Tag Archives: Horseracing

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

 

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The Oaks (Group 1)

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Flattering on her way down to post for the Lingfield Oaks Trial. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and John Walton.

A field of nine remain to contest this years Oaks, four from England and five from Ballydoyle. Godolphin’s leads the home challenge with Wild Illusion who is favourite.

She beat Willie Haggas’s Give And Take on debut last year in a Novice Stakes at Yarmouth in August. A trip to Paris in September followed where she was beaten at G2 level in the Prix d’Aumale but that was put right in a follow up visit on Arc day when she won the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac from Polydream and Mission Impassible. Magical, a late withdrawal here, was 1 3/4L back in fourth.

The form of the Prix Marcel Boussac isn’t looking great as Mission Impassible and Polydream both ran no sort of race when trailing in last and second last in the French Guineas a few weeks ago and prior to that in April Mission Impassable had also been beaten in the Prix de la Grotte.

This year Charlie Appleby sent Wild Illusion straight to the 1000 Guineas where she ran fourth 2 3/4L behind the winner Billesdon Brook. Laurens who was second at Newmarket has since put a shine on the form when going on to win the Prix Saint-Alary, a G1 over 10f at Longchamp. Happily third at Newmarket filled the same spot at the Curragh on Sunday in the Irish 1000 Guineas so the Godlphin filly’s form largely stands up.

Clive Cox’s Perfect Clarity is unbeaten in two run’s, one as a juvenile where she won a Novice Stakes at Nottingham and this year in her second run she won The Lingfield Oaks Trial under a hands and heels ride from Adam Kirby who had dropped his whip. Flattering was 3 1/2L behind in third.

Willie Haggas withdrew See Of Class from the race and now relies on Give And Take. She followed up her second to Wild Illusion last year with a Novice Stakes win at Lingfield and was then put away for the season. On return this year she ran second in another Novice Stakes at Sandown and then progressed from there to win The Musidora at York where she had David Simcock’s Ejtyah 2 1/2L back in third. Ejtyah won a Novice Stakes at Chelmsford Christmas week on her debut, her only previous racecourse appearance.

It might be the Dermot Weld filly Jaega (doesn’t run here) who holds the key to the Ballydoyle team. In April Jaega won a maiden at Leopardstown beating Samasthit 6 1/2L with Magic Wand a nose behind in third. In May Flattering beat Samasthit 10L in a Cork maiden and a few days later at the Curragh in the Blue Wind Stakes Bye Bye Baby beat Jaega 2L.

That would mean the pecking order of the Ballydoyle fillies gives Flattering an edge over Bye Bye Baby. Magic Wand is third in order though on jockey bookings she’s first being the choice of Ryan Moore. Ryan choose her on the back of her Cheshire Oaks win at Chester where she beat her stablemate Forever Together 3 1/2L who ranks fourth in order on the Jagea form line.

It’s hardly a secret that the Ballydoyle fillies can step up and win when their previous form doesn’t entitle them to do so. Aidan trains then from race to race relying on the engine within that comes from their breeding in the purple. Magic Wand’s win at Chester is testament to that.

I Can Fly makes up the quintet and she was tried in the Guineas where she was well beaten. No doubt Aidan had a view to this race in mind. Her race record would suggest she has it all to do yet she can’t be ruled out.

Wild Illusion has the best overall form but there is an if. Will she stay? The ground is the other worry. She should handle it as it was soft in France for the Boussac. Perfect Clarity has no concerns on the trip but will she handle the surface having encountered only good or fast conditions. Give And Take should handle an ease and get the trip as should Ejtyah but are either good enough. Of the Irish Bye Bye Baby ticks the boxes on the ground and trip as does Flattering but there are concerns for the other three over either ground or trip.

The Oaks is always a puzzle, until it’s run. It can produce greatness, Enable (2017), Minding (2016), Taghrooda (2014) but it’s also well capable of shocks. Was (2012) was a 20/1 winner and Qualify (2015) was returned at 50/1. Those  two shocks were provided by Ballydoyle.

Given the Ballydoyle pecking order courtesy of Jaega and the doubt about the favourite Wild Illusion staying then it may be worth trusting the Jaega form line and backing Padraig Beggy and his mount Flattering to win a second classic for him here at Epsom, one to add to his Derby win on Wings Of Eagles last year. Another shock at 40/1 trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Recommendation: Flattering 25/1 ew

 

 

Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1)

Zibha entering the parade ring at Leopardstown before winning the Amethyst Stakes

To a large extent this race revolves around Saxon Warrior the English Guineas winner. He’s an absentee here, instead being prepared for the Epsom Derby next week where he is the odds on favourite.

The favourite here is Elarqam, Mark Johnston’s raider from England ran fourth at Newmarket with Gustav Klimt back in sixth. The form of the English race has taken a significant boost with the fifth horse home Roaring Loin have taken The Dante in impressive fashion at York last week. He’s now a live contender for Epsom.

Gustav Klimt was a bit disappointing at Newmarket. He’d gone there after winning The Leopardstown Guineas Trial on heavy ground in really good style where he beat Imaging by 1 3/4L and US Navy Flag by 15 L. We spoken at length about the latter in previous blogs on the French and English Guineas. He was our choice for both.

In France US Navy Flag did as expected. Ryan Moore who will ride him again here tried to bully the race going off in front but the uneven surface at Longchamp led him to stumble badly in the straight and he was caught and past by a closing pack to finish fifth beaten 3L by Olmedo. The track subsequently had to be changed for the running of the French 1000 Guineas with senior jockeys describing it as dangerous. He must be forgiven for the run. Aidan also runs Spanish Point most likely the pacesetter and Threeandfourpence who comes back having had no run at Churchill Downs last time out when the rain ruined any chance he had.

The home contingent also includes Zibha, Would Be King, Landshark, Romanised and Theobald.

Would Be King at Leopardstown last July

Zibha is unbeaten over three runs, the first two at Dundalk on the all-weather and his last run, his first on turf, at Leopardstown when he took the Amethyst Stakes over a mile beating older horses in a very pleasing performance. Three year old’s beating older horses at this stage of their careers is always worth noting.

Would Be King was second to Imaging (who has been taken out of this race) with Romanised back in sixth, in the Tetrarch Stakes over 7f at Naas a couple of weeks ago. The former from the Ger Lyons yard is still a maiden after five run’s but he’s boxed with some very good colts in those runs notably when second to Gustav Klimt when he won his maiden last July. Romanised can’t be dismissed either, his form with Masar (third at Newmarket) when second in the Solario last year at Sandown reads well. In the Tetrarch he was coming with a run late on when taken out of it by Hence. He looked unlucky.

Landshark is the least experienced in the field having just had the two runs as a juvenile. In the latter he was beaten 6L by US Navy Flag in the Round Tower last August.

There is another English raider, Symbolization. Godolphin must hold him in high regard asking him to step up from a handicap win last time out to contest this.

This will be run on fast ground. It will suit some better than others. Elarqam will benefit from it but he got caught out by the Ballydoyle pacesetters at Newmarket and the same may happen here again. If Ryan Moore doesn’t decide to boss it from the off you’d expect that Spanish Point will set factions slower than ideal for Mark Johnston’s colt and that it will be designed to bring the O’Brien trio Threeandfourpence , Gustav Klimt and US Navy Flag with a finishing kick.

That might just suit Romanised very nicely. As a son of Holy Roman Emperor he should love the ground and he could get up late to do the O’Brien fancied pair at the death, and at a big price.

Recommendation: Romanised 33/1 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.