Tag Archives: Derby

Epsom Derby (G1)

The first Saturday in June brings the ultimate test of the thoroughbred, the Epsom Derby.

This year’s renewal has a field of thirteen, eight from Ireland, seven from Ballydoyle along with Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon, and five from England. The forecast is good and the ground will be good to firm.

Let’s review the recent Derby trials:

The Sandown Classic Trial G3, 26th April

Bangkok 10/1, took the Sandown Classic Trial on good to firm ground. He’s somewhat of a forgotten horse in the market as prior to winning this he’d beaten Telecaster in a maiden who went on to win The Dante. The market has been cold on him, you can back at more than twice the odds of Telecaster. A win for him will be hugely emotional, his owners King Power lost Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in the Leicester helicopter crash last October.

The 2000 Guineas G1, 4th May

Madhmoon 11/1, by Dawn Approach, is the only horse who contested the Guineas to come to the Derby. He was a very taking juvenile, a maiden winner in August, he beat Broome in easy fashion in the Juvenile Stakes in September. His Guineas run at Newmarket where he finished fourth suggested a Derby tilt would be within his compass.

Madhmoon after debuting at Leopardstown last August

The Chester Vase G3, 8th May

Ballydoyle’s Sir Dragonet, a son of 2012 winner Camelot is the 3/1 favourite and will be partnered by Ryan Moore. Proven at the trip, he was unraced as a two-year-old only making his appearance at Cork over a mile and a half in April on yielding to soft ground. He was unfancied, let go off at 14/1, he pissed up. Sent to Chester for the Vase he did it again, this time coming from last to first to beat Norway, his better fancied stable companion in an even more authoritative performance, yet the market let him go off the fifth choice at 13/2. Aidan expressed his surprise as he showed little at home. He was supplemented for this as expected on Monday.

Norway 40/1, by Galileo out of Love Me True is a full brother to 2013 winner Ruler Of The World. He contested a G1 late last year, he went off favourite in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud finishing fourth, a similar path taken by Wings Of Eagles who won this in 2017.


Circus Maximus odds have halved from 20/1 on Wednesday to 10/1, he mixed it with some of the best last year, second to Persian King, fourth to Magna Grecia (only beaten 1L) with Pheonix Of Spain just ahead, he beat Mohawk in the Dee Stakes comfortably here over a 1m2½f, by Galileo out of Duntle, a miler. Will his stamina stretch the extra 1½f?

The Lingfield Derby Trial Listed, 11th May

Anthony Van Dyck, another Galileo has been a drifter in the market all week out to 8/1 from 5/1, this on the back of a Lingfield Derby Trial success where he certainly looked the part. This was a big step up on an active juvenile campaign where in seven runs he never went beyond a mile. The step up in trip definitely suited. No issue with him staying.

Broome returns after winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in May

The Derrinstown Derby Trial G3, 12th May

Broome, second in the market at 9/2, is a son of Australia. He came a more conventional path, five runs as a juvenile and two preps this year where his form picked up considerably on his juvenile career. In April he was a very impressive Balysax winner, in May in the Derrinstown he won again, he did look to labour briefly in the straight before being gathered by Ryan Moore to pull away impressively. Sovereign cut the deficit between himself and Broome from the Ballysax to the Derrinstown, beaten 8L in April it was reduced to 3L come May. Is there further improvement? If so the 100/1 on offer could look silly.

Sovereign on the way out to contest the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown

The Dante Stakes G2, 16th May

Hughie Morrison leads the home defence with Telecaster, a 5/1 shot. He’s certainly bred of it, by a Derby winner New Approach out of an Oaks second Shirocco Star, he was also supplemented having come to prominence by overcoming Too Darn Hot in the Dante. Like Sir Dragonet he only made the racecourse this year, he had the two run’s prior to the Dante, beaten by Bangkok first time out in a maiden then demolishing a field 9L to break his maiden before the Dante.

Japan, a 10/1 shot was talked about with the Derby in mind after winning the Beresford last year where he beat Norway, niggles put him last to trial of the Ballydoyle party in the Dante where the further he went the better he travelled. He finished fourth with Line Of Duty, a G1 winner in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf dropping out tamely finishing second last.

John Gosden runs Humanitarian 50/1, the only one not to trial, he won a novice stakes at Salisbury on the 16th May. It’s a big ask to step up to win a Derby in the space of two weeks.


The trials have been informative, Sir Dragonet, Anthony Van Dyck, Broome and Telecaster were all good winners. It leaves Ballydoyle going in mob-handed, it’s easy to think the team are average, no standout, yet the trials entitle them to send in the troupes.

Sir Dragonet’s homework is incomparable with what he’s done on the track, he keeps his best for the public to see, it’s his inexperience that is a concern going into such a demanding situation as the Derby. The market drift of Anthony Van Dyck also puts one off. Broome and Telecaster appeal, the former for his improvement from two to three, the latter for his high-class defeat of Too Darn Hot, though how good Too Darn Hot is after defeat at the Curragh remains to be seen.

Of all of the trials, the best is the Guineas, fourth at Newmarket says just short of a milers pace, preserving that pace to extend to 12F and the pointer tilts to Epsom. Masar was one place better last year at Newmarket and then went on to win at Epsom. He will have to overcome stamina doubts, connections are bullish he can, should he do so Madhmoon can follow suit.

Madhmoon gets a pat from Chris Hayes after winning the Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown last year

Recommendation: Madhmoon 11/1 ew

Madhmoon, Broome, Sovereign (trifecta)

Follow the 2019 G1 Pattern Racing year in championship format by clicking on the links below.

PRWC 2019 Horse, PRWC 2019 Jockey, PRWC 2019 Trainer, PRWC 2019 Sire, PRWC 2019 Owner, PRWC 2019 Breeder

View last years championships here by clicking on the links below.

PRWC 2018 Horse, PRWC 2018 Jockey, PRWC 2018 Trainer, PRWC 2018 Sire, PRWC 2018 Owner, PRWC 2018 Breeder


The Irish Derby (Group 1)

Mike Dillon Of Ladbrokes studies Little White Cloud leaving the ring for The Derrinstown Stud Stakes

Mike Dillon Of Ladbrokes and Jim McGrath of Channel 4 Racing study Little White Cloud leaving the ring for The Derrinstown Stud Stakes. (Picture by Pattern Racing)                     Did they see an Irish Derby winner?

We’ll have a small but select field for this year’s Irish Derby.

That’s down to the decision in early June when Aidan O’Brien let it be known that Ruler Of The World would be aimed here. It was a great decision for the Curragh and consequently for the race. The clarity provided meant the Epsom Derby winner was there to be marketed by the course, for the public to look forward to and for other trainers to plan to beat him. Everyone a winner then.

At Epsom Ryan Moore had the mount and the race fell nicely into his hands. We all saw how it worked out for Dawn Approach, at the time that’s where our eyes were locked. Out of focus Ryan was gathering Ruler Of The World quietly to come with a withering run from off the pace winding him before letting him go to run cleanly to the line. Ruler Of The World beat Libertarian 1 1/4 L who had a short head to spare over Galileo Rock.

Ballydoyle also run one other in Festive Cheer who was employed as a pacemaker at Epsom where he trailed in tenth. Prior to that he had some smart from in the Prix Hocquart, a Group 2 Derby trial at Lonchamp where he went down a head third to Andre Fabre’s Tableaux.

Karl and Elaine Burke had won the Dante with Libertarian as a 33/1 shot and came close to proving that trial to be once again Epsom’s most reliable guide. Libertarian beat Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather 1 1/4 L at York. Jim then stepped back to a mile for the Irish Guineas and his colt ran a cracker when third to Magician beaten 5 L. The step back up in trip here is bound to suit him and he had a confidence booster last time out at Listed level where he accounted for Lines Of Battle, the UAE Derby winner by 3 L.

The interesting race and possibly most significant one was the one before the Dante where Libertarian ran in the Sandown Classic Trial. He was 8 L behind the horse in third, David Wachman’s Galileo Rock.

We haven’t seen the second or first from that race in April since.

The vanquished was an O’Brien trained colt Eye Of The Storm who was a head behind Patrick Predergast’s Sugar Boy who still won it cosy. The Prendergast colt was building on a run two weeks before in the Ballysax where he was 1 3/4 L behind Battle Of Marengo with Little White Cloud in third beaten 3 L.

The fascination of the race is now the ownership of Libertarian and Sugar Boy.

The former is now owed by Godolphin who not only wrote the cheque to buy the horse but spent another €75,000 on the supplementary fee. Sugar Boy has been purchased by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, a first cousin to Sheik Mohammed. You could interpret this as two deals done to take on Ballydoyle or two deals done to purchase the two best colt’s who have the opportunity to take on Ruler Of The World.

In the interwoven form these two stand out. Sugar Boy improved form the Ballysax to the Sandown Classic Trial. His trainer will believe he’ll improve again. Libertarian improved from Sandown to the Dante and again in the Derby. He wasn’t unlucky at Epsom but again he may continue to improve. Ballydoyle will no doubt believe Ruler Of The World has more to give also. Jim Bolger must have a tinge of regret he didn’t aim Trading Leather at Epsom while John Oxx has given Little White Cloud more time and knows how to win this race also.

It’s all in the mix, the boys in blue versus the Ballydoyle blue, first, second and third from Epsom, Bolger, Oxx and Prendergast. What more could you want. With thankfully good ground on the horizon we have a cracking Irish Derby to saviour.

It could taste sweetest of all for Sugar Boy.

Recommendation : Sugar Boy 9/1 e/w

The Oaks (Group 1)

Favourite’s have a poor record in the Oaks.

Only three have won in the last ten years, Eswaarah, Alexandrova and Sariska. All won at odds around the 5/2 mark. In the last five years, Was and Dancing Rain have gone in at 20/1, Snow Fairy at 9/1 and Look Here at 33/1.

Fillies competing in the Oaks tend to be inexperienced and thus unexposed, truth is we don’t know how good they are until after the winning post.

This years favourite is Secret Gesture an impressive winner of the Lingfield Oaks Trial where she easily picked off the opposition to win by 10 L from Miss You Two, who takes her on again. The latter’s connections will likely change tactics having failed to hold up last time she will most likely be allowed bowl along.

Secret Gesture will race in the Qatar Racing colours who this week acquired a half share in the Ralph Beckett trained filly. They’ll be hoping for a classic double following their success at the Curragh last Sunday with Just The Judge.

The latter’s form via the English Guineas is put to the test here with Moth and Roz coming from the Newmarket race to contest here. Moth ran third 2 L behind Sky Lantern and 1 1/2 L behind Just The Judge and on breeding is set to be more suited to the 12 f . Prior to that she was an easy winner of a Curragh maiden in April having failed to win at the same level in two attempts as a juvenile. Roz never got in a blow at Newmarket finishing tenth though she has proved herself a good filly already with a second in last year’s Fillies Mile and she will also appreciate the step up in trip.

The other won tight in the market is the Sir Michael Stoute trained Liber Nauticus. She won the Musidora at York on only her second run in unconvincing style. It was a muddling race and her price is short enough considering what she’s achieved and what she’ll have to cope with at Epsom.

The first two in the Cheshire Oaks renew rivalry. Banoffee had a 1 1/4 L to spare over Gertrude Verse at Chester. Hughie Morrison trainer of the winner said at the time he’d left plenty to work on.

The Newmarket Pretty Polly winner Talent  is the second string from the Ralph Beckett yard. She won on good to firm which is a plus beating Madame Defarge in the process while the Ballydoyle second string Say won a Cork maiden by 9 L on soft. What she beat was not a lot but it was still a wide margin victory.

On balance the reliability of Moth’s Guineas run puts her slightly ahead of Secret Gesture’s Lingfield run however neither are value and a chance is taken with Roz as an each way prospect.

She’s one of the more experienced fillies in the race who twice before has surprised at big prices winning at 40/1 and 28/1, the latter on G/F. She only found Certify too good at Ascot last year in the Fillies Mile and is therefore the only one proven at Group 1 level as a juvenile.

Recommendation : Roz 50/1 e w

The Killavullan Stakes (Group 3)

A last chance to shake up the 2000 Guineas and Derby markets of 2012 before winter sets in comes courtesy of the feature race on Leopardstown’s last flat card.

This race has previously been won by Grey Swallow in 2003 and Footstepsinthesand in 2004 who both went on to record classic successes the following year. The former added the Irish Derby while the latter’s only subsequent run was to win the Newmarket Guineas.

Six line out with the inexperienced being the ones to concentrate on.

Nephrite was an easy winner of a Curragh maiden on good to soft ground. A son of Pivotal, he will surely like the rain softened ground after the deluge which hit Dublin last Monday and he is a real possibility for both the Guineas and the Derby. A good run will push him to prominence in the betting for both. Aidan O’Brien will be well aware the opposition always planned to run their one in this so it is most interesting that he has decided to put it up to them.

And what of the opposition?

The brother as he will become known did it well in a listed contest also at the Curragh when getting the better of Pearl In The Sand, naturally a daughter of Footstepsinthesand. That form reads very well now considering she was second to Crusade, winner of the Middle Park on Future Champions Day on her previous run.

Sea The Stars started in maiden company and the fact that John Oxx started off the brother in a listed race is significant. He knew he would be up to it and up to it he was even though he ran green. He showed a serious turn of foot when pulled out by Johnny Murtagh to easily pull clear in the last furlong. The ground may be a slight concern here but he will most likely have the ability to handle it.

There is a line of form to both horses through Lanette Lady who ran in the listed race when beaten 5 1/4 L and was then beaten 6 3/4 L by Nephrite next time out. This would give the advantage to the Ballydoyle inmate, however that reading would be strictly on the book. It’s value here will be to tell us these are both serious colts.

Mare and Foal at The Irish National Stud- Pattern Racing

Mare and Foal at The Irish National Stud - Is this the future?

Today we should remember a very special mare. We should say a very large and special thank you to her. Urban Sea. An Arc winner herself, she gave us Galileo and if that wasn’t enough she then gave us Sea The Stars. Her last act on earth was to give us one more precious one. Owned by the Tsui family as was his mother and brother this colt by Invincible Spirit was born in the Irish National Stud on the 2nd March 2009. She died a day later. Her already wonderful legacy lives on through her two sons. A third is about to add to that, Born To Sea.


Get excited about Born To See but before you get too excited read the post on the Beresford Stakes. Then get excited about both of them.