Category Archives: Horseracing

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

 

 

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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 

 

 

 

Saint James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1)

Embed from Getty Images

Romanised storms home in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and Ray McManus.

Without Parole heads the market for this. He’s been a talking horse since his demolition of Ostilio at Yarmouth in April and he’s since won at Sandown in May beating Gabr in not quite so convincing fashion albeit on soft ground. Gabr takes him on here again. He’s by Frankel and is trained by John Gosden which is why he’s so short in the market. If he didn’t have such illustrious connections he’d be a far bigger price.

The form horse here is Ken Condon’s Romanised.

He was our recommendation for the Irish 2000 Guineas and he didn’t disappoint coming home a comfortable 2 1/4 L’s in front of US Navy Flag with Gustav Klimt a further 1 1/4 L’s back in third with Threeandfourpence another length away in fourth. He loved the firm ground at the Curragh and there was no fluke about it. He travelled easy in behind and when Shane Foley produced him on the outside he easily dismissed the O’Brien trio in a matter of strides displaying a serious turn of foot.

Roger Teal’s Tip To Win ran second at Newmarket behind Saxon Warrior in the English 2000 Guineas with Masar a head behind him in third. Again there was no fluke about the performance and the form has got a considerable boost not from Saxon Warrior but from Masar with his victory in the Derby.

Godolphin are represented by the French trained Wootton. Henri-Alex Pantall’s colt lost his unbeaten run in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains when going down 2 L to Olmedo. He’d gone off favourite for the race having beaten Olmedo in the a trial in April, the Prix de Fontainebleau. He’s a threat however US Navy Flag also ran in the race finishing 1 L behind him there before going on to be beaten by Romanised at the Curragh.

Martyn Meade has elected to run Chilean here having abandoned plans to turn him into a stayer. Last time out he contested the Sandown Classic Trial running forth. Before that he did put in a good display when beating subsequent French Derby winner Study Of Man in the Prix La Force in April.

It’s an intriguing race, Without Parole could be anything but he’s way too short in the market for what he has achieved. Romanised was the best horse in Irish 2000 Guineas and on form that puts him in front of the French Guineas running through the US Navy Flag form line and similarly through the Gustav Klimt form line he has the beating of Tip To Win. The surprise package here could be Chilean who has the scalp of Study Of Man who might be the best middle distance three year old seen to date this year. The concern here is the mile might be a bit on the sharp side against these specialists.

Romanised is over priced here as he was at the Curragh. He’s trained by Ken Condon who run’s a small yard on the Curragh hence the market dismisses his chance and he is the price he is. He should be a short price favourite, he has the form in the book, he’s drawn well in six and he’ll love this fast ground. The Royal Ascot crowd will get to know Ken Condon.

Recommendation: Romanised 11/2 win

 

The Prix de Diane (Group 1)

Happily before the Irish 1000 Guineas

Aidan O’Brien sends Happily to France for the Prix de Diane, the French Oaks.

She’s yet to match her juvenile from of last year when she captured two Group 1’s, here in France she took the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and before that at home she won the Moyglare Stud Stakes. There were both very good performances especially in France when she beat the colts Olmedo and Masar subsequent winners of the French 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, not bad looking form now.

Her runs this year in both the English 1000 Guineas and Irish 1000 Guineas suggested she was crying out for an extension in trip. She went off favourite for both, the market having recognised that juvenile form however she was caught for toe on both occasions finishing a staying on third both times.

Karl Burke’s Laurens is the other visitor in the field. She beat September in the Fillies Mile at Ascot last year and ran second in the English 1000 Guineas on seasonal debut a length in front of Happily. She stepped up to this trip in the Prix Saint-Alary to bag her second Group 1 where she had a short head to spare over With You who reopposes here. She’s a quality filly.

The home defence is led by Alain De Royer Dupre’s Shahnaza who will vie for favouritism with Happily with the bookmakers. She runs in the famous Aga Khan’s green silks colours and will be ridden by Christophe Soumillion. This daughter of Azamour is trice raced winning her last two in easy fashion having run second first time out.

Freddy Head’s Luminate won her first three races and is on a bit of a recovery mission having lost her unbeaten run last time out. She will have the assistance of Frankie Dettori in the plate. Godolphin’s Musis Amica is in a similar position having lost her unbeaten record on her last appearance having won her first two. She’s trained by the wily Andre Fabre.

The advantage is to the visitors in terms of form.

Both Laurens on what she’s done this year and Happily on what she’s done last year set the standard. The home team have it all to do. The issue is the ground, it will come up soft which generally tends to suit the French fillies. Whilst not ideal for the visitors Happily did cope admirably with it when she won the Moyglare Stakes last year beating her better fancied stablemates Magical and September and Laurens did win on good to soft on her last trip to France. In a tight one Happily can prevail.

The French tote price is likely to prove bigger than the bookmakers price so put PMU on your docket.

Recommendation: Happily PMU