Category Archives: Ireland

Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1)

Zibha entering the parade ring at Leopardstown before winning the Amethyst Stakes

To a large extent this race revolves around Saxon Warrior the English Guineas winner. He’s an absentee here, instead being prepared for the Epsom Derby next week where he is the odds on favourite.

The favourite here is Elarqam, Mark Johnston’s raider from England ran fourth at Newmarket with Gustav Klimt back in sixth. The form of the English race has taken a significant boost with the fifth horse home Roaring Loin have taken The Dante in impressive fashion at York last week. He’s now a live contender for Epsom.

Gustav Klimt was a bit disappointing at Newmarket. He’d gone there after winning The Leopardstown Guineas Trial on heavy ground in really good style where he beat Imaging by 1 3/4L and US Navy Flag by 15 L. We spoken at length about the latter in previous blogs on the French and English Guineas. He was our choice for both.

In France US Navy Flag did as expected. Ryan Moore who will ride him again here tried to bully the race going off in front but the uneven surface at Longchamp led him to stumble badly in the straight and he was caught and past by a closing pack to finish fifth beaten 3L by Olmedo. The track subsequently had to be changed for the running of the French 1000 Guineas with senior jockeys describing it as dangerous. He must be forgiven for the run. Aidan also runs Spanish Point most likely the pacesetter and Threeandfourpence who comes back having had no run at Churchill Downs last time out when the rain ruined any chance he had.

The home contingent also includes Zibha, Would Be King, Landshark, Romanised and Theobald.

Would Be King at Leopardstown last July

Zibha is unbeaten over three runs, the first two at Dundalk on the all-weather and his last run, his first on turf, at Leopardstown when he took the Amethyst Stakes over a mile beating older horses in a very pleasing performance. Three year old’s beating older horses at this stage of their careers is always worth noting.

Would Be King was second to Imaging (who has been taken out of this race) with Romanised back in sixth, in the Tetrarch Stakes over 7f at Naas a couple of weeks ago. The former from the Ger Lyons yard is still a maiden after five run’s but he’s boxed with some very good colts in those runs notably when second to Gustav Klimt when he won his maiden last July. Romanised can’t be dismissed either, his form with Masar (third at Newmarket) when second in the Solario last year at Sandown reads well. In the Tetrarch he was coming with a run late on when taken out of it by Hence. He looked unlucky.

Landshark is the least experienced in the field having just had the two runs as a juvenile. In the latter he was beaten 6L by US Navy Flag in the Round Tower last August.

There is another English raider, Symbolization. Godolphin must hold him in high regard asking him to step up from a handicap win last time out to contest this.

This will be run on fast ground. It will suit some better than others. Elarqam will benefit from it but he got caught out by the Ballydoyle pacesetters at Newmarket and the same may happen here again. If Ryan Moore doesn’t decide to boss it from the off you’d expect that Spanish Point will set factions slower than ideal for Mark Johnston’s colt and that it will be designed to bring the O’Brien trio Threeandfourpence , Gustav Klimt and US Navy Flag with a finishing kick.

That might just suit Romanised very nicely. As a son of Holy Roman Emperor he should love the ground and he could get up late to do the O’Brien fancied pair at the death, and at a big price.

Recommendation: Romanised 33/1 ew

 

 

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The Pattern Racing World Championships 2017

The 2018 pattern racing season is about to go into full flow.

Before we get too immersed in it we are taking this opportunity to look back on last year and announce the winners of the Pattern Racing World Championships 2017, now in their fifth year.

How the Pattern Racing World Championships Work

These championships are created by allocating points for a placing in a Group 1 or Grade 1 race. It’s simple, in a Group or Grade 1, a win earns 10 points, second 7 points and third 5 points. Points for participants are accumulated over all G1 races in the calender year.

In 2017 306 races were included from the pattern race programme. Each race offers 22 points so there’s a total pot of 6,732 points available to win in the year. The races included all the G 1’s from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, UAE, France, Italy, England, Germany, Ireland, USA and Canada.

Tables are created for each category based on accumulated points won  establishing a championship position.

Pattern Racing World Championship Categories

There are six categories 1. Horse, 2. Trainer, 3. Jockey, 4. Sire, 5. Owner 6. Breeder. Each category compete for the same number of points.

Pattern Racing World Championship Tables

This year we have a dynamic tables for each category that you allow you to drill down into

1. each participants achievements during the year.

2. see which races they were placed in, the date of the race and the points won, all with dynamic headers.

3. you can then drill into the individual race.

4. and view more details of the participants championship position, details on the race and how it panned out for the participant.

Why Have The Pattern Racing World Championships?

Racing is an extremely competitive sport. The championships categorise racing’s participants comparing their performances globally with their peers. G1 status provides the benchmark. Achievement is recognised, consistency rewarded, standing is established.

As ever the cream rises to the top.

A Summary of the Pattern Racing World Championships 2017

Overall 2017 was a year where the Coolmore powerhouse asserted it’s dominance winning four of the six categories, prehaps a taster of what is to come over the next decade. Owner, Trainer, Jockey and Sire all went the way of the Coolmore operation. The Breeders category and Horse category went to others.

Below is the top three for each category.

Click on the header or below on the right of the  to reveal the full table and find out more.

PRWC 2017 – Horse

Championship Finishing Position Horse  Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Placings
1 Winx 60 6
2 Abel Tasman 51 6
3 Enable 50 5

  Click here for the Horse Championships of 2017

Winx came out on top in 2017. Her six runs at G1 level yielded six wins, a feat she also achieved in 2016. Her finest moment saw her capture a third consecutive Cox Plate. Unfortunately we won’t get to see Winx in Europe this year instead her trainer Chris Waller will target a fourth Cox Plate as her ultimate aim.

Abel Tasman the Kentucky Oaks winner filled second spot winning three G1’s and running second in another three.

Enable filled third spot. The Epsom Oaks winner had five G1’s wins capping off a fine season culminating in her Arc win, something she’ll try to emulate this year.

PRWC 2017 – Trainer

Championship Finishing Position Trainer  Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Placings
1 A P O’Brien 553 73
2 Chad C Brown 299 40
3 Bob Baffert 287 36

 Click here for the Trainer Championships of 2017

It was a stunning performance from Aidan O’Brien who retains the title won in 2016  (477 points, 2016). A world record twenty-eight G1’s was accompanied by twenty-four runner-up spots and twenty-one third place finishes.

Chad Brown retains second place (301, 2016). He had fifteen G1 winners and filled the runners-up spot on twelve occasions and registered thirteen third place finishes.

Bob Baffert improved a place from fourth in 2016 (194 points, 2016) to third. He also had fifteen G1 winners and filled the runner-up spot sixteen times and registered five third place finishes.

PRWC 2017 – Jockey

Championship Finishing Position Jockey  Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Placings
1 Ryan Moore 359 45
2 Mike E Smith 250 31
3 Jose L Ortiz 247 32

 Click here for the Jockey Championships of 2017

Ryan Moore also takes the jockey’s title, for the third year in succession. He once again improved his total (347, 2016) (270. 2015) in a year which brought twenty-two G1’s wins, twelve seconds and thirteen third place finishes. Of those wins all but one was for Aidan O’Brien. Winter, Highland Reel and Roly Poly were the triple givers.  The other G1, out east, was for Osamu Hirata when he rode Gold Dream to win the Champions Cup, formerly the Japan Cup (Dirt).

Mike Smith improved from fifth last year (171, 2016) to second this year with fifteen G1’s wins. He was runner-up on ten occasions and third six times. His association with Bob Baffert yielded nine of those wins, three on Abel Tasman and two on Arrogate.

Jose Ortiz, the younger of the Ortiz brothers was the big mover going from twentieth last year (97, 2016) to third in 2017. He rode thirteen G1 winners, ran second eleven times and filled the third spot eight times. Chad Brown provided five of his G1 wins.

PRWC 2017 – Sire

Championship Finishing Position Sire  Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Placings
1 Galileo (IRE) 451 59
2 Dubawi (IRE) 200 28
3 Medaglia d’Oro (USA) 151 19

 Click here for the Sire Championships of 2017

Galileo was just short of last years total (454, 2016) but he remains the engine for the Coolmore operation. In 2013 his score was 160, in 2014 it was 261 and in 2015 it was 257. The last two years have been stunning. He matched the twenty-four G1 win’s he had in 2016 again in 2017 with eighteen seconds and seventeen third place finishes to remain a distance clear of the field.

Dubawi moves back up the podium to second having got the bronze the previous year (146, 2016), a position he last held in 2015 when he scored 220 points.

Medaglia d’Oro is the new kid on the block, eighth the previous year (103, 2016) when he had seven G1 wins. He added another three to make it ten in 2017.

PRWC 2017 – Owner

Championship Finishing Position Owner Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Name
1 Coolmore Syndicate 564 74
2 Godolphin 451 63
3 Khalid Abdullah 138 16

Click here for the Owner Championships of 2017

Coolmore is unquestionably the most powerful operation on the planet. The upward curve continues (494, 2016).  Coolmore owned horses won thirty G1’s on the track last year (23, 2016), sixteen in England, seven in Ireland, three in France, three in the States and Highland Reel bowed out with the final one in Hong Kong.

Godolphin had a year of change with the departure of John Ferguson. His replacement Joe Osborne saw an improved position on 2016 (379, 2016) with the year producing eighteen G1 wins, six more than 2016. No doubt he’ll try to build on that in 2018.

Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation moved from eighth last year (66, 2016) to third in 2017. Arrogate set the world alight at the beginning of the year those with wins in the Pegasus World Cup and then that incredible performance in the Dubai World Cup, then came Enable. What a season for the Prince.

PRWC 2017 – Breeder

Championship Finishing Position Breeder Championship Points Won No of Pattern Race Placings
1 Darley 261 36
2 Northern Racing 160 20
3 Juddmonte 120 16

 Click here for the Breeder Championships of 2017

Darley retained their number one position for the third year in a row (268, 2016). This year they had eleven G1 individual winners (eight for Godolphin) with thirteen runner-up placings and twelve third place finishes.

Northern Racing are second as they were last year (156,2016) with ten G1 wins from eight individuals.

Juddmonte filled third spot up with six G1 wins, five coming from Enable.

Irish Champion Stakes (G1)

 

Zhukova on her way out to win the Enterprise Stakes last year.

” I’ve been waiting such a long time, looking out for you but your not here.”

It’s Minding we’ll miss, if injury hadn’t curtailed her career she could have blown the season apart and expectation would have been she would have been crowned Queen of Ireland in the Champion Stakes here.

The show goes on and Churchill fills the role as the Ballydoyle number one. The dual Guineas winner has been beaten twice since. The poor run at Royal Ascot is still a mystery but it’s forgotten now after a good return to form in the International at York. He and Barney Roy cut their own throats by having a private battle setting it up for Ulysses  He mightn’t have won but he put in a very solid performance proving he could see out the step up in trip to 10f.

Alas, the race doesn’t have the depth in quality it had last year, a truly exceptional year, it’s still intriguing none the less. That’s down to the presence of Eminent. He put in a cracking effort over this trip in Deauville last time out. He was ridden by Ryan Moore that day and given a soft lead the field couldn’t peg him back. That won’t happen here so will Frankie Dettori in the saddle for the first time take it on or will he sit and wait.

Most likely it’ll be Ken Condon’s Success Days who will set the pace. He a confirmed front-runner who last time out at York in the Sky Bet Stakes just saw it out to win by a nose. He’ll love every drop of rain that falls.

The 2014 winner The Grey Gatsby now trained by Dermot Weld is back. He’s a shadow of the horse who won when beating Australia and it’s more likely Zhukova would give Rosewell House the better opportunity to claim this prize.

Zhukova is a lightly raced five-year old who won the Enterprise Stakes here last year in impressive style. She’s since a G1 winner when she took the Man o’ War at Belmont in May this year. She ran a cracker in July in the Pretty Poly when only tiring in the last furlong and this shorter trip after a nice break will be right up her street.

Decorated Knight is back in Ireland the scene of his last G1 win where at the Curragh he took the Tattersalls Gold Cup also in May. Luck has deserted him since, second to Highland Reel at Royal Ascot was followed by what his trainer Roger Charlton described as a frustrating run in the Eclipse. In the International at York he pulled muscles and in the circumstances ran magnificently to still be involved with a furlong to run.

The Stoute team sends Poet’s Word over instead of Ulysses. He’s three wins from seven, the last being a G3, the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood. He’s on the up and will like Ulysses turn into a nice five-year old. A similar case could be made for Jim Bolger’s Moonlight Magic whose shown flashes of potential never more than last time out when beating Deauville a head here in the Meld Stakes in July.

That leaves Cliffs Of Moher and Taj Mahal, the Ballydoyle supporting actors. The former hasn’t lived up to expectations, sent off as favourite for the Derby where he ran second, he hasn’t yet cut the mustard since running fourth in both the Eclipse and The International.

Taj Mahal went to Chicago where he ran his best race when second to Oscar Performance in the Secretariat Stakes. The winner won last years Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and is now a triple G1 winner. 66/1 ignores his talent.

Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won Ireland’s premier all age race since So You Think won in 2011. St Nicholas Abbey, Australia, Found (twice) and Minding have all been beaten in this race. Can Churchill end the drought?

Chances are he can but at 11/10 he’s a short price for one whose been beaten at this distance albeit on his only try when caught in a headlock by Barney Roy.

It presents a doubt, enough to take him on, a fit Decorated Knight is interesting on what looks like good to yielding ground however there’s one who’ll love the ground and the track and is trained by a master in Dermot Weld.

And Twelve points go to … … Zhukova

Douze points Zhulova

I can hear Aidan humming on the way home in the car. I’ve been waiting…….

A happy Chris Hayes coming in after winning the Desmond Stakes in July

In The Boomerang Stakes Alexios Konmenos should follow up his win in the Desmond Stakes over course and distance in July.

Recommendation:

Irish Champion Stakes:  Zhukova 12/1 ew 

                                            Zhukova and Decorated Knight (RFC)

Boomerang Stakes:        Alexios Konmenos 9/4 win

The Matron Stakes:       Enjoy Winter

 

The Desmond Stakes (G3)

Custom Cut leaves the ring for last year’s Desmond Stakes

The evenings are drawing in and the last of the summer cider will be drunk tonight at Leopardstown.

The feature is an interesting renewal of the Desmond Stakes.

David O’Meara sends Custom Cut back for another crack at a track where he has been very successful. This will be his ninth visit to the course where he’s won three times, twice at G3 level including on his last visit when he took the Amesthyst Stakes over this distance here in May and once at G2 level when he won the Boomerang Stakes again over a mile in 2015.

He’s accompanied on the trip from England by Morando who’s looking for a fifth win from his seventh start. Roger Varian’s four old didn’t get a run as a juvenile but as a three-year old he managed three successive wins. He returned to the racecourse to win a listed race over a mile at Windsor on the 1st July.

True Valour at Naas earlier in the season

The home team is headed by three in the shape of True Valour, Sea Wolf and Alexios Komnenos who fought out the Celebration Stakes at the Curragh also on the 1st July. A 1/2 L and a neck separated them. Of the three the one with the most capacity to improve is the latter as Fossy Stacks runner was only having his third run of his life. Last year he won a maiden beating Inca Gold first time out and then only went down a battling neck to Churchill in the Tyros Stakes.

Diamond Fields at Naas in May

The other Stack runner Diamond Fields also processes some nice form having taken the scalp of Alice Springs in the Gladness Stakes at Naas at the start of the season. She then found the going too quick on her return to the same track over the May bank holiday weekend when running last to Rehana in the Athashi Stakes. We haven’t seen her since.

Flight Risk, Music Box and Intricately make up the field. The former is trained by Jim Bolger who after a cold spell had a double at Gowran Park yesterday. Flight Risk is hard to win with but like Custom Cut her last visit to the track was a winning one when she took the Ballycourus Stakes over 7 f here in June.

You might say Music Box is well exposed at this stage as this will be her 12th start of the current campaign however like many of Aidan’s she keeps improving from race to race. Her last three run’s are testament to her toughness. She found Drumfad Bay too good at Killarney and Only Mine too good at Naas but last time out she turned over the form with Drumfad Bay when taking a listed race at Galway.

Intricately won the Moyglare Stakes last year, the premier two-year old fillies race in Ireland. She hasn’t won since but she has been to all the best dances. She’s the only one in the field to have operated almost exclusively at G1 level. She might have been well beaten at the Breeders Cup last year at Santa Anita and again in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but her run in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial at the start of the season was very good as was her run in the Irish 1000 Guineas where she was only 5 L off Winter. She’s since disputed the Pretty Polly and Irish Oaks where her stamina might have been stretched too far and the step back to a mile here will most likely suit.

This is an open and intriguing event.

There are proven older performers, the likes of Custom Cut, Sea Wolf and Flight Risk, the lightly raced four year old Morando. Then are are the three-year olds in receipt of a weight for age allowance with the fillies benefitting 3 lbs more than the males.

If the younger generation are to come out on top then you could argue both Music Box and Intricately have already had their opportunities. That leaves the three-year old males, True Valour and Alexios Komnenos. Of the two a chance is taken with the latter. He might be the least experienced but on the back of a 1/2 L defeat by Churchill and a very encouraging seasonal debut he offers the most potential.

Recommendation: Alexios Komnenos 13/2 win