Category Archives: G1

The Cox Plate (G1)

Rostropovich after his last win at Leopardstown over Irish Champions Weekend

Aidan O’Brien has sent Rostropovich to be his runner in the Cox Plate. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the European form versus the Australian equivalent and the concentration of the argument has centered around Godolphin’s Benbatl winner of the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago and his chance of beating Winx denying her a fourth win in this race, the Arc of down under.

Rostropovich’s whose best form came at the Curragh in the Irish Derby in June where he put in a battling performance to finish second to Latrobe, a place in front of Saxon Warrior has largely been ignored.

After the Curragh he went to Ascot for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, England’s premier middle contest. Seamie Heffernan rode him positively bringing him to the front early making it a true run gallop, in the straight he began to thread water staying on eventually to finish fifth. 

He was given a break until September and brought back for a much easier encounter at G3 level where he beat his stable companion Giuseppe Garibaldi, all three trips over a mile and half.

It’s interesting that he’s brought back in trip here to ten furlongs, a trip he last won over in May when he took the Dee Stakes at Chester on a track not too dissimilar to Moonee Valley. That win brought a trip to Paris for the French Derby where he failed to land a blow behind Study Of Man hence the step up in trip.

Can he become the most unpopular horse ever to visit Australia? 

Well he has a chance, a son of Frankel means it’s in his blood and his best form, finishing in front of Saxon Warrior means he’s not far away from being up there with Roaring Loin given the Irish Champion Stakes run of Saxon Warrior, albeit on his best day. 

Winx has nothing to prove, she will be trying to win her seventh G1 of the year after a long campaign. She likes to come from off the pace, from way off the pace actually and Hugh Bowman her rider always exudes the utmost of supreme confidence giving her the opportunity to find her stride before she unleashes her turn of foot. It’s always been enough. 

Winx is the current Pattern Racing World Championship having won six G1’s last year. Since the beginning of the championships in 2013 no horse has ever won seven. It will be wonderful to watch her do it and have Australia celebrate but with Ryan Moore likely to let Rostropovich take it on, there’s a chance, an outside one, that her speed may just be tested, just once to often this season.

Recommendation: Rostropovich 33/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 251 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 HorsePRWC 2018 JockeyPRWC 2018 TrainerPRWC 2018 SirePRWC 2018 OwnerPRWC 2018 Breeder

 

 

 

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Caulfield Cup and Champions Stakes

 

Cliffs Of Moher in the ring at The Curragh before The Tattersalls Gold Cup in May

An intriguing story is developing across the Pattern Racing World Championships 2018, Godolphin have surpassed Coolmore to top the championships for the first time since they last won in 2015.

The intervening two years 2016 and 2017 saw their great rival Coolmore pull clear to win the Owners Championship going away. The gap between the two was a hundred plus points in the last two years. This year that has been turned around into a 44 point lead for Godolphin.

Has it been the expansion of the trainer base that has inspired the comeback?

Saeed Bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby, Charlie Hills in England, James Cummings in Australia, Yoshitada Takahashi in Japan, Henri Pantall and Andre Fabre in France, Thomas Albertrani in America and Willie McCreery in Ireland have all scored  points for them. The big stables which represent the heart of the operation, Saeed Bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby in England and James Cummings down under have provided 22 of the 25 G1’s. Andre Fabre has won one and Yoshitada Takahashi another two.

Coolmore’s 12 G1 wins have all been trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Both Godolphin and Coolmore will have a runners in the Caulfield Cup in Australia on Saturday. The draw has been kind to neither, Thecliffsofmoher, as he’s been renamed, is drawn three while Best Solution is out in the carpark in box seventeen. It’s a short run to the first tight turn and position is everything coming into it. 

Thecliffsofmoher travelled to Australia after a decent break when he was third at Sandown in the Eclipse in July, beaten 2 3/4L by Roaring Loin. He had a run last week over 10 f at the venue in the Caulfield Stakes when he was a staying on forth, never troubling the Saeed Bin Suroor trained winner Benbatl. This step up to the mile and half will suit.  

This week Saeed relies on Best Solution who had a hat trick of wins, the G2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July followed by the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppergarten in August and the G1 Grosser Preis Von Baden at Baden-Baden in September where he beat Defoe a neck. Cliffs Of Moher had him a 1 1/2L behind in The Tattersalls Gold Cup.

A win for either will set up the day nicely for Champions Day at Ascot. In the four G1’s Coolmore will have the numerical advantage with Ballydoyle sending ten to contest while Gololphin will be represented by two, one trained by Andre Fabre and the other by Clive Cox. 

The ground has come up soft, heavy in places which might leave both empty-handed. One horse it will suit is Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity who landed his G1 last year in the National Stakes at the Curragh on soft to heavy. It was hoped he’d be ready for the Guineas in the spring but a setback kept him off the track until late August where it was expected he’d need the run. He was given a tough assignment a couple of weeks later in the Irish Champion Stakes and although he’ll have to step up hugely on those runs he has the ground in his favour plus being a fit and fresh horse.  

Recommendation: Thecliffsofmoher 6/1 win & Verbal Dexterity 25/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 268 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 Horse, PRWC 2018 Jockey, PRWC 2018 Trainer, PRWC 2018 Sire, PRWC 2018 Owner, PRWC 2018 Breeder

Group 1 Action This Weekend

There is Group 1 and Grade 1 action aplenty this weekend.

On Saturday Randwick in Sydney, Australia hosts three G1’s, the Flight Stakes, Metropolitan Stakes and the feature the Epsom Handicap with prize money of $1m for a race over a mile for older horses. Trainer Chris Waller is mob handed with eight of the eighteen runners and this can provide him an opportunity to close the gap on Aidan O’Brien in the PWRC 2018 Trainer standings.

On Sunday Caulfield runs the Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes with Goldophin’s Charlie Appleby running Blair House. He’ll hope he can repeat his G1 win of last weekend when Jungle Cat took top honours at G1 level at the same venue. Also on Sunday Japan resumes it’s G1 programme after a summer break with the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama where Joao Moreira will have his first top level ride since being granted a licence to ride in Japan. They’ll miss his magic in Hong Kong.

At Newmarket, England the two-year olds take centre stage with the Cheveley Park for fillies and Middle Park for colts both over 6f sharing the bill. In the former Lady Kaya caught the eye at the Curragh when second in the Moyglare and could run well stepping down in trip from 7f.

In the States the build up really begins for the Breeders Cup with Belmont in New York hosting the Vosburgh, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Jockey Club Gold Cup with the latter a Breeders Cup trial on dirt over 1m2f. Diversify will go off favourite after his win in the Whitney Invitational last time out.

European interest is piqued here with the worlds two biggest owners adding spice to the mix. Coolmore run Mendelssohn and Godolphin saddle the Dubai World Cup winner, Thunder Snow. Ryan Moore travels for the ride on Mendelssohn, he currently leads PRWC 2018 Jockey and a win can extend his slim margin over Mike Smith and Jose Ortiz. Jose will have three opportunities to bridge the gapIn the owners championship there are only 10 points between Coolmore and Godolphin (1 win) at the top of PRWC 2018 Owner.

On the west coast Santa Anita has four Grade 1’s on Saturday, the Rodeo Drive Stakes, Chandelier Stakes, American Pharoah Stakes and the feature the Awesome Again Stakes, another Breeders Cup Classic trial. Accelerate will go off a short odds on price on the back on his win in the TVG Pacific Classic and a win here could push him up to third in the PRWC 2018 Horse. On Sunday the Zenyatta Stakes is the feature race with Able Tazman likely to go off favourite.

A busy weekend of G1 action which could have a big impact on the standings of PWRC’s six category championships. It’s G1 status that binds it all together. It’s PRWC 2018 that makes the participants performances comparable.

By the time Ryan Moore flies back across the Atlantic he may well be in second place in the jockey’s championship should Jose Ortiz score well at Belmont or Mike Smith score well at Santa Anita.

Blair House’s run in Australia and Thunder Snow’s run in the USA could send Godolphin to the top of the Owners Championship or maybe Ten Sovereigns at Newmarket or Mendelssohn’s American campaign will keep Coolmore on top.

One thing for sure Aidan O’Brien will stay top of the Trainer Championship. 

Recommendation :

2.25 GMT Cheveley Park Stakes, Newmarket – Lady Kaya 8/1 win

Irish Champions Weekend (G1)

It could be an exceptional day for the Niarchos Family.

The owners of both Alpha Centauri and Study Of Man may end the day celebrating having the best three year old filly and best three year old colt in the world, on turf at least.

The Matron Stakes (G1)

Alpha Centauri after her win in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in May

Jessica Harrington’s filly began her sequence of mile win’s with the Irish 1000 Guineas in May followed by the Coronation Stakes in June and Falmouth Stakes in July. She improved with each run and last time out in the Jacques le Marois in August she was mighty impressive when she beat Recoletos who has since franked the form in no uncertain terms by winning the G1 Prix de Moulin at Lonchamp last week.

Happily, Clemmie, Magical and Lightening Quick are the other Irish contenders. It’s hard to see any of them upsetting the favourite as she’s beaten Happily and Clemmie at the Curragh with the latter also suffering defeat at Ascot and Newmarket as well. Happily has got the closest to her and a win or place for any of the Ballydoyle trio will cement Aidan O’Brien’s position at the top of PRWC 2018 Trainers Table.

Happily 27th July 2017 at Leopardstown

Magical has yet to take her on and Ryan Moore has opted for her over the other two. He may expect she’ll improve the most as she’s only had the two runs this year winning the Kilboy Estates Stakes last time out. She can be expected to improve again for that.

Johnny Murtagh will hope Lightening Quick can repeat the feat of winning as she did this day last year when trained by Ger Lyons for the Ballylinch Stud Maiden, the opening race on the card. This granted is a bit thougher.

Lightening Quick who won the first this day last year

Laurens, a dual G1 winner over 10f in France steps back to a mile, a distance she last ran at when second behind Billesdon Brooke in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. It’s a bold step having tried a mile and a half in the Yorkshire Oaks where she didn’t stay the trip. Dan’s Dream accompanies her from England having already been a visitor when running second at listed level at Tipperary last time.

Jessica Harrington has done a fabulous job with Alpha Centauri, her pride and joy. She has got her confidence to grow and grow throughout the season and she’s treated us to better and more authoritative performances each time she’s run.

There’s a tiny doubt about her on slow ground, it’s been a showery day in Dublin today, and she was beaten here on her first run of the year on heavy ground. Whatever the ground her class will tell, at least enough to see her out with Happily the one to chase her home.

A win here will see her top PRWC 2018 Horse Table though she’ll probably be sharing top spot with Winx when she win’s the George Main Stakes at Ranwick in the morning.

Recommendation: Alpha Centauri, Happily (Exacta) 

The Irish Champion Stakes (G1)

Study Of Man also looked a proper horse in the making in the spring when winning the Prix Greffulhe as a prep for the Prix du Jockey Club.

At Chantilly he didn’t disappoint winning it snugly.

He was given a summer break and brought back in August for a G2 at Deauville where on the face of it he did disappoint running fourth however in hindsight it looked a decent effort and his jockey Stephane Pasquier who’ll be having his first ride at Leopardstown reports him in top order expecting he’ll come on an awful lot for the run.

John Gosden saddles the favourite, trading slightly odds on, Roaring Loin was impressive at York in the Juddmonte where he easily had the measure of Poets Word. The second had a difficult passage but in truth the loin had roared and was long gone and there was no chance he would have been reeled in.

Ballydoyle send a quartet of G1 winners headed by Saxon Warrior. The Guineas winner has not hit the heights expected after Newmarket and could not get to Roaring Loin last time out at York in the International. There had only been a neck between them at Sandown in the Eclipse but at York Roaring Loin had extended that to 5L. Deauville, Athena, Rhododendron also run with the best of them possibly the latter.

Willie Haggas sends Addeybb over having already plundered G1 riches here this season with Sea Of Class and Urban Fox. This is tricker.

Verbal Dexterity makes up the line up, Jim Bolger’s horse is the forgotten one having won the National Stakes last year he missed the early season through injury but did make a pleasing comeback when fourth in G3 at the Curragh recently. If he can show that kind of form again he could well be a force to be reckoned with.

A cracking days racing to open Champions Weekend. Alpha Centauri will likely be crowned Queen of Ireland in the Matron while in a fascinating Champion Stakes Roaring Loin and Study Of Man will both lay claims to being the best middle distance colt of this generation. Preference is for Study Of Man who could yet become King Of France if he adds this on route to the Arc.

Recommendation: Study Of Man 10/1 win and Verbal Dexterity 20/1 ew