Category Archives: England

The Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1)

Eziyra returns after winning the Ballyraon Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks ago

This Yorkshire Oaks is another cracker to look forward to.

The Three Year Olds

James Doyle rides the favourite Sea Of Class. Willie Haggas her trainer had skipped Epsom with her giving her that bit more time to develop and that decision was vindicated by her performance in beating the Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together at the Curragh in the Irish Oaks.

Her pilot gave her a very cool ride. He waited out the back producing her two furlongs out asking her to stretch. She won by a neck but it was never in doubt as she was always reeling them in. She’s a short price though at 11/8.

Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand renews rivalry as does Bye Bye Baby having finished fifth and forth at the Curragh. Magic Wand went off the odds on favourite but she didn’t fire as she did in her victory at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale. There she beat Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, since a winner of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood where she beat another Willie Haggas filly Urban Fox. That’s a high class form line also given Urdan Fox had beaten Forever Together in the The Pretty Polly Stakes. Magic Wand isn’t done with yet and let’s not forget Bye Bye Baby was third at Epsom. It’s likely Flattering will set the fractions for her stablemates. 

Laurens returns to England having taken two Group 1’s in France. The Prix Saint-Alary came first where she beat With You, since a winner of the Prix De Rothschild and she then took the Prix Diane, the French Oaks at Chantilly in June. Very good form indeed.

The Four Year Olds

Coronet was third in this last year having finished fifth before that in the Irish Oaks, both times behind Enable. She’s yet to score at Group 1 level but her first outing this year she took the G2 Middleton Stakes here in May beating Horseplay. She was then only denied a nose by Waldgeist in France in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud. She now pitches in against her own sex having finished third in the King George last time out.

Horseplay advanced her cause following up her Middleton second with a win in the Lancashire Oaks.

Eziyra is a most interesting runner. She put in a very eye catching performance in the Irish Oaks when third behind Enable (in front of Coronet). That was followed up with two G 3 wins before season’s end. Her trainer Dermot Weld reintroduced her two weeks ago in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. She was given a hands and heels ride by jockey Declan McDonagh and she won as she liked.

The form of the three-year old’s is very good and none of the older fillies have scored at G1 level yet, on top of that the older fillies have got to give weight to the three-year olds. This will be a tough task as the favourite has plenty of potential to improve while Magic Wand can bounce back too but as the season goes on the concern grows about the Ballydoyle team.

It’s Eziyra who stands out at the price. Her three win’s on the bounce were in preparation for this and her last run says she ready. Dermot Weld her trainer is a master at bringing them on and his patience will likely be rewarded here.

Recommendation: Eziyra 10/1 ew

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Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1)

Poets Word last year at Leopardstown

This is the best race of the season to date. Full of intrigue.

Poets Word rightly heads the market trading at 6/4. He’s been the star middle distance performer this season. His second last year in the Irish Champion Stakes marked him out as something to look forward too this year. He matched that placing in the spring at Meyden in the Dubai Sheema Classic before taking the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot beating Cracksman and then winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, again at Ascot, beating stablemate Crystal Ocean in a hard fought battle.

Against him are the current classic crop.

Saxon Warrior the Guineas winner found 12f beyond him at Epsom when running fourth in the Derby and likewise at the Curragh he didn’t stay when finishing third. A week later he was stepped back in trip to 10f for the Eclipse where he was involved another cracker with Roaring Loin who just came out on top by a neck, the Gosden colt having previously run second in the Derby.

Joseph O’Brien’s Latrobe was the beneficiary of a muddling pace when taking the Irish Derby however that was not his fault and he was there to capitalise when others couldn’t. The step back in trip here will be interesting given his profile suggests he was more likely to be considered a Leger candidate and ultimately a Melbourne Cup one. He did show pace at the Curragh.

Godolphin who head Coolmore in the PRWC 18 Owners championship are represented by a pair of four-year olds in Benbatl and Thunder Snow. Both had a four race campaign at Meyden in the spring culminating in wins in the Dubai Turf over 9f for Benbatl and Dubai World Cup on dirt over this trip for Thunder Snow. Benbati did disappoint in the Queen Anne when stepped back to a mile but bounced back to winning ways in a Group 1 in Germany, the Grosser Dallmayr Preis over 10f. Thunder Snow makes his European seasonal debut here after a good break.

Without Parole was very nearly the talking horse of the year. He missed the Guineas in the spring and was instead aimed at the St James’s Palace Stakes where he duly obliged justifying favouritism. He went to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes where again going off favourite he finished down the field in seventh. He’s entitled to bounce back as at Ascot he looked top class.

Thundering Blue is the only one who hasn’t won a Group 1 yet however he has shown a real liking for this course having finished second in a John Smiths Cup and winning the G2 Sky Bet York Stakes here last time out.

This race promises much. Poets Word has been, as we have come to expect from older horses in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, a model of improvement and consistency. In his last two run’s he displayed his class when beating Cracksman and his heart in beating Crystal Ocean. Equally Roaring Loin has worn his heart on his sleeve at both Epsom and at Sandown.

Saxon Warrior looked a cut above the rest at Newmarket in the Guineas and maybe the Eclipse came a bit soon after the Irish Derby. He’s had a break now however the Ballydoyle form is a worry. Latrobe can he continue to surprise, he is in the hands of someone who knows a thing or two about it or can John Gosden get Without Parole back on track. Can Godolphin’s march this season continue? They do come here with a Dubai World Cup winner.

Intrigue aplenty even without Cracksman and Enable. Who’ll comes out on top.

Over this trip, possibly short of Poets Word ideal and giving weight to the three-year old’s, a healthy Saxon Warrior might just slay him and Roaring Loin. He’s had a break something he didn’t have the last time they met at Sandown.

Incidentally a win for Poets Word or Benbati could see either go second in the PWRC 18 Horse championships.

Recommendation: Saxon Warrior 11/2 win

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

 

 

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