Tag Archives: Arlington Million

The Arlington Million (G1)

Chicago could turn green tonight. All four graded races have Irish runners from their top two flat and national hunt yards.

In the American St Leger Clondaw Warrior makes the trip from the Willie Mullins yard. He’s in great form this year and comes here off the back of a Galway Hurdle win and a good third prior to that on the flat in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. He’s likes fast ground however he’ll not have encountered anything quite as firm as this before.

In The Beverley D Aidan relies on Ballydoyle and Coolmore who both ran in the Belmont Oaks last time out.

Ballydoyle went off favourite but didn’t run to expectations. Colm O’Donoghue eased her down having felt she slipped on the bends and she never got in a blow at the business end. She trailed in an eased down last. Coolmore on the other hand out ran her expectations staying on for third having taken on the winner, Catch A Glimpse, down the far side and into the back straight only tiring in the last furlong.

In the Secretariat Aidan O’Brien sends Long Island Sound who like Deauville contested the Belmont Derby last time out. This time he splits them with Deauville going for the Million.

Long Island Sound ran sixth at Belmont but was certainly unlucky not to have fought out the finish. Colm Donoghue pulled him out two furlongs out only to have his run checked by the eventual second Highland Sky who was never catching Deauville who had a trouble-free run winning handily under Jamie Spencer.

Aidan spoke to Gary O’Brien on At The Races about his teams prospects reporting them all in good form. On the fillies he thinks Ballydoyle is a little bit sharper than Coolmore who gets the mile and a quarter well and he is hopeful Ballydoyle will also see the distance out. Long Island Sound is progressing with every run and he is not overly concerned about the wide draw Deauville has in the Million pointing out he overcame a similar draw at Belmont and feels he can rely on his tactical speed.

As regards prices it’s worth comparing the local morning line prices with the bookmakers. Clondaw Warrior is 9/2 locally on the morning line prices, over twice the price available from bookmakers. Long island Sound is 5/2, Ballydoyle is 9/2, Coolmore 6/1 and Deauville is also 6/1. All considerably bigger than bookmakers are offering.


The American St Leger Clondaw Warrior win (PMU Price)

The Secretariat Stakes Long Island Sound 5/2 

The Beverly D Stakes Ballydoyle win with Coolmore in the RFC. (PMU Prices)

The Arlington Million Deauville win (PMU Price)


Arlington Million Day

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Great chance of Irish success in Chicago as Ballydoyle throw three good horses at the Arlington’s big annual meeting.

First up in the Listed American St Leger is Eye Of The Storm. He’s a winner over the 16f trip already when beating Missunited (since a winner of the Lillie Langtry and 3rd in the Ascot Gold Cup) last year at the Curragh and comes here after a nice confidence booster when beating Roheryn in the Ballyroan (G3) last time out at Leopardstown.

Opposition seems light with last years winner Dandino not firing in the Hardwick Stakes or the Princess Of Wales Stakes this year. Suntracer second last year went down to The Pizza Man in the prep for this, The Stars and Stripes  and the latter may prove best of the home team.

Adelaide goes in the first of three G1’s on the card, the Secretariat. He was a shade unlucky last time in the Belmont Derby when going down a neck to Mr Speaker, another few strides would have seen him get up so he’s a deserving favourite. Aidan employs a pacemaker this time in the shape of Belisarius. Gailo Chop put the form in good light at Deauville today (4th at Belmont) in the G2 Prix Guillaume D’Ornano.

Looking at the Beverly D Kiyoshi didn’t uphold the form in Deauville , second to Euro Charline in the Woodcote recently at Ascot she didn’t fire in the G3 Prix De Lieurey today. This may open it for an ex Tipperary filly in the shape of Tannery (formely with David Wachman) winner of last years Ep Taylor (G1) at Woodbine now in the care of Alan Goldberg.

Magician is the Ballydoyle representative in the Million. He’ll be back on Laxis for the first time since The Breeder’s Cup Turf win of last year. He couldn’t cope with the soft ground at Ascot in the King George and that run is best forgotten. Previously at the Royal meeting he lost out to the Fugue (whom he collared at Santa Anita) with Treve a length behind. Fast ground is the key to him now. Real Solution the Manhattan winner is best of the home team.

Recommendations :

American St Leger : Eye Of The Storm

Beverley D : Tannery  

Secretariat Stakes : Adelaide 

Arlington Million : Magician  

AL Maktoum Challenge R 3 (Group 1)

Super Saturday has arrived and with it comes a pair of Group 1’s. We’ll concentrate on the third round of the challenge which sees the return of last years World Cup winner Monterosso. Since winning last years crown he has only seen the racecourse once when going down eighth of nine beaten 33 L in the Eclipse.  Will he need the run today to sharpen him up for the big one in three weeks time?

Opposing him is the Saeed Bin Surror pair Hunter’s Light and Prince Bishop. Hunter’s Light showed himself in good health in Round 2 of the challenge when easily accounting for Surfer by 3 1/2 L building on the form that saw him become an Italian Group 1 last November. In third another 1/4 L behind was Prince Bishop (also third in this last year) who was having his first run since last years World Cup.

Godolphin also run Kassiano and Mendip. For Kassiano a three time winner at the Carnival already this is a big step up in class however he is progressive. Mendip won Round 2 of the Challenge last year and his run in this years Round 2 was his first since last years World Cup run.

Mike De Kock runs the two ex Aidan O’Brien colts Daddy Long Legs and Treasure Beach. Daddy Long Legs showed his liking for the Tapeta surface winning the UAE Derby last year but his form has since long petered out. A similar comment can be added to Treasure Beach, second at Epsom in the 2011 Derby and winner of the Irish equivalent at the Curragh. There was a glimmer of hope in the Joe Hirsh Classic at Belmont last year when second to Point Of Entry but in the Breeders Cup Turf he failed to maintain the form running down the field.

Little Mike the winner of the Breeders Cup Turf makes his debut on Tapeta. He’s been very successfully campaigned on turf in his native USA being a triple Group 1 winner. The Arlington Million and Woodford Reserve being the other two. Will he cope the surface and transfer that turf form?

Japan’s Trailblazer reopposes having run fourth to Little Mike at Santa Anita. He then finished down the field in the Arima Kinen back home.

The heat rises through the day at Meyden and the track riding slick in the morning can turn sticky by night. Some horses cope well with it, others don’t. If Little Mike is in the latter bracket then his class will win out over the locals.

Recommendation : Little Mike 5/1 win

King Geroge VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Betfair) (Group 1)

One of the best races of the season is upon us. It has painted a rich trapestry of quality winners but also is capable of surprises. This year it’s attracted a small but select field.

Our understanding of this years, last years and the previous years generation will be defined by this event. The context of Rewilding’s victory over So You Think and the latter’s subsequent victory in the Eclipse. The brilliance of the St Nicholas Abbeys stunning two year old Racing Post Trophy victory and subsequent fall from grace. The class of Workforce’s Derby and Arc wins will all be measured here come 4.30 on Saturday. Throw in an Arlington Million winner in Debussy at an unconsidered 100/1 and we get some sense of how good a race this will be.

Nathaniel represents this years three-year old crop. On his first time on a racecourse he met Frankel, also making his debut, and only failed a 1/2 L. He was denied in the Chester Vase by subsequent Derby second and Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach by a head. He is already an Ascot winner over this distance having given a very good impression in the King Edward VII Stakes at The Royal meeting. The decision to pitch him in here rather than a campaign targeted towards the Ledger is brave and you can only conclude he must be showing a serious level of ability to his trainer John Gosden.

Debussy was in the care of the same man until last year and is a horse who has yet to demonstrate his class over a mile and a half. At 10 f he was a quality winner of the Million benefiting from 18 mm of rain on the track the night before. He came from off the pace demonstrating a great turn of foot to beat the American turf champion Gio Ponti. There was no fluke in that performance so don’t underestimate him. Last in the Prince Of Wales doesn’t read good but whacking the rail when in contention should be taken into account.

Rewilding is Godolphin’s main threat. A winner of the Shemma Classic, he put it up to So You Think in the Prince Of Wales coming out on top. Aidan O’Brien took the blame for the defeat and the form took the boosting it deserved in the Eclipse. It stands up.

So the big two. The market favoured St Nick at first but then swung dramatically towards Workforce. A piece of work last Sunday morning left watchers in awe and the market reacted. We already knew how good he was through last year performances but there is a niggle, he failed to fire in this race last year. It’s easy to forget that after Harbinger blew us all away but we must remember it’s the only time he has raced at Ascot.

And so to the king in waiting, St Nicholas Abbey. His three-year old career was a debacle which his trainer took full responsibility for. A fat horse in April did little to inspire confidence, come May and June we were beginning to believe again. At Chester he grabbed the ground relishing every step in a 9 L defeat of Allied Powers following up in Coronation Cup at Epsom over the this distance. The win over Midday was battling but a question mark exists over her subsequent defeat in the Pretty Polly.

So how will the race go?

The ground will be soft side of good with a possible further 4 mm of rain to come. We can rely on Debussy to set it. He will wind it up even and quickening. With the juice in the ground he’ll stay on the rail while those in search of a better surface will go under the trees on the far side. There will be a dismissal of the pacemaker by those on the far side and they will expect to easily pick him up rounding Swinley Bottom. As they regroup there will be plenty of horse in behind with all of them travelling. Every jockey will be confident knowing there mount will have the stamina to see it out. Debussy will either die or stretch with two furlongs to go. If he dies expect Ryan Moore will drive with Frankie in behind trying to get there. William Buick will be stretching and improving while the young pretender will have to demonstrate the ultimate coolness to hold his challenge till last. It could be young Joseph O’Brien might just be a chip off the old block when it comes to coolness and by playing late he could get there.

Then again, Debussy might not die. He’s a stone better on this ground and the others won’t like it like he does. Granted a stone may not be enough against these colts. The trip to the far side under the trees may well have been the play early doors but in the last furlong the concession of that ground could be crucial.

In the lung bursting last 100 yards….Debussy on juicy ground may just do, as in 1997, a Swain and produce another albeit much bigger surprise.