Category Archives: PRWC 2018

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 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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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

The Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1)

Eziyra returns after winning the Ballyraon Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks ago

This Yorkshire Oaks is another cracker to look forward to.

The Three Year Olds

James Doyle rides the favourite Sea Of Class. Willie Haggas her trainer had skipped Epsom with her giving her that bit more time to develop and that decision was vindicated by her performance in beating the Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together at the Curragh in the Irish Oaks.

Her pilot gave her a very cool ride. He waited out the back producing her two furlongs out asking her to stretch. She won by a neck but it was never in doubt as she was always reeling them in. She’s a short price though at 11/8.

Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand renews rivalry as does Bye Bye Baby having finished fifth and forth at the Curragh. Magic Wand went off the odds on favourite but she didn’t fire as she did in her victory at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale. There she beat Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, since a winner of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood where she beat another Willie Haggas filly Urban Fox. That’s a high class form line also given Urdan Fox had beaten Forever Together in the The Pretty Polly Stakes. Magic Wand isn’t done with yet and let’s not forget Bye Bye Baby was third at Epsom. It’s likely Flattering will set the fractions for her stablemates. 

Laurens returns to England having taken two Group 1’s in France. The Prix Saint-Alary came first where she beat With You, since a winner of the Prix De Rothschild and she then took the Prix Diane, the French Oaks at Chantilly in June. Very good form indeed.

The Four Year Olds

Coronet was third in this last year having finished fifth before that in the Irish Oaks, both times behind Enable. She’s yet to score at Group 1 level but her first outing this year she took the G2 Middleton Stakes here in May beating Horseplay. She was then only denied a nose by Waldgeist in France in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud. She now pitches in against her own sex having finished third in the King George last time out.

Horseplay advanced her cause following up her Middleton second with a win in the Lancashire Oaks.

Eziyra is a most interesting runner. She put in a very eye catching performance in the Irish Oaks when third behind Enable (in front of Coronet). That was followed up with two G 3 wins before season’s end. Her trainer Dermot Weld reintroduced her two weeks ago in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. She was given a hands and heels ride by jockey Declan McDonagh and she won as she liked.

The form of the three-year old’s is very good and none of the older fillies have scored at G1 level yet, on top of that the older fillies have got to give weight to the three-year olds. This will be a tough task as the favourite has plenty of potential to improve while Magic Wand can bounce back too but as the season goes on the concern grows about the Ballydoyle team.

It’s Eziyra who stands out at the price. Her three win’s on the bounce were in preparation for this and her last run says she ready. Dermot Weld her trainer is a master at bringing them on and his patience will likely be rewarded here.

Recommendation: Eziyra 10/1 ew