Tag Archives: Aidan O’Brien

The Cox Plate (G1)

Rostropovich after his last win at Leopardstown over Irish Champions Weekend

Aidan O’Brien has sent Rostropovich to be his runner in the Cox Plate. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the European form versus the Australian equivalent and the concentration of the argument has centered around Godolphin’s Benbatl winner of the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago and his chance of beating Winx denying her a fourth win in this race, the Arc of down under.

Rostropovich’s whose best form came at the Curragh in the Irish Derby in June where he put in a battling performance to finish second to Latrobe, a place in front of Saxon Warrior has largely been ignored.

After the Curragh he went to Ascot for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, England’s premier middle contest. Seamie Heffernan rode him positively bringing him to the front early making it a true run gallop, in the straight he began to thread water staying on eventually to finish fifth. 

He was given a break until September and brought back for a much easier encounter at G3 level where he beat his stable companion Giuseppe Garibaldi, all three trips over a mile and half.

It’s interesting that he’s brought back in trip here to ten furlongs, a trip he last won over in May when he took the Dee Stakes at Chester on a track not too dissimilar to Moonee Valley. That win brought a trip to Paris for the French Derby where he failed to land a blow behind Study Of Man hence the step up in trip.

Can he become the most unpopular horse ever to visit Australia? 

Well he has a chance, a son of Frankel means it’s in his blood and his best form, finishing in front of Saxon Warrior means he’s not far away from being up there with Roaring Loin given the Irish Champion Stakes run of Saxon Warrior, albeit on his best day. 

Winx has nothing to prove, she will be trying to win her seventh G1 of the year after a long campaign. She likes to come from off the pace, from way off the pace actually and Hugh Bowman her rider always exudes the utmost of supreme confidence giving her the opportunity to find her stride before she unleashes her turn of foot. It’s always been enough. 

Winx is the current Pattern Racing World Championship having won six G1’s last year. Since the beginning of the championships in 2013 no horse has ever won seven. It will be wonderful to watch her do it and have Australia celebrate but with Ryan Moore likely to let Rostropovich take it on, there’s a chance, an outside one, that her speed may just be tested, just once to often this season.

Recommendation: Rostropovich 33/1 ew

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 251 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

PRWC 2018 HorsePRWC 2018 JockeyPRWC 2018 TrainerPRWC 2018 SirePRWC 2018 OwnerPRWC 2018 Breeder

 

 

 

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The Everest

US Navy Flag saddles in the ring on debut at Naas

Aidan O’Brien has sent US Navy Flag down under to take on the best of the Australians in the second running of the The Everest at Randwick, Sydney.

It’s not a pattern race but it is now the world’s richest turf race and is run over the sprint distance of six furlongs. The race, run similarly to the Pegasus World Cup in Florida is a restricted race with owners buying slot’s for $600,000 each hence the big pot.

US Navy Flag leaving the ring.

From his debut in May last year US Navy Flag improved and improved throughout the season. He took his racing well and by November he’d run eleven times and by the end of it he’d captured two G1’s, the Middle Park over six furlongs and the Dewhurst over seven furlongs. In both he’d displayed a liking to boss, being up in the van and leading from the front. 

This year he was campaigned to get a mile early season contesting the French and Irish Guineas where he was fifth and second respectively. In Paris he stumbled badly when out in front on an uneven Lonchamp surface which cost him his chance. He was tried again in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before the decision was made to let him use his speed over the shorter trip of the July Cup.

At Newmarket he burst from the gate and adopted up his usual tactic of leading from the front. Unlike at the Curragh over the mile when his stamina ran out, Romanised got the better of him there, here he was able to use his speed over the shorter trip and he’d no difficulty in knocking out all comers.

Ryan Moore racks up the air miles to ride him and the trip may very well be rewarded. He’s a quality horse, a Middle Park winner, a Dewhurst winner and a July Cup winner, he’ll certainly bring a top level of form with him.

He did travel to America for the Breeders Cup last year and was well beaten which might be a cause for concern however that was on Dirt, on Turf different matter.

The home team no doubt will have something to say and of them the one that stands out the most is Santa Ana Lane, the winner of the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben in June.

US Navy Flag is a bigger, stronger athlete than he was when we took those picture’s only fifteen months ago and now he’s a formidable force. His run style is deceptive, he looks as if he’s doing nothing which hides the fact he’s going so quick. They’ll break smart from the gate which if anything will suit him, he doesn’t need to be in front, what he needs is a strong pace to use his speed and this is nearly guaranteed. 

It gives him every chance.

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

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

Recommendation: US Navy Flag 10/1 ew

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.

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