Category Archives: G1

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

 

 

Advertisements

The Irish Derby (Group 1)

The Pentagon on his way out to win the Tyros Stakes last July

A field of twelve go to post for the Irish Derby with Ballydoyle supplying four of the entries headed by Saxon Warrior who will go off the odds on favourite quoted at 4/5. He’s on a retrieval mission having flopped at Epsom where he couldn’t justify the favourite’s tag after his scintillating performance in the 2000 Guineas. Dee Ex Bee who ran second to Masar at Epsom is priced up as the 7/2 second favourite.

Stay and he’ll win was the call of the day at Epsom for Saxon Warrior but stay, well it appeared he didn’t, instead labouring home in fourth. There was no after burner, no turn of foot, no sudden burst of acceleration as there had been in his previous run’s. When he rounded Tattenham Corner the warning signs were there, Ryan Moore was having difficulty keeping position and as they came into the straight Dee Ex Bee was travelling by far the sweeter of the pair and he stayed on resolutely to be second. Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon trailed in sixth and eighth respectively with Knight To Behold fading to eleventh having led into the straight.

Delano Roosevelt went on to Ascot for The King Edward V11 Stakes, affectionately known as the Ascot Derby, but he couldn’t justify favouritism there when beaten 4 L by Godolphin’s Old Persian. He was upped in class from Listed level and he took it all in his stride to put in a good performance and win cosily. He has been supplemented to represent the team here as they’ve decided to target Masar at the The Eclipse next week. Rostropovich ran on well to be second.

Platium Warrior goes for Mick Halford. He ran fourth in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial behind The Pentagon and Delano Roosevelt and then won the Gallinule Stakes here a month ago getting the better of Joseph O’Brien’s Latrobe by 2 L in the process. Latrobe went on to break his maiden here over this trip three weeks ago.

Dermot Weld’s Bandua is unbeaten in two run’s. He’s asked to make a massive  step up in class but he may well be capable of it. He won his maiden in April at Cork impressively by a wide margin from Arthurian Fame and followed up at Cork again in early May winning easily again. Both win’s were on soft ground but he may well prefer a quicker surface. The form was given a nice boost by Dawn Hoofer, 16 L behind him in the second Cork race, when he won the Apprentice Derby here last night.

Carlo Biraghi form ties in with Bandua as he won his maiden when beating Arthurian Fame by 3 L but he didn’t match the effort when fifth at Listed level last time out. Jim Bolger’s Theobald makes up the numbers having failed to match the potential he showed in his first three runs as a juvenile.

In the build up to this race Ballydoyle have been quiet about Saxon Warrior. That might signal a certain nervousness or alternatively the view may well be the horse will do the talking.

Like everybody else we thought he would hack up at Epsom but he failed to fire. Post race Aidan O’Brien felt he had been distracted, in awe of the experience, failing to concentrate and he simply ran green. If Aidan’s right it’s likely he’ll have got the greenness out of him and if so he could win here however the jury is still out on whether he truly stays the mile and half trip and this stiff Curragh track will one way or the other find him out. At the price he’s too short to back given the questions the Epsom run has posed.

There are good each way alternative’s.

The later developing three year old’s are of interest. Charlie Appleby’s Old Persian could make the supplementary worthwhile, he beat Gronkowski as a juvenile who ran so well to be second to Justify in the Belmont Stakes. Dermot Weld’s rank outsider Bandua could well belie the 50/1 odds on offer now. On debut he has 23 L to spare over Giuseppe Garibaldi who was then 2 L behind Old Persian at Royal Ascot.

Recommendations: Old Persian 14/1 ew 

                                          Bandua 50/1 ew 

 

 

 

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