Tag Archives: Epsom Derby

The Derby (Group 1)

The Pentagon on his way out to win the Tyros Stakes last July

A field of twelve go to post for this years Derby headed by Saxon Warrior a drifter in the market due to his inside draw in stall one and the soft ground after heavy thunderstorms have taken their toll through the week.

There are no holes in Saxon Warrior.

His four runs have yielded four wins, all authoritative performances. Last August he came from the rear in his maiden to win in a matter of strides annihilating the opposition on yielding ground. In September he stepped up in class and easily won the Beresford Stakes from Delano Rossevelt on soft ground. In October he had his toughest test in the Racing Post Trophy where he won a neck from a battling Roaring Loin on good to soft ground. It was a proper test Roaring Loin headed him in the last furlong but Saxon Warrior just put the head down drawing away at the line. Game over.

On return at Newmarket after a winter where he strengthened up he was a very easy winner of the 2000 Guineas on good ground with Masar back in third and Roaring Loin back in fifth. Donnacha O’Brien got the ride with Ryan Moore in America and although he got a little excited lighting the touch-paper a tad too soon he was sitting on a beast that soon took off and again in a matter of strides it was all over. The fact that he could win so easily over a mile was telling. He’s bred for middle distances.

Aidan won’t rely solely on him and he’s accompanied by Kew Gardens, Delano Rossevelt, The Pentagon and Zabriskie.

Zabriskie put in a much improved performance behind Roaring Lion in The Dante albeit to run well for third. There was no coping with the winner who put in a very classy display. He certainly advertised the form of the Guineas very well.

Masar put in an exciting performance in the Craven in April winning it by 9L which led him to go off favourite for the 2000 Guineas. He ran a good race to be third behind Saxon Warrior beaten a head for second by Tip To Win. His form has received a significant boost at the Curragh on Saturday when Romanised won the Irish 2ooo Guineas as he had that colt 2L behind at Sandown in the Solario Stakes last September. He then went to France where he was beaten by Happily and Olmedo in the Jean-Luc Lagardere. That form also stands up with Happily running third in the Irish 1000 Guineas on Sunday and Olmedo winning the French 2000 Guineas a couple of weeks earlier.

Young Rascal was a comfortable winner of a maiden at Newbury in April and then went on to take the Chester Vase by a 1/2L from Dee Ex Bee with Aidan O’Brien’s favourite Hunting Horn back in third. The latter didn’t get a seat on the bus to Epsom.

Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold has a similar profile having won a maiden last October he came back this year to win the Lingfield Derby Trial where he beat the favourite, Aidan O’Brien’s Kew Gardens, who did get a seat on the bus.

Sevenna Star from the John Gosden yard won a Winsor Novice Stakes by 14L on heavy ground in April and then took the Sandown Classic Trial beating Ispolini and Hunting Horn yet Frankie Dettori has abandoned him in favour of Dermot Weld’s Hazapour.

Hazapour going out of the ring at Leopardstown to win the Derrinstown Derby Trial

He has largely come out of the pack after his win in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial where he beat Delano Rossevelt and The Pentagon in a bunch finish. The Pentagon went off favourite and was slightly disappointing. He couldn’t quicken from a good position whereas Delano Rossevelt found the pace a bit hot early on but he did quicken and stretch however Hazapour had got first run and got there. Over an extra two furlongs you could see the result reversed.

Delano Rossevelt leaving the ring at Leopardtown for The Derrinstown Derby Trial

The Guineas is the best trial for the Derby. Saxon Warrior was a really good winner of it. He’s bred for this though, by Deep Impact out of a Galileo mare, Maybe, who was trained at Ballydoyle, he reminds you of Sea The Stars who did the double in 2009. He was a real middle distance horse yet capable of winning over a mile at the highest level. Sea The Stars went on to do even greater things after Epsom and you can see Saxon Warrior doing the same.

Delano Rossevelt could follow him home with Masar best of the rest.

Recommendation: 1. Saxon Warrior 1/1 win  

                                        2. Delano Rossevelt 16/1 ew

                                       3. Masar 20/1 ew



The Derby (G1)

What’s sets the Derby apart and makes it such an appealing race is what it demands of a young three-year old.

The first requirement is to handle the preliminaries. The noise and build up affects animals more than it does the humans. It’s easy to boil over especially on a hot day. Then they have to go out on the course. Epsom is a horseshoe-shaped track with Tattenham Corner being the final bend 4 1/2 f from home. It’s a steep downhill track with an uphill finish with a pronounced camber which drags them into the rail. Tough. It finds them out, those how don’t stay run out of petrol before the line comes. Add ground, which by post time, will still include the word soft in places.

16 line up this year in an open year with no colt having stamped his authority over the trials.

Wing Of Desire leads the market on the back of his Dante win where he beat Deauville a neck. It’s the same path worn by his trainer and jockey who last year combined with Golden Horn to lift the blue riband.  He did it well always holding the challenge of Deauville. Like Jack Hobbs his maiden was won on the all weather at Wolverhampton 10 days after his racecourse debut where he ran third to Winning Story. He’s one of four to be supplemented.

Ballydoyle throw 5 at the target. The ante post favourite for the the last few months has been US Army Ranger. He’s been the Ballydoyle talking horse this spring. He won his maiden readily in April and then went to Chester for the Vase. Disappointment filled the air after his victory when in receipt of weight he just got home a short head from stablemate Port Douglas. People forget that as a juvenile Port Douglas won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last year hence the penalty he carried into the Vase.

Godolphin have supplemented Cloth Of Stars. Andre Farbe’s Prix Greffulhe winner beat Robin Of Navan (whom had beaten him twice as a juvenile) comfortably on good ground at Saint Cloud. He then like Pour Mio came to Epsom for breakfast with the stars where connections expressed their enthusiasm in a similar manner to 2011.

Godolphin’s other representative is Jim Bolger’s Derrinstown Derby Trial winner Moonlight Magic who had a convincing win over Shogun, Idaho and Beacon Rock. The form got a subsequent boost when the latter took Gallinule over Irish Guineas weekend.

The Ed Dunlop inmate Red Verdon has put in two good performances in handicap company over this 12f trip, enough to tempt his owners to stumped up the £75,000 supplementary fee. Humphrey Bogart owners also took the plunge encouraged by their colts second to So Mi Dar in the Epsom Derby Trial followed up by winning the Lingfield version.

Massaat brings the Newmarket Guineas form to the party. Owen Burrows colt ran second to Galileo Gold in a quick run Guineas and is very tempting at 16/1.

Dermot Weld has put Harzand away since he took the Ballysax in early April where he got the better of Idaho by a 1 1/4L . The pair went well clear of the third and visually it looked a very good trial. Harzand had won his maiden a few weeks before at Cork by 16 L’s and both runs were on heavy ground so there’s every possibility both will relish the surface here today. The ground today may just slightly favour Idaho.

In an open year we’ll rely on the Ballsax as the best trial and back both Harzand and Idaho each way.

Recommendation: Harzand 10/1 ew.

                                   Idaho 16/1 ew

The Derby (Group 1)

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A big shock in the Oaks yesterday. Could the same happen in the Derby?

It’s got every chance with doubts about the one’s at the top of the market ability to stay.

What’s sets the Derby (and Oaks) apart and makes it such an appealing race is what it demands of a young three-year old.

The first requirement is to handle the preliminaries. The noise and build up affects animals more than it does the humans. It’s easy to boil over especially on a hot day. Then they have to go out on the course. Epsom is a horseshoe-shaped track with Tattenham Corner being the final bend 4 1/2 f from home. It’s a steep downhill track with an uphill finish with a pronounced camber which drags them into the rail. Tough. It finds them out, those how don’t stay, (like the favourite in the Oaks yesterday) they can run out of petrol before the line comes.

The favourite Golden Horn will have to be exceptional on breeding to handle that. His owner was convinced he was a 10 f horse yet the temptation the Derby offers means he has to put hope over logic. Who can blame him. After all he looked to have something left at the end of the Dante but then York is a flat track with a long wind up straight. Very different to Epsom. His stablemate Jack Hobbs looks to have flattered in winning a handicap by 12 L and while he may stay Godolphin’s purchase of him was done with a long eye into the future.

The dismissal of Giovanni Canaletto in the public mind before the Gallinule has reversed 360 degrees. He’s now the Ballydoyle hotpot having put holes in bookmaker prices all week down from 20/1 to 7/1 this morning. It been far from a smooth passage for Ballydoyle this year to the Derby and yet they come here with three live chances. Giovanni Canaletto looked every inch a stayer at Leopardstown and he’ll benefit and come on for that run.

Hans Holbein proved himself over the distance in the Chester Vase beating Storm The Stars who franked the form in the The Cocked Hat at Goodwood. Likewise Kilimanjaro did it in the Lingfield Derby Trial over 11.5 f.

Elm Park has the best two-year old form as a Derby pointer having won the Racing Post as a juvenile and the trip gives him every chance of reversing Dante form over Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs. It’s also worth noting he won the Royal Lodge on G/F last year and he has a pacemaker in Rouge Runner.

Moheet was a spring fancy for the Guineas but he didn’t have the pace to cope over a mile. He’s by High Chaparral so this will be his trip and he’s very tempting at such a big price.

Epicuris the French colt trained by Criquette Head looks to be full of stamina given he won the Criterium De Saint-Cloud over a mile and two as a juvenile last November on heavy ground. His target was the Prix du Jockey Club last Sunday but he was rerouted here after refusing to load in the Greffuhle last time out. That’s a worry.

Success Days would be favourite if he was under the care of Aidan O’Brien instead of Ken Condon (who). He’s won the Ballsax and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trail on soft ground. The cribbers will knock the form saying he didn’t beat much in the Derrinstown but he did it as easy as you like with 10 L to spare. In the Ballysax he had John F Kennedy toiling a long way out. They’ll also say he won’t handle the ground yet his action doesn’t suggest he’s a soft ground specialist. Ken Condon isn’t a familiar face to the public but he will be after today.

He’s the choice at a tasty 16/1 with a few bob on Moheet at 40/1.

Recommendation: Success Days 16 e/w.

                                        Moheet 40/1 e/w





The Epsom Derby (Group 1)

Australia leaving the paddock prior to winning the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes At Leopardstown

Australia leaving the paddock prior to winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes At Leopardstown

Opposition to Australia looks thin on the ground or so the market would have us believe.

A 7/4 shot this morning the price reflects the fear the ground will come up soft by race time rather than the depth of the opposition. Should the rain not come there will only be contraction in the favourite’s price.

If ever there was a horse bred with a race in mind it has to be Australia for the Derby. By the 2001 winner Galileo out of the 2004 Oaks winner Quija Board his race record reads two from four.

He was slowly away first time out running on to be second. He took his maiden three weeks later and then closed his juvenile career with a 6 L victory over Free Eagle in September in the best two year old race run last year rightly replacing Free Eagle as Derby favourite on the back of the display.

Touted and talked about as something special he returned in the Guineas winning the battle on the near side but going down to Night Of Thunder and Kingman on the far side. A messy race was none the less satisfactory as a prep for the Derby.

We have since learnt the he did four furlongs of 11 seconds a furlong, one after another as a two year old. Exceptional. Aidan O’Brien is criticised in some sections for talking up his horses which is very unfair.

He always gives us context.

In the case of Australia he compares him to Camelot his previous best Derby horse and says he’s a step up on him.

Camelot beat eight colts in the 2012 Derby. Only one of those animals, Thought Worthy, ever won a race again when he won that years Great Volitgeur. Camelot followed up at the Curragh in dreadful ground where he beat four home and only one of those ever won again, Akeed Mofeed who won the Hong Kong Derby and Hong Kong Cup. After that Camelot was beaten in the his bid for a triple crown by Encke when under the care of Mahmood Al Zaronni, he then failed in the Arc and after a bout of colic his four year old career didn’t fire when beaten twice by Al Kazeem in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

Context, Camelot’s classic year was not vintage and he was not the horse at four that he was in his early three year old career.

Australia is a better horse than Camelot at this stage according to Aidan and he’ll need to be to win this year’s renewal. The class of 2014 look superior to their 2012 counterparts.

The principle challenge may come from home. Stablemates Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher and Orchestra all line up on merit.

Geoffrey Chaucer won the Beresford as a two year old and was third to Fascinating Rock and Ebanoran in the Derrinstown Derby Trial. Fascinating Rock won in it in the stewards room on the disqualification of Ebanoran for interference. Another messy race yet it looked quality. Rumour has it (denied by Aidan) Geoffrey Chaucer subsequently beat Australia in a piece of work on the gallops which is why the money has come for him in recent weeks.

Dermot Weld will have been well pleased with the run of Tarfasha in the Oaks which can only encourage one on the chances of Fascinating Rock. You can take it that John Oxx won’t be going to Epsom for a day out either. Three runners in the the Derby before, two winners Sinndar, Sea The Stars and a third with Alamshar.

Orchestra got home a nose from Romsdal in the Chester Vase won last year by Ruler Of The World. He travelled beautifully and really caught the eye only tiring inside the last 100 yards. Kingfisher was also impressive in the Dee Stakes the next day.

The Dante form reads well for Peter Chapple-Hyam after The Grey Gatsby’s win in the French Derby. Arod was a 3/4 L second and will surely relish the step up in trip. Saeed Bin Suroor will also be encouraged that True Story’s season is not over. He was odds on when beaten into third. The rejuvenated Kieren Fallon says he possess more speed than any of his previous Derby winners Oath, Kris Kin or North Light. Sudden Wonder the mount of Kevin Manning, all change at Godolphin, ran third in the Lingfield Derby Trial won by the absentee Snow Sky.

The Racing Post winner Kingston Hill could provide a bitter-sweet moment for Derek Smith should he beat the favourite. Owned by his son Paul this part of the family will be happy to see the rain arrive.

Western Hymn will try to provide the Oaks Derby double for John Gosden. The winner of the Sandown Classic Trial previously beat Snow Sky and if the money comes for him we’ll know they’ve worked him with Taghrooda the impressive Oaks winner.

This morning the bookies want to get the favourite and what should be an odds on shot has been pushed out to a generous 7/4 . Rain overnight has been a drizzle not a deluge which makes the price of Australia very attractive.

His third in a top class Guineas means he’s got that sub 11 second speed Aidan told us about yet he’s bred for this trip.

Producing that speed coming round Tatthenham corner and the ability to stay says he’ll blitz them.

As an alternative Ebanoran can add to the Oxx bow.

Recommendation : Australia 7/4 win

                                     Ebanoran 16/1

                                    Both in the Reverse F/C