Category Archives: Pattern Racing World Championships 2017

The Melbourne Cup (G1)

Recommendation: Johannes Vermeer 11/1 win

Johannes Vermeer with Minding following at Naas in May

Johannes Vermeer made his seasonal debut at Naas this year running fourth to the wonderful Minding. Injury forced her retirement after winning the G2 Mooresbridge Stakes. Alas we didn’t see her again but we have the prospect of Johannes Vermeer winning the Melbourne Cup, to a great deal of people the most coveted of all races in the world.

Johannes Vermeer was a G1 winner as a two-year old when he took the Criterium International at Saint Cloud in France in November 2015.  Injury meant his three-year old season was curtailed to just one run when at the end of the year in October he ran third in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien kept him for a four-year old campaign and that decision has been rewarded with a trip down under for the Melbourne Cup. He’s changed ownership for this transferring to the Williams family as has US Army Ranger who is now under the tutelage of son Joseph O’Brien. Jospeh’s other runner Rekindling likewise transferred offers most to fear here. There’s a lot to like about him and his fourth in the St Leger behind Capri is outstanding form coming into this race.

Back to Johannes Vermeer, two G1 outings followed the Nass run. The Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He never threatened but he wasn’t beaten that far going down less than 5 L’s on both occasions.

In early July he was then dropped in class for a confidence booster and duly obliged when beating a very good horse in Success Days in the G3 International Stakes on Irish Derby day.

In early August he was then beaten a 1/2 L by stable companion Spanish Steps in the G3 Ballyroan Stakes. The loss wasn’t unexpected judging by the betting that night and while Spanish Steps might have had his day in the sun you can quite conceivably see that a plan was hatched for Johannes Vermeer to go to Melbourne after that performance.

In mid October he made his Australian debut in the G1 Caulfield Stakes where he was an unconsidered outsider going off at 30/1. He ran a cracker to just be denied a head by Galio Chop.

A week later he went off favourite for the much bigger Caulfield Cup when in an interrupted run when boxed in on the rail he couldn’t get out in time.  He finished third. This was a case of full of horse with nowhere to go. He ate what was left of the ground but the post came too soon. Next time.

Next time comes now. He’s not the horse he led in the picture, none are, if she’d had a season we wouldn’t talk of Enable we ‘d have only talked of Minding.

It’s good to remember a day in May, now it’s November. A day for Johannes Vermeer to have a day in the southern hemisphere sun.

Minding enters the ring for the Mooresbridge Stakes on her comeback at Naas

 

 

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Breeders Cup Night Preview

Recommendation:

Breeders Cup Juvenile: US Navy Flag 9/1 win

Breeders Cup Turf: Decorated Knight 9/1 ew 

Breeders Cup Classic: War Decree 40/1 ew

Churchill returns after The Irish Champion Stakes

The Classic is the richest race on the card and it is one in which Aidan O’Brien hopes to create a surprise to cap on his monumental season.

He runs two, War Decree and Churchill.

Churchill is on somewhat of a retrieval mission having been champion two year old and a dual Guineas winner however the latter part of the season has gone somewhat downhill. Aidan has said the run in the Champion Stakes has given him the encouragement to come here and have a crack on dirt against America’s best. In his trainers mind he retains all the ability he sees at home.

War Decree’s road to Del Mar has been very different. As a two-year old he beat Thunder Snow in the G2 Vintage Stakes and a lot was expected of him at the start of his three-year old season. He began it in April going off favourite for the Craven Stakes but he didn’t fire and was well beaten.

He then went to Chantilly for the French Derby where again he got beat when fifth behind Brametot. Ryan Moore described it as a much better effort than it seemed to the eye. He didn’t get a clear run and never got a chance to impose himself on the race but Ryan was satisfied the engine was there. Aidan has since said that is when the plan for Del Mar was hatched.

He was put away until the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk in late September. It’s a race Aidan has identified as good preparation for his aspiring Breeders Cup candidates whom he thinks will like a dirt surface. His past winners include Mastercraftsman in 2009 and Declaration Of War in 2012. The latter went on to contest this race in 2013 just getting beaten in a three-way finish.

The Classic is a race that has eluded Ballydoyle, War Decree and Churchill will try to put that right. Churchill has been on the go throughout a long season, it’s the fresh War Decree who could spring the surprise and outrun his odds.

He might just land it.

Decorated Knight has a look round after winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown

In the Breeders Cup Turf unfortunately Ulysses is declared a non runner on veterinary advise and Highland Reel is now a short price to defend his crown. Like last year you expect him to be ridden prominently and to boss the race. He might find Roger Charlton’s Decorated Knight coming late to pip him on the line just as he did to Poets Word in the Irish Champion Stakes.

US Navy Flag on Debut at Naas

US Navy Flag has come a long way since making his debut at Naas on the 1st of May. He runs here in the Breeders Cup Juvenile on dirt. He won his maiden at the fifth attempt but has since won the G1 Middle Park Stakes and G1 Dewhurst Stakes where he beat Mendelssohn comfortably . The Dewhurst form was given a considerable boost last night with Mendelssohn’s win in the Juvenile Turf. He’s got to have a great chance here if he handles the dirt.

Breeder Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)

Recommendation:

Happily 4/1 win

Happily & September, Reverse Forecast

Happily going out to win the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown. 27th July 2017

The first race in the Breeders Cup series presents one of the best chances for the Europeans to score.

There’s a strong in depth team led by Aidan O’Brien’s Happily and her stablemate September. Aidan’s son Joseph sends Now Your Talking and Fossy Stack will be hoping his 2nd reserve Goodthingstaketime will get in if two come out. The English team is led by John Gosden’s Lady Capulet and Roger Varian is sending Madeline.

The Ballydoyle pair are led by Happily who took the G1 Moyglare Stakes over seven furlongs (September back in third) , Ireland’s leading juvenile fillies race. She then went to France and contested the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day, France’s leading two-year old race, where she beat the colts over a mile. September followed up the Moyglare third going to Ascot for the G1 Fillies Mile where she was denied a nose by Laurens.

Juliet Capulet owned by Cheveley Park Stud won the Rockfel Stakes, a G2 at Newmarket over seven furlongs while Madeline ran third to Clemmie over six furlongs in the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes also at Newmarket with Now Your Talking a head back in fourth. If Clemmie were here she’d start favourite for this.

The American fillies can’t boast anything like the form of the Europeans at G1 level because the pattern racing programme doesn’t cater for two year old fillies on turf until this event. That doesn’t mean they can’t compete. Chad Brown’s pair Rushing Fall winner of the G3 Jessamaine Stakes over this trip and Significant Fall who beat Best Performance in the G3 Miss Grillo Stakes can’t be dismissed. In Canada Capala Princess did win the Natalama Stakes upgraded to G1 status this year where she beat Dixie Moon.

The Europeans will have the edge in experience at the level required however what will be new to all of them will be the tight turns and short straight common to American tracks. It’s more particular pronounced at Del Mar where the straight measures just 919 feet. They will also have to cope with a firm track something they won’t have come across either before.

There’s little between the Ballydoyle pair and they are both a cut above the rest.

In early summer when September won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot she would have been ahead of Happily in the pecking order. Since Happily has had her behind on the two occasions they met, in the Moyglare and earlier in the Debutante Stakes.

The draw is a big issue here and wide is not where you want to be. Happily will break from gate two with September in ten. Happily’s win in France against the colts was very impressive, she had Godolphin’s Masar 1 1/2 L back in third who runs later tonight in the Juvenile Turf Mile. September also beat him 2  1/4 L in the Chesham and the line just came too soon for her in the Fillies Mile last time out.

Marginal preference is for Happily on account of the draw. If they can handle the turns (and the ground) then they can fill the first two spots.

Aidan O’Brien (G1) by 26

Aidan O’Brien who has broken the world record of 25 G1’s set in 2003 by Bobby Frankel

Congratulations to Aidan O’Brien and his team as Saxon Warrior wins the Racing Post Trophy to break the world record. 

It began with Churchill in the Guineas in May. Amazing that it’s happened in Europe.

Click here to see how Aidan broke Bobby Frankel’s World Record of 25 G1 wins