbill though when dropped in class in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes he did get that confidence win.

Charlie Appleby is in flying form this year. Masar and Blue Point have put Godolphin back on the European Group 1 map. Hawkbill has to overcome a poor run when 25 L behind Cracksman in the Coronation though he is a previous Royal Ascot winner when the took the Tercentenary Stakes (formerly The Hampton Court Stakes) in 2016. The French raider Royal Julius needs a considerable step up from an Italian Group 2 win and likewise David Simcock’s Desert Encounter will have to find a new level of form to trouble the judge here.

Cracksman gave his supporters a mighty scare last time out, it could happen again. If it does the only one to have previously beaten him could do it again.

Recommendation: Cliffs of Moher 12/1 ew