Category Archives: Horseracing

Hong Kong Vase (Group 1) An Irish View

Eryiza on her way in after winning the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown in August

Hong Kong’s International day takes place on Sunday with four Group 1’s featuring across the Sha Tin card.

There’s a strong Irish presence in the first, The Hong Kong Vase over 12f. Rostropovich, Eryiza and Latrobe will break from the gate with the green white and orange tricolour tucked underneath the saddlecloth.

Jockey bookings suggest that it will be waived only should Aidan O’Brien’s Rostropovich win with Wayne Lordan in the plate as Joseph O’Brien has gone with a new partner for Latrobe, Australian James McDonald.

Dermot Weld has teamed Eryiza with Christophe-Patrice Lemaire who’ll be reunited with the silks of the Aga Khan, a retainer he held in his native France in 2015 before going to ride in Japan full-time.

Rostropovich after winning The Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown in September

Latrobe, just touched off in the Mackinnon Stakes last time out on the final day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival is arguably the form horse of the three.

He won the Irish Derby over 12f a ½L from Rostropvich in the summer, the initial reaction, a media view, was that he was a Leger horse in the making. Joseph slept on it and decided he was worth a crack at the International at York over 10f, he didn’t see him just as a stayer but rather a top class middle distance animal. It didn’t work out on the Knavesmire where he got a little unbalanced and tapped for toe turning round the bend and when his chance was gone he was eased down to finish second last.

He did step up to the 14f trip for the Irish Leger running on well when second to his father’s horse Flag Of Honour and it must have been tempting to try to follow-up Rekindling’s Melbourne Cup success of the previous year. Instead Joseph opted for the Mackinnon Stakes over 10f. He travelled beautifully in behind but had to come wide to make his challenge, he nearly got up but ran out of track on a trip shorter than ideal. This step back up to a mile and a half here will suit. 

Rostropovich was given a stiff task after the Irish Derby when sent to Ascot for the summer showpiece, The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Over the same trip as the Irish Derby he led off a strong pace fading in the last quarter to be beaten 13½L. He was dropped in class over Irish Champions Weekend for a cosy win the G3 Kilternan Stakes from stablemate Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Next up he was thrown back in at the deep end, sent down under to take on Winx in the Cox Plate, drawn widest of all he couldn’t get any cover and ended up in a battle too early for the lead. In the end the 10f trip proved too sharp, Ryan Moore easing him down in the final furlong with an eye on his next target the Melbourne Cup where he ran a cracker to finish fifth over a trip too far for him. 

Dermot Weld is known to hatch the odd plan, two Melbourne Cups, a Belmont Stakes, throw in the Epsom Derby and you get the idea. His patience is well documented and Eziyra is another example of that. Her seasonal debut came in August at Leopardstown where she was given a hands and heels ride to come from the back to win the G3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown over 12f.

Two weeks later she was at York for the Yorkshire Oaks running third to Sea Of Class and Coronet, form which was given a significant boost by Sea Of Class’s brilliant run in the Arc. Like Rostropovich she was dropped in class and given a confidence booster with a win in the G2 Blandford Stakes over Irish Champions Weekend.

She then went to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf where under Frankie Dettori she broke from stall fourteen, the widest gate of all, far from ideal around an American tight turn inner track. Frankie insured she broke well shuffling her across into a good position, in the pack off the rail, the problem was they’d slowed to a crawl and she’d already been given her head and so was running far too free. On the face of it she didn’t do well managing a lowly sixth however the five in front of her were all G1 winners.  

Latrobe is improving and well drawn in six, Rostropovich has preformed well over trips either inadequate or too far on his last two runs however drawn eleven isn’t ideal.

It is Eziyra who stands out the most with a good draw in gate eight. Hopefully the rain stays away, she’s a beautiful mover with a lovely action, a top of the ground filly. If she relaxes in the hands of Christophe-Patrice Lemaire she could make a bold show, the tricolour might be produced, blue white and red.

Recommendation: Eziyra 16/1 ew

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 299 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

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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

 

 

 

The Everest

US Navy Flag saddles in the ring on debut at Naas

Aidan O’Brien has sent US Navy Flag down under to take on the best of the Australians in the second running of the The Everest at Randwick, Sydney.

It’s not a pattern race but it is now the world’s richest turf race and is run over the sprint distance of six furlongs. The race, run similarly to the Pegasus World Cup in Florida is a restricted race with owners buying slot’s for $600,000 each hence the big pot.

US Navy Flag leaving the ring.

From his debut in May last year US Navy Flag improved and improved throughout the season. He took his racing well and by November he’d run eleven times and by the end of it he’d captured two G1’s, the Middle Park over six furlongs and the Dewhurst over seven furlongs. In both he’d displayed a liking to boss, being up in the van and leading from the front. 

This year he was campaigned to get a mile early season contesting the French and Irish Guineas where he was fifth and second respectively. In Paris he stumbled badly when out in front on an uneven Lonchamp surface which cost him his chance. He was tried again in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before the decision was made to let him use his speed over the shorter trip of the July Cup.

At Newmarket he burst from the gate and adopted up his usual tactic of leading from the front. Unlike at the Curragh over the mile when his stamina ran out, Romanised got the better of him there, here he was able to use his speed over the shorter trip and he’d no difficulty in knocking out all comers.

Ryan Moore racks up the air miles to ride him and the trip may very well be rewarded. He’s a quality horse, a Middle Park winner, a Dewhurst winner and a July Cup winner, he’ll certainly bring a top level of form with him.

He did travel to America for the Breeders Cup last year and was well beaten which might be a cause for concern however that was on Dirt, on Turf different matter.

The home team no doubt will have something to say and of them the one that stands out the most is Santa Ana Lane, the winner of the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben in June.

US Navy Flag is a bigger, stronger athlete than he was when we took those picture’s only fifteen months ago and now he’s a formidable force. His run style is deceptive, he looks as if he’s doing nothing which hides the fact he’s going so quick. They’ll break smart from the gate which if anything will suit him, he doesn’t need to be in front, what he needs is a strong pace to use his speed and this is nearly guaranteed. 

It gives him every chance.

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 299 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

Recommendation: US Navy Flag 10/1 ew

20 Group/Grade 1’s Around The World This Weekend

Saturday

Australia

Winx kicks off the action in the Turnbull Stakes in her last race at Flemington looking to take her sixth G1 of the season in her final prep race before her historic attempt to win her fourth Cox Plate in a few weeks time. We all routing for her, Chris Waller says she’s more forward in her coat and looking even better than she did this time last year. 

Also down under the feature at Randwick is the Spring Champion Stakes, a race restricted to three-year old’s over 10f. 

England 

Laurens entering the parade ring at Leopardstown

Laurens returns to Newmarket for the one mile Sun Chariot Stakes in pursuit of her for her fourth G1 of the year. Last time out she captured the Matron Stakes over the same trip having won her two previous G1’s over 10f. She outgunned Alpha Centauri, subsequently reported injured and retired, down the straight. There’s a quartet of Coolmore fillies in opposition with Ballydoyle sending three, Clemmie, Happily and I Can Fly with Andre Fabre sending Wind Chimes from France. The latter two can make Laurens work for it, I Can Fly was the best winner over Irish Champions Weekend and Wind Chimes was unlucky to just get caught here by Recoletos in the Moulin a couple of weeks ago.

Recommendation: Wind Chimes 3/1 win

France

The Arc weekend begins with the Prix Du Cadran, a stayer’s race over 20f taking centre stage. Holdthasigreen will go off favourite on the Pari Mutual. Wille Mullins Max Dynamite might hold the key here after a good second to stablemate Thomas Hobson in the Doncaster Cup last time. He’s an eight year old but he keeps on giving for Rich Ricci.

Recommendation: Max Dynamite win bet on the PMU

USA

In America Belmont hosts the Beldame on Dirt, a 3yo+ for Fillies and Mares over 1m and the Champagne Stakes for Two Year old’s over the same trip. Ben Cecil, Henry’s nephew, might make the G1 breakthrough with Listing who ships from his Santa Anita Californian base in the latter.

Keenland has the First Lady Stakes on Turf, the Breeders’ Futurity on Dirt and their highlight, the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Godolphin supply a European raider in the First Lady, Henri Pantall’s Crown Walk makes the journey on the back of her good second in the Prix Rothchild to With You at Deauville.

Recommendation: Crown Walk 5/1 win

It’s disappointing that no European’s have travelled for the $1m Shadwell Turf Mile won last year by David O’Meara’s Suedios however we’ll give a big shout for the outsider Great Wide Open trained by Conor Murphy who moved from Nicky Henderson’s yard after skinning the bookmakers a few years ago at Cheltenham. He was not far off Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere last time who trades at 8/1 for this.

Recommendation: Great Wide Open 50/1 ew

Sunday

France

Europe’s premier middle distance race is the feature, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in which Enable is a short price favourite at even money to repeat her victory of last year. Her season has not gone to plan with injury delaying her return until Kempton, she looked a picture when easily accounting for Crystal Ocean appearing to retain her ability. Sea Of Class, the year younger filly will put it up to her and Ballydoyle’s brace of Leger winners Kew Gardens, this year and Capri last year, aren’t out of it with the three-year old having won a G1 over course and distance in July. Capri has been laid out for this.

Recommendation: Kew Gardens, Capri (coupled on PMU)

The card features another five G1’s with the two-year old’s contesting the Prix Marcel Boussac for Fillies and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere open to both colts and fillies, both over a mile.

Godolphin are double handed in the Boussac with Charlie Appleby sending Ceratonia and Saeed Bin Suroor responsible for Dubai Beauty. They’ll have it all to do to upset the favourite Rocques who beat the Appleby runner comfortably last time out.

Recommendation: Rocques 1/1 win

They might have a better chance in the Lagardere with Royal Marine however Freddy Head’s Anador likely to be popular on the PMU with the home fans.

The older fillies will contest Prix De L’Opera over 10f, again a quality contest with Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, Coolmore’s Magic Wand and George Strawbridge’s With You all in with a shout. Preference is for With You should Crown Walk frank the form of their Deauville run in the First Lady at Keenland.

Recommendation: With You 3/1 win

Next is the turn of the sprinters over the minimum trip in the Abbaye. Battaash will still be most people’s answer after his devastating performance when wining this last year. He’s not displayed the same level of form this year and he’s worth opposing with Aidan O’Brien’s Sioux Nation and Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid who were third and fourth in the Flying Five a couple of weeks ago, Son Of Rest gave that form a boost when winning the Ayr Gold Cup last week.

Recommendation: Sioux Nation and Hit The Bid – (both ew on the PMU)

The Floret over 7f for older horses then rounds off the weekend and Pollydream will be all the rage on the PMU after her win in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. Gustav Klimt will keep her honest, his overall form being good quality with the last run in the Haydock Sprint Cup being particular relevant.

Recommendation: Gustav Klimt 7/1 win

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 222 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