Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) & Kentucky Derby (G1)

US Navy Flag on Debut at Naas last year

It’s Wednesday before the first classic of the season on Saturday, the 2000 Guineas. It might be three days away but already the forgotten horse in this field is surely US Navy Flag.

On official ratings he’s 9 lbs clear of his stablemate and current 5/2 race favourite Gustav Klimt and 2 lbs clear of his other stable companion and 5/1 second favourite Saxon Warrior yet the market puts him in as a 20/1 shot.

Granted he was beaten 15L by Gustav Klimt on his seasonal debut in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial three weeks ago but that was on heavy ground and his form of last year would suggest he has a strong chance of bridging that gap on ground that could ride good come Saturday afternoon.

He’s obviously a hardy soul having raced eleven times last year improving throughout the season. He was on the go from early May when he made his debut at Naas through to November at Del Mar where he contested the Juvenile Dirt at the Breeders Cup. He didn’t handle the surface and was well beaten there hence the change in the Ballydoyle plans where Mendelssohn became the choice for the Kentucky Derby.

Go back one run and you’ll find he was a good winner of the Dewhurst over 7f where he got the better of Mendelssohn, now joint favourite for the Kentucky Derby and prior to that he’d shown a serious turn of foot to win the Middle Park over six furlongs, the first G1 he captured.

The question is, is he a sprinter or a miler?

His debut at Naas was over 5f which proved too sharp however up to the Middle Park his runs were all then at 6f.

He’s by War Front out of Misty For Me. She got a mile and then some so you’d say he’s likely to find this mile within his compass and when asked he’d no problem in stepping up to 7f in the Dewhurst.

He has something else going for him, besides being a double G1 winner. His stable companions, who lead the betting here, have not yet encountered Newmarket’s famous dip before. It can unbalance a horse who lacks experience. Gustav Klimt did win the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket but that was over the July course and Saxon Warrior will encounter the course for the first time.

US Navy Flag on the other hand bossed both the Middle Park and Dewhurst grabbing the ground and powering out of the dip on both occasions. With the ground drying out and that crucial course experience it’s likely the 20/1 won’t last, come post time he could be a lot shorter.

A few hours later Mendelssohn will take his chance in the Run For The Roses in Kentucky. His prep run in Dubai on dirt was nothing short of stunning winning by a going away 18L and Aidan O”Brien reports him in rude health now. If he reproduces what he did in Dubai and what what he did in chasing home US Navy Flag last year in the Dewhurst he’ll be very hard to stop.

Recommendations: US Navy Flag 20/1 e/w

                                         Mendelssohn 9/2 e/w

                                           US Navy Flag, Mendelssohn  e/w double




Paddy 100/1 Ain’t Half Good Enough

I bought a really bad product recently.

I made a complaint to the shops website on the advise of the staff in the actual shop and got a courteous e-mail back to tell me my mail had been received and they would be back to me as soon as they could. They pride themselves on customer care so I was happy they would come back to me.

It took a few reminders however they answered.

I had thought what I bought was something really special only to find its performance was 50% less when compared with its market competitors. Disappointing, especially when added to the fact that the company make such a big thing about national loyalty, continuously playing the card in their marketing blurb, online, on telly and in their shops. Come on you boy’s in ….

Yeah, until it costs us you mean. Come on your boys in green.

I bought myself a €6.25 reverse forecast on the Melbourne Cup following the blog I wrote on the race (below this one). Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer to come first and second in either order.

Rekindling & Johannes Vermeer RFC

The 14/1 shot beat the 12/1 shot, Joseph O’Brien the son beats his father Aidan. Willie Mullins fills third. The Irish are the toast of Melbourne. The exacta paid 211/1, happy days. €12.50 turns into €1,325. Boom, as they like to say, in their marketing blurb.

The Scene Of The Crime, Paddy Power, Baggot Street, Dublin

Until I went to collect.

Great news said the settler across the counter, there’s €631.25 coming back on that. That doesn’t make sense I said, it paid 211/1 to a €6.25 stake.

Try calling the retail support office they said, they’ll explain it to you.

Hello I placed a bet and can’t understand the payout. Can you tell me. Yes, I dealt with this earlier said the nice girl in the support office. Our SP was 10/1 on the winner and 9/1 on the second. So I asked is this the maths then, ten multiplied by 6.25, add one to the second place to make it ten and multiply again.

6.25 x 10 = 62.50 x 10 = 625 plus 6.25 back = 631.25.

Can I have your e-mail address I asked.


I placed two cash bet’s in Baggot St for a RFC on the Melbourne Cup. Slips attached.

I was in the shop today I have been told the return will pay 100/1 by your kind staff.

I found that odd and called your retail support team who explained this is based on Paddy Power’s SP of 10/1 for the winner and 9/1 for the second. The return for the bet then being 10×10=100

The SP given generally by the media after such a tremendous result for the Irish was 1st Rekindling returned at 14/1 and 2nd Johannes Vermeer returned at 12/1

If I calculate the return using the formulae as above then the return should be 14×13=182

It’s worth noting the official returns for the exacta were S-Tab 199.10, NSW 211.70 and UBET 188.40.

Other bookmakers are honouring the UBET return of 188.40. See attached William Hill webpage. I note Paddy Power has not published the result of the race on it’s own website. 

William Hill Melbourne Cup Result paying 188.40 for the F/C

Can you please explain why Paddy Power’s is not using the SP as understood by the rest of the public or why the exacta of 188.40 as honoured by other bookmakers is not being paid.


And the reply from Paddy.


My name is …..  and I work as part of the Retail Helpdesk in Paddy Power.

The 14/1 that was advertised by the Racing Post and that some other bookmakers may have paid on was determined by the tote dividend returned by the race track.

As there was no industry SP returned Paddy Power settles these bets out in accordance with our rules, which is on Australian racing we pay out on the last price offered by Paddy Power.

You will find this on the rules poster in any of our shops or on our website under Help Centre.

Your bet has been settled correctly in accordance with our rules and we will not be making any amendments to this.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me or my colleagues at retail_helpdesk_mailbox@paddypower.com.

Thanks for the clarity Paddy.

There we are, as there was no industry SP Paddy could choose their own, stupid me. Paddy wouldn’t put the result up in its shops or on its website. It was a secret. Shush, don’t tell anybody.

Is it Paddy Power policy to manipulate SP’s in order to boost profits beyond this years expectations of €450m? Or did I just not have my lucky pants on?

Paddy’s Green Friday was the gig yesterday. Really Paddy. So was the first Tuesday in November, the day of the race that stops a nation, Paddy’s Black Tuesday? Or was it just that was for me.

Johnny, Paddy Power or Betfair? When your happy with half.

Ruby, Betfair or Paddy Power? Always, when you want less.






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


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.