Category Archives: England

The Sussex Stakes (G1)

Aidan and Donnacha in conversation with Lancaster Bomber being led away after his maiden win at Leopardstown last August.

 

Nine go to post with Ribchester and Churchill providing the duel in the downs. Ribchester heads the market as an even money shot with Churchill priced up at 2/1.

It’s a fair reflection that the rest of the field trade at 9/1 or better.

Ribchester has gone from strength to strength since running third in this last year. He went to Deauville after that and won the Jacques Le Marois. This year he’s won with authoritative performances the Lockinge and The Queen Anne. His trainer say’s he’s matured and now settle’s in his races. In the Lockinge he led from the front and in The Queen Anne he came from off the pace. He’s a very good four-year old and a win here will see stamp him as the best miler around today.

Churchill looked to be heading to take that mantel before blotting his copybook in the St James’s Palace Stakes last time out at Royal Ascot. Up to that point he’d built on a quality juvenile career where he’d won the National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes before adding both the Guineas and Irish Guineas to his CV in this his classic year. He hasn’t been flashy, he had been reliable always doing enough to see off his rivals. Then at Ascot he ran flat as a pancake never picking up to challenge the leaders trailing in a well beaten forth.

Aidan O’Brien has never been able to identify what happened, nothing came back to suggest there was anything wrong with him. All that can be said was it was just an off day, nothing more. He now meets his elders for the first time and does so with a valuable 7 lbs weight for age allowance, the same as his stable companion Lancaster Bomber who finished in front of him for the first time at Ascot.

He can’t afford to have an off day, today he must produce his best day if he is to beat Ribchester. The depth of his form say’s he can do it.

With three to be placed Lancaster Bomber can again outrun his odds and run into a place.

Recommendation : Churchill 2/1 win

                                         Lancaster Bomber 28/1 ew

 

The July Cup (Group 1)

Caravaggio wins the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and Mike Hewitt.

Caravaggio is a ball of speed.

Rumors suggest he’s clocked 47 miles per hour over 2 furlongs on the gallops at Ballydoyle. Aidan O’Brien has confirmed he’s the quickest they’ve had ever at home and today against the older brigade he put’s his unbeaten record on the line. Should he win he will extend that run to seven.

Should he win in the style he’s capable of it will be no surprise if it’s his last run.

Coolmore will surely be very tempted to retire him to fill the hole left in their stallion rooster by the untimely death of his father Scat Daddy. His value of a stallion will far exceed any winnings he might pick up in the future on the racecourse.

As fans it will be our loss. The three year old middle distance division might look a bit muddled this year, that’s something that can’t be said about the sprinters.

Harry Angel’s connections won’t be complaining should Caravaggio be called ashore after this. They’ve a seriously good sprinter on their hands and without Caravaggio around he’ll shine brightly. All that said he was flattered to be only 3/4 L behind Caravaggio at Ascot. The other three year old in the field is Intelligence Cross who will set the fractions for the favourite.

The older brigade is headed by Limato who put in his best display when winning this last year as a four old. Since then he’s won the Prix de la Foret over 7 F at Chantilly however he was beaten over the minimum 5 f trip in the Nunthorpe at York last year and failed to see out the mile at the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita. This year the yielding ground beat him at Meydan on his comeback and he was then a fair third in the Diamond Jubilee when The Tin Man and Tasleet got the better of him. Both reoppose here.

That was a big turnaround for The Tin Man as Tasleet had 6 1/4 L to spare over him on their previous meeting in the Duke Of York Stakes at York in May. His trainer James Fanshawe says he doesn’t do that well in the spring. He likes summer and also the autumn as he showed when he won the Champions Sprint at Ascot last year when he beat Growl and Brando. Both the latter two will have to put in career best’s to be involved here. The same can be said of Mr Lupton and Intisaab.

Michael Tabor part owner of Caravaggio said when discussing his chances that Aidan O’Brien doesn’t say it for the sake of it, he really thinks Caravaggio is something special. An opinion that is backed up by the clock on the run at Ascot. He feels he’s every bit as good as Ballydoyle’s great sprinters of the past Stravinsky and Mozart who both won this as three year old’s.

It might be the last time we’ll see him, the performance could be that special.

Recommendation: Caravaggio 11/10 win

 

 

 

 

 

The Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)


Stellar Mass and Kevin Manning going out to win the G3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown last year.

The Queen’s Dartmouth returns to defend the crown he won last year when he beat Highland Reel.

Since then he hasn’t advanced like the one he beat.

Next time out he was third in the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Highland Reel turning him over to win by 4L. He filled the same position in the Newbury Arc Trial. It was a better performance when he stepped back up to G1 level when running second to Erupt in the Canadian International at Woodbine at the end of his season. His comeback run this season was good, he beat Simple Verse in the G2 Yorkshire Cup a neck. Should he be victorious it will be an eleventh win in the race for Sir Michael Stoute including four of the last five.

Idaho has yet to show us he has the ability of his full brother Highland Reel. In ten run’s he only won twice, a maiden first time out and the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last year. Since unseating Seamie Heffernan in the Leger he could only manage fifth in the Canadian International and on his seasonal debut he was given a hands and heels ride in the Coronation Stakes when 7 1/4 L behind his elder brother. He’ll come on an awful lot from that run.

Wings Of Desire ran second in the King George and then disappointed in the International at York where he was well beaten. He makes his reappearance here and his fitness will have to be taken on trust. His stable mate Western Hymn has had the benefit of a winning run in the Ormonde Stakes where he beat US Army Ranger.

Dal Harraild steps into G2 company for the first time over a trip short of his optimum. He will need some progression if he is to win this. The same applies to Muntahaa and the other Stoute inmate Across The Stars.

The Irish Derby form of last year may be significant here.

Harzand won a battle with Idaho by 1/2 L with Stellar Mass 3 3/4 L further back in third. Idaho’s effort was a step up on his Epsom Derby run and it’s arguably the best piece of form for this race.

A case can also be made for Stellar Mass. He won twice after the Irish Derby albeit in lesser company and his stable has really begun to fire in the last couple of weeks.

The Stoute horse will have been prepared to prime for this day in particular. That doesn’t mean he’s not vulnerable. The ground will a concern for him and could blunt him. Idaho will strip fitter since the Coronation and he will love the quick conditions as will a healthy Stellar Mass who is capable of outrunning his odds.

Recommendation : Idaho 9/2 win 

                                         Stellar Mass 50/1 ew

The Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)

Caravaggio winning the Coventry Stakes last year. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and Julian Herbert.

Caravaggio comes here looking to extend his unbeaten run to six.

His introduction to the racecourse was at Dundalk last year where you could see immediately he was something special. He followed up in the Marble Hill Stakes before coming to prominence when winning the Coventry Stakes here last year.

We only saw him once again as a juvenile when he took the G1 Keenland Stakes where he was returned as the 1/8F. That was his best performance to date. He glided across the ground winning effortlessly. A set back meant the end of his season and we had to wait until this year to see him again.

That came in the Lacken Stakes at Naas a month ago. Again he was imperious. When Ryan Moore pulled him out and asked him to quicken his trust of speed was immediate and in a matter of strides it was over and the job of pulling him up had begun.

He’s all speed inherited from his father Scat Daddy who himself was a son of Johannesburg, a very quick two-year old for Aidan O’Brien in the early noughties.

Two very good English horses oppose him in Harry Angel and Blue Point.

Harry Angel trained by Clive Cox, who won the Queen Mary yesterday, has been purchased by Godolphin and will wear the blue cap. He has mixed his four runs with two wins and two seconds. First time out last year at Ascot he was beaten a nose. Then he was thrown into the deep end for the G2 Mill Reef Stakes where he duly obliged by a cosy 2 1/2 L.

Godolphin also own Blue Point. He’s more experienced than the other two, this will be his eighth start. He’s won four including last years G2 Gimcrack Stakes. He was beaten by The Last Lion when stepped up to G1 level in the Middle Park Stakes and again in the Dewhurst when he was third to Churchill. After that the sprinting route looked the more likely option.

His return to the track came back here at Ascot in May for the Pavillion Stakes. He went off favourite and he got the better of Harry Angel easily. That was Harry Angel’s second defeat. He returned to the winners enclosure next time out in the G2 Sandy Lane Stakes where he was a very easy winner.

There’s also another unknown quantity in the race, Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere. He’s had two runs at home in America, the first at Turfway Park where he was an easy winner and the second in an allowance race at Keenland where again he did it easy. There’s no telling how good the form is but he won pillar to post so you can expect him to break quick today.

The fact that the challenge from the Godolphin pair is so good means Carraviggo is a reasonable price at a shade of odds on. He could be exceptional even by Ballydoyle standards.

Naas racecourse will be very happy if Alpha Centauri trained by Jessica Harrington does the business in the Albany. She’s won both her races there. She put in a cracking trial at listed level the same day Caravaggio won and she’s a worthy favourite in the opening contest, the Albany.

Recommendation :

The Commonwealth Cup : Caravaggio 10/11 win

The Albany Stakes: Alpha Centauri 11/4 win

                                     Double on both