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Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (G 1)

Alpha Centauri after winning the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas

It looks a one horse race, when Alpha Centauri heard her feet rattle she showed herself to be a cut above the rest. She blasted the field at the Curragh in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas beating the Ballydoyle inmates Could It Be Love and Happily. She repeated the feat in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot where she was even more impressive giving Mark Johnston’s Treading a 6 L trouncing.

The only issue you could crap about is the depth of the form. The two beaten at the Curragh, Could It Be Love and Happily, have both been beaten since. Could It Be Love ran third in the Jersey at Royal Ascot and was then second in the Browntown Stakes to Xenobia at Fairyhouse the other night.  That an interesting piece of form as it ties in one of the older mares here, Mick Channon’s Opal Tiara. She went to Ireland last time where she sprang a surprise beating another Ballydoyle inmate Hydrangea at G2 level in the Landwades Stud Stakes with Xenobia 12 L back in fifth.

Clemmie was European Champion two year old filly last year and at the beginning of the season she was, you would have thought, numero uno filly at Ballydoyle. She had a setback that meant she missed Newmarket’s Guineas however she did start at the Curragh and at Ascot where she was well beaten both times by Alpha Centauri.

On the plus side she needed her first two run’s last season also before we saw the real Clemmie. She finished her juvenile career with a cracking win in the Cheveley Park but again if your crabby, the form is now questionable as she beat Different League, since purchased by Coolmore, who hasn’t managed a win in five runs this year.

Mark Johnston’s second runner Nyaleti adds some spice having won the German 1000 Guineas last time out and it’s worth noting she was also only beaten a 1/2 L by Laurens in last year’s May Hill at Doncaster, good form now.

Arabian Hope, third in this last year and Altyn Orda complete the field. The latter ran fifth at Newmarket in the Guineas but couldn’t build on that last time out in France in the Prix de Sandringham.

Alpha Centauri is an unbackable price for most trading at 1/3 on however there might still be an opportunity in the place and each way markets for a small interest. Unfortunately there are only seven runners which restricts the play to first and second.

Opal Tiara is having her last racecourse run, she is in foal to Churchill, something that might just tilt the age weight concession here for her. Xenobia’s win last Sunday puts her in the mix and she’s already taken a big scalp in Ireland when beating a double G1 winner in Hydrangea.

She could depart West Issley leaving a big smile on Mick Channon’s face.

Recommendation: Opal Tiara  40/1 ew

 

 

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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 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

 

 

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.