Tag Archives: Group1

The Sussex Stakes (Group 1)

This race has been eagerly anticipated since the Saint James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when Dawn Approach just got the better of Toranado by a short head.

The anticipation goes back further to the spring and the Guineas when the clash first happened.  They went off favourite and second favourite at Newmarket. Dawn Approach had come as champion two year old where his juvenile season had been beautifully crafted by his astute trainer Jim Bolger. Five wins including the Jersey, National and Dewhurst. A rock solid champion in expectation going into the first classic. Then Richard Hannon unleashed Toranado in the Craven. Real opposition had been thrown into the Guineas mix.

Come the big day and Toranado miscued while the Irish colt fluffed no lines. The anticipated match didn’t happen and a general sense of disappointment permeated across us all watching. Even though Dawn Approach was a super winner we were left deflated by the lack of battle in Toranado.

Come Royal Ascot and Hughie’s talking up his colt we were a little disbelieving. In the meantime huge doubts had been built up about Jim Bolger’s colt. It seemed ridiculous that in just seventeen days Dawn Approach who had run out of control at Epsom could revert to the mile, relax in the hands of Kevin Manning and then have enough speed to win. The Derby disaster had to be forgotten, as had the flat run of Toranado in the Guineas. No sense of anticipation really with both colts on a retrieval mission.

The real sense was more that neither would be capable of turning it around.

Toranado looked too wounded after Newmarket and the skepticism in us said the Craven was a flash in the pan. He had looked impressive against mediocre horses but on the big stage he was found out.

Then two furlongs out at Ascot and our levels of excitement ratcheted up. As Dawn Approach stretched Toranado was bearing down on him in full flight. In the last 100 yards it was still undecided. Toranado had suffered a bump at a crucial stage and slightly lost his stride. Dawn Approach prevailed, just. Richard Hughes was sure he lost the race because of that bump. Ascot roared a declaration of war between the two.

So now the rematch.

Did the bump do enough to stop Toranado gunning down Dawn Approach or was the Irish colt holding him. Had he enough in the tank to repel him if needed?

Anticipation and licking of lips at the thought of this is now eager in all our minds. Any skepticism we had is well buried not even in the back of our minds but dispelled completely from the body altogether.

It’s easy to forget but it’s not a match as five other colts line up. Leitir Mor and Reply are there to do a job. Set a fast pace, burn quick fractions. In the case of Leitir Mor his sacrifice will be for Dawn Approach while Reply will be there to set it up for Declaration Of War.

The Queen Anne winner came to Ballydolye with a tall reputation from Jean Claude Rouget. The weight of money behind him in the ring at Newbury for the Lockinge suggested that reputation would not be let down. He ran like Toranado in the Guineas failing to fire leaving that tall reputation in tatters.

Come the Queen Anne and a blow away performance in a time quicker than that run by Dawn Approach later in the day and a reputation restored to full glory. He had Gregorian was back in third with Trade Storm in fifth. He then went to the Eclipse where only Al Kazeem got the better of him.

Anticipation now includes three.

In cold analysis we can say the classic bunch are ordinary. Garswood raised the flag in the Lennox Stakes yesterday but on the whole they haven’t looked great. At a mile the two who do look top drawer are the two here. As for the four year old, reputation stands tall but with the American Animal Kingdom more interested in his stud career than racing that day we have got to wonder was it a weak Queen Anne.

The clock said not so while we will have a three year old battle royal we might find a real Declaration Of War.

Recommendation: Declaration Of War 5/1 win


The Dubai World Cup (Group 1)

Plenty to capture our attention on the worlds richest days racing.

The Dubai World Cup will round off proceedings with a cool $10 million up for grabs. A look at the ante post market tells you just how open this is with the shortest price being 9/2 and the the longest being 20/1 . There’s no stand out horse, pity Game On Dude isn’t back after his awesome performance in the Big Cap at Santa Anita on March 9th. Then we’d have a proper favourite.

The outsiders in the field are Red Cadeaux and Treasure Beach. The former looked to have lost his way in 2012 albeit in top races including the Coronation  Cup, Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup before coming good when winning the Hong Kong Vase in December.

Treasure Beach an Epsom Derby second and Irish Derby winner when in the hands of Aidan O’Brien also lost his way and has transferred  to Mike de Kock. He ran a steady pleasing run on his debut here for his new trainer wh

Dubai World Cup

Dubai World Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

en beaten 4 1/2 l by Hunters Light on Super Saturday in R3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Particularly pleasing was the way he ran on after the line suggesting his form is on the way back and he liked the Tapeta experience. He’s a very live outsider and could well place off an inside draw and a positive ride.

The European team is completed by Plantuer, Meandre and Side Glance. Planteur and Meandre both changed hands during the week for probably shed loads. Planteur won the Lingfield Winter Derby Trial as a prep beating nothing but in a record time winning from the front as he liked. His third here last year definitely gives him a chance after the Lingfiled confidence booster. Andre Farbe’s Meandre  could only manage fourth in his prep on the Chantilly polytrack leaving you relying on the genius of the trainer to see him win this. The Qatar financed Pearl Bloodstock run Side Glance and will have been encouraged by the flourish he showed when running fourth behind Sajjhaa in the Jebel Hatta however a first try on Tapeta is certainly a question mark.

The top of the market is Hunters Light the winner of both R2 and R3 of the Challenge. Both were won in similar circumstances with the Godolphin horse shaping handily running clear to the line without any fuss. He’s discovered maturity and confidence but has yet to do it in a top class test.

The local challenge is supported by the incumbent Monterosso, Capponi, African Story and Kassiano. Monterosso will have needed the run he got in R3 but he will need to come on a ton to win this again. We haven’t seen Capponi since coming second last year so it will be a stunning training feat to pull this off while Kassiano’s form operated at a level suggesting this step up will be too far. African Story is possibly the most interesting of the home challenge. He’s 4/5 on the Meyden Tapeta and would be 5/5 had luck  played it’s part. He overcame an absence of 307 days to win the Burj Nahaar here on Super Saturday having won the same race the year before. The big concern is the trip. He’s never been beyond a mile in fourteen starts over three years racing. Maybe with maturity he’ll see out the 1o f here but….

The three Americans bring some hard nosed form. There headed by the Bill Mott trained Royal Delta a Dirt horse through and through. She’s a top class mare on her home surface winning a Breeders Cup Ladies Classic this last twice. Her prep in the Sabin Stakes shows she’s as good as ever however the obvious concern is her run here last year on the Tapeta where she trailed in ninth to Monterosso albeit having been seriously hampered by a back peddling Transend.

Dullahan hasn’t won since August when he bagged the TVG Pacific Classic on the polytrack at Del mar from Game On Dude. He’s tried twice on turf since in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont and in the Breeders Cup Turf at Santa Anita where he finished down the field a length in front of Treasure Beach.

Animal Kingdom is a class act. A winner of the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness in 2011 he displayed he retains his class when second in the Breeders Cup Mile to Wise Dan and second to Point Of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Good form on Turf both times. Can he handle the Tapeta?

When you look at it you can see why it’s priced tight by the bookmakers. No standout, nearly all in with a chance.  Do you rely on track form, those proven on the surface or look at the class of the others even if they’ve previously failed here before?

Planteur should ensure a descent pace leaving it to the speedsters to overhaul him. Hunters Light might be short of gears when push comes to shove and if you go local and proven on the track then African Story might write the final chapter.

If it’s hard nose your after then the stars and stripes brigade are where you look. All three could win it. Royal Delta sitting off Planteur might get away in the last 2 f and see it out. Dullahan in the hands of Gary Stephens could show the defeat of Game On Dude was no fluke and the plan since has always been about this. Animal Kingdom’s turn of foot could be the deciding factor. Boxed in he didn’t get out in time in the Breeders Cup Mile. When he eventually saw daylight he flew. Drawn wide here is usually bad news but it might just work out to come late.

In the end the desert may be the Animal Kingdom.

Recommendation : Animal Kingdom 11/2 win

Treasure Beach 20/1 e/w

Reverse F/C on the two

  Times and Races From Meyden Saturday 30th March 2013

GMT Time Status Pattern Race Distance Age Purse
1.10 G2 Godolphin Mile 1600 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
1.45 G3 DRC Gold Cup 3200 Meters (E) Four Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
2.25 G2 UAE Derby 1900 Meters (E) Three Year Olds $ 2,000,000
3.05 G1 Al Quoz Sprint 1000 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
3.45 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen 1200 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 2,000,000
4.40 G1 Dubai Duty Free 1800 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
5.20 G1 Dubai Sheema Classic 2400 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
6.05 G1 Dubai World Cup 2000 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 10,000,000


Hong Kong Vase (Group 1)

As the year closes attention moves to Hong Kong for their annual big day of top class international racing.

Four Group 1’s take place early Sunday morning with the Vase up first over 1m4f followed by the Sprint over 6 f then the mile and finishing with the centrepiece of the day The Hong Kong Cup over 10 f.

First up in the Vase may represent the best chance for European raiders where a field of 13 go to post with 9 representing Europe, 5 from England and 4 from France. Dunaden returns to defend his crown without the Melbourne Cup he had tucked away last year. His form hasn’t reached the heights of last year due to a combination of slow pace and no luck in running in Europe but he rectified that in the Caulfield Cup when off a strong pace he was able to sit off them and come with a late rattle to pick them off. At Flemington he’d no chance when the race was run at a crawl and connections will hope that a decent pace will bring him into the reckoning again here.

Sea Moon was his conqueror in the Group 2 Hardwicke at Royal Ascot but in the King George in July and again in the Arc in October he failed to bring his form up to Group 1 level.

Marco Botti has got a fine tune out of Joshua Tree winning the Prix Kergolary, a Group 2 at Deauville and after a 1 3/4 l defeat to Orfvere in the Prix Foy (Meandre second) he went to Woodbine to take the Group 1 Canadian International. The Farbe colt didn’t cope with the ground in the Arc.

Dancing Rain the 2011 Oaks winner was third on her comeback run on champions day is an interesting contender. She went to Kyoto in November last year sustaining an injury in the process and having removed the cobwebs at Ascot she must come into calculations. Of the outsiders Pagera catches the eye, second to Siyouma at Woodbine in the EP Taylor who showed her win over Elusive Kate was no fluke in the Sun Chariot.

Chinchon the Singapore Airlines winner was well beaten last time out on his first run since Kranji while Jaguar Mail third in last years Japan Cup could only manage tenth on this years renewal.

Bayrir is the only three year old in the race and in the spring and summer looked an exciting colt in the making culminating in a Secretariat Stakes win on million night at Arlington. A second in the Prix Neil should have set up a good Arc run but ground there was against him. He’s got a nice draw in one and with Patrice “Starcraft” Lemaire on top there is a great chance we’ll see further improvement with the pilot expected to exploit the weight for age to the maximum.

The sprint will stay local with the ex Irish Lucky Nine while in the mile Tom Hogan’s Gordon Lord Byron can fly the flag for Ireland.

In the Cup unfortunately robbed of the participation of Cirrus Des Aigles Saonois winner of the Prix Neil over Bayrir can overcome the local challenge of California Memory and the Australian Alcopop.

Don’t forget to set the clock or at least the tape as it’s on At The Races.

Recommendation :

The Vase – Bayrir 11/1 win

The Sprint – Lucky Nine 9/2 win

The Mile – Gordon Lord Byron 10/1 win

The Cup – Saonois 5/1 win

Pre De L’Arc De Triomphe Group 1)

The excitement normally generated in the build up the Arc looked to be waning with the news that Snow Fairy and Nathaniel were both ruled out with injury. Add in Danedream’s absence (not allowed travel due to an outbreak of swamp fever at Cologne racecourse where she’s stabled) and we had lost three major fancies. It looked to be turning into a flat build up to say the least.

We knew on Monday Joseph wouldn’t be asked to do the weight of 8-11 if Camelot stood his ground we wondered if he runs then who? Bang, Aidan O’Brien confirms Camelot with Frankie on board. Wow. Excitement and intrigue were back on full throttle. At Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes Frankie displayed he is still on top of his game giving Snow Fairy a wonderful ride. Ballydoyle like to use the best available and they’ve certainly got that. Unexpected yes but not unprecedented, the combo won the 2005 St Leger with Scorpion.

Camelot’s participation was in doubt but his work on Tuesday was good enough to send him to Paris. He must now emulate the feat of Alleged in 1977, beaten in the Leger he went on to win the first of his to Arc’s. There is no doubt Camelot is the star of the classic generation, a Guineas and two Derby are testament. He’s a fast ground horse. He hated the ground at Newmarket and the Curragh but class saw him through. He’s been asked to do it again now on Paris turf now described as heavy after the second race today. Pat Smullen called it dead after riding in it.

A win for Orfevre will push his earning close to the £10 m mark. That will be a nice bit of cash off 14 run’s. Bar the last one that’s all been won in his native homeland of Japan. He’s a winner eight times including five Group 1’s and a Japanese triple crown, all on fast ground with the exception of The Japanese Derby last year on soft. Tokyo’s soft and Paris heavy will be two different things. He showed his class in the Prix Foy (his first run since June) where off a slow pace he quickened nicely in the last five furlongs easily accounting for Meandre on G/S.

St Nicholas Abbey won’t love it either. You’ll have to go back to his maiden victory to find his last win on ground described as heavy. He will be suited by this trip, more so than the 10f in the Irish Champion Stakes and he’ll be given a patient ride to be wound up and come late.

You’d imagine the surface has also put paid to the chances of Shareta. She loved it here last year chasing home Danedream on the unseasonal firm ground and at York when beating The Fugue. She did win the Prix Vermeille on G/S but her hopes are surely gone on the dead.

Saonois won the Prix Neil from Bayrir. Maybe he was actually the best horse in the French Derby after all. He looked a fortunate winner on that occasion but this performance put’s him in the mix and if it is run slow and turns into a sprint he’ll be in with a shout. It could still be a good weekend for Lady Rothschild, Mince won at Ascot today, even without Nathaniel. Her filly Great Heavens has had a super season remaining unbeaten in five runs including last time out in the Irish Oaks. The soft ground will be very much in her favour. This will also apply to Sea Moon whose best performance came on G/S in last years Great Voltigeur when an 8 L winner.

Godolphin’s new kid on the block, Mickael Barzalona rides the Andre Fabre trained Masterstroke. He’s comes here in typical Fabre fashion, looking for his seventh Arc the master has built him gently through the season culminating with a G 2 in at Deauville. The softer the better for him.

The Japanese run a pacemaker in Aventino and Ballydoyle take no chances either running two, Robin Hood and Earnest Hemingway. The latter is intriguing, This will only be his third run, a very impressive maiden win on the Dundalk polytrack sent him off favourite for the Dante where he trailed in last. We haven’t seen him since May and he is also well drawn in stall 4 so if he takes it up when Robin Hood falls away and is given a soft lead it’s conceivable he may be hard to reel in.

If he is reeled in then it may well be a masterstroke to have Frankie Dettori on board Camelot where the class of both may get through the dead ground.

Recommendation :

Camelot 7/2 win & Earnest Hemingway 250/1 Ew