Tag Archives: Horseracing

The Desmond Stakes (G3)

Custom Cut leaves the ring for last year’s Desmond Stakes

The evenings are drawing in and the last of the summer cider will be drunk tonight at Leopardstown.

The feature is an interesting renewal of the Desmond Stakes.

David O’Meara sends Custom Cut back for another crack at a track where he has been very successful. This will be his ninth visit to the course where he’s won three times, twice at G3 level including on his last visit when he took the Amesthyst Stakes over this distance here in May and once at G2 level when he won the Boomerang Stakes again over a mile in 2015.

He’s accompanied on the trip from England by Morando who’s looking for a fifth win from his seventh start. Roger Varian’s four old didn’t get a run as a juvenile but as a three-year old he managed three successive wins. He returned to the racecourse to win a listed race over a mile at Windsor on the 1st July.

True Valour at Naas earlier in the season

The home team is headed by three in the shape of True Valour, Sea Wolf and Alexios Komnenos who fought out the Celebration Stakes at the Curragh also on the 1st July. A 1/2 L and a neck separated them. Of the three the one with the most capacity to improve is the latter as Fossy Stacks runner was only having his third run of his life. Last year he won a maiden beating Inca Gold first time out and then only went down a battling neck to Churchill in the Tyros Stakes.

Diamond Fields at Naas in May

The other Stack runner Diamond Fields also processes some nice form having taken the scalp of Alice Springs in the Gladness Stakes at Naas at the start of the season. She then found the going too quick on her return to the same track over the May bank holiday weekend when running last to Rehana in the Athashi Stakes. We haven’t seen her since.

Flight Risk, Music Box and Intricately make up the field. The former is trained by Jim Bolger who after a cold spell had a double at Gowran Park yesterday. Flight Risk is hard to win with but like Custom Cut her last visit to the track was a winning one when she took the Ballycourus Stakes over 7 f here in June.

You might say Music Box is well exposed at this stage as this will be her 12th start of the current campaign however like many of Aidan’s she keeps improving from race to race. Her last three run’s are testament to her toughness. She found Drumfad Bay too good at Killarney and Only Mine too good at Naas but last time out she turned over the form with Drumfad Bay when taking a listed race at Galway.

Intricately won the Moyglare Stakes last year, the premier two-year old fillies race in Ireland. She hasn’t won since but she has been to all the best dances. She’s the only one in the field to have operated almost exclusively at G1 level. She might have been well beaten at the Breeders Cup last year at Santa Anita and again in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but her run in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial at the start of the season was very good as was her run in the Irish 1000 Guineas where she was only 5 L off Winter. She’s since disputed the Pretty Polly and Irish Oaks where her stamina might have been stretched too far and the step back to a mile here will most likely suit.

This is an open and intriguing event.

There are proven older performers, the likes of Custom Cut, Sea Wolf and Flight Risk, the lightly raced four year old Morando. Then are are the three-year olds in receipt of a weight for age allowance with the fillies benefitting 3 lbs more than the males.

If the younger generation are to come out on top then you could argue both Music Box and Intricately have already had their opportunities. That leaves the three-year old males, True Valour and Alexios Komnenos. Of the two a chance is taken with the latter. He might be the least experienced but on the back of a 1/2 L defeat by Churchill and a very encouraging seasonal debut he offers the most potential.

Recommendation: Alexios Komnenos 13/2 win

 

 

 

 

 

The Irish Derby (Group 1)

Taj Mahal at Leopardstown last year

Sport can sometimes be cruel.

Last week Peter O’Mahony was the Lions captain. This week he watch’s the match from the sidelines. Padraig Beggy will also watch from the sidelines after winning the Epsom Derby on Wings Of Eagles. He is replaced by Ballydoyle’s number one pilot, Ryan Moore.

He was no fluke winner of the Epsom Derby.

Ae we noted in the Epsom Derby blog he showed a turn of foot in the Chester Vase when second to Venice Beech. That was repeated when he collared Cliffs Of Moher and Crackman at Epsom. Cliffs Of Moher waits for next week’s Eclipse but Cracksman comes back for another crack at Wings Of Eagles. The noises from the Gosden camp are positive and they are looking forward to the rematch. Their thinking being their colt having only had his third run of his life will improve. Wings Of Eagles will be having his seventh run. Is he still improving?

The Derby form got a great boost at Royal Ascot with both Benbatl (5th at Epsom) winning the Hampton Court Stakes where he beat Orderofthegarter a 1/2 L and Periman (10th at Epsom) winning the King Edward V11 Stakes where he beat Khalidi (14th at Epsom).

Capri, Douglas Macarthur and The Anvil also represented Ballydoyle at Epsom. Capri was disappointing running sixth running on at same pace with Douglas Macarthur 1 L behind in seventh. Seamie Heffernan retains the ride on Capri, a horse he’s been sweet on since his first run. The suspicion now is he shows more at home than he does on the track.

Douglas Macarthur who probably does show us as much on the track as he does at home will be ridden by Donnacha O’Brien as Colm O’Donoghue is claimed for Grandee as retained rider to the Jessica Harrington stable. He will have to improve a ton to win this on the back of a listed win at Leopardstown, the good news was that that was over 1M4F so he’ll stay.

Dubai Sand also has a mountain to climb on ratings if he is to win having been beaten 9 L by Douglas Macarthur in the Derrinstown Derby Trial in May. He’ll be the freshest horse here.

Ana O’Brien will again get a spin on The Anvil. At Epsom Douglas Macarthur broke well and took it up joined by Ana on The Anvil. The pace they set was searing and soon they were well clear of the field. Rounding Tattenham corner Wings Of Eagles was a long way back running third last. Douglas Macarthur up front was piling on the pressure. He soon burnt off The Anvil and when Cracksman came to his hindquarters 2 F out he began to fold. Outside of Cracksman Cliffs Of Moher was attacking under Ryan Moore. It looked between the two of them. All the while in behind Padraig Beggy was getting a tune out of Wings Of Eagles. He easily picked up a tiring field and as the line loomed he swooped late to overhaul his stable companion and Cracksman. Turn of foot, job done.

Andre Farbe, who won this in 2005 with Hurricane Run, has elected to send Waidgest here on the back of his excellent second in the French Derby where Brametot beat him a short head. Taj Mahal ran a cracker staying on to be fourth 1 1/2 L behind the winner with Orderogthegarter back in sixth. This was reversed in the Hampton Court when Orderogthegarter ran second to Benbatl with Taj Mahal again filling fourth.

The form link suggests Epsom was the better race than Chantilly.

There’s every reason to think Waidgeist will benefit from the step up in trip from the 1M2F Prix Du Jockey Club to the 1M4F here. Cracksman you would expect will improve from his Epsom run also. So too will Wings Of Eagles. This time Ryan Moore will call the tune. It’s the turn of foot that will deliver.

Recommendation: Wing Of Eagles 9/4 win

                                      Wing Of Eagles, Cracksman, Waidgeist Combined Trifecta 

 

The Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)

Caravaggio winning the Coventry Stakes last year. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and Julian Herbert.

Caravaggio comes here looking to extend his unbeaten run to six.

His introduction to the racecourse was at Dundalk last year where you could see immediately he was something special. He followed up in the Marble Hill Stakes before coming to prominence when winning the Coventry Stakes here last year.

We only saw him once again as a juvenile when he took the G1 Keenland Stakes where he was returned as the 1/8F. That was his best performance to date. He glided across the ground winning effortlessly. A set back meant the end of his season and we had to wait until this year to see him again.

That came in the Lacken Stakes at Naas a month ago. Again he was imperious. When Ryan Moore pulled him out and asked him to quicken his trust of speed was immediate and in a matter of strides it was over and the job of pulling him up had begun.

He’s all speed inherited from his father Scat Daddy who himself was a son of Johannesburg, a very quick two-year old for Aidan O’Brien in the early noughties.

Two very good English horses oppose him in Harry Angel and Blue Point.

Harry Angel trained by Clive Cox, who won the Queen Mary yesterday, has been purchased by Godolphin and will wear the blue cap. He has mixed his four runs with two wins and two seconds. First time out last year at Ascot he was beaten a nose. Then he was thrown into the deep end for the G2 Mill Reef Stakes where he duly obliged by a cosy 2 1/2 L.

Godolphin also own Blue Point. He’s more experienced than the other two, this will be his eighth start. He’s won four including last years G2 Gimcrack Stakes. He was beaten by The Last Lion when stepped up to G1 level in the Middle Park Stakes and again in the Dewhurst when he was third to Churchill. After that the sprinting route looked the more likely option.

His return to the track came back here at Ascot in May for the Pavillion Stakes. He went off favourite and he got the better of Harry Angel easily. That was Harry Angel’s second defeat. He returned to the winners enclosure next time out in the G2 Sandy Lane Stakes where he was a very easy winner.

There’s also another unknown quantity in the race, Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere. He’s had two runs at home in America, the first at Turfway Park where he was an easy winner and the second in an allowance race at Keenland where again he did it easy. There’s no telling how good the form is but he won pillar to post so you can expect him to break quick today.

The fact that the challenge from the Godolphin pair is so good means Carraviggo is a reasonable price at a shade of odds on. He could be exceptional even by Ballydoyle standards.

Naas racecourse will be very happy if Alpha Centauri trained by Jessica Harrington does the business in the Albany. She’s won both her races there. She put in a cracking trial at listed level the same day Caravaggio won and she’s a worthy favourite in the opening contest, the Albany.

Recommendation :

The Commonwealth Cup : Caravaggio 10/11 win

The Albany Stakes: Alpha Centauri 11/4 win

                                     Double on both

 

 

 

 

The Gold Cup (G1)

Picture courtesy of Getty images and Horsephotos

The Gold Cup winner of last year comes back to defend his crown and is trading a shade odds on. On soft ground Order Of St George was sheer class in winning this last year, the 3L margin belying the ease of the victory. That was on very different ground to what he’ll encounter today.

He’s since been turned over in the Irish St Leger when a 1/7 shot and then put in a sterling performance to run third in the Arc though couldn’t follow that up at Ascot on Champions Day in the Long Distance Cup when again beaten at odds on.

This year first time out he was ring rusty when going down to Torcedor in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in April with Twilight Payment was back in third. He then got back to winning ways when beating Twilight Payment 2 1/4 L at Leopardstown in the Savel Beg Stakes a few weeks ago in May.

Torcedor also beat Twilight Payment prior to winning the Vintage Crop beating him 5 1/2 L in early April. He’s been a revelation since moving to Jessica Harrington on the retirement of David Wachman and is a horse on the up.

Best of the home team is Simple Verse. She has shown a return to the form that marked her out as a very good three-year old when she won the St Leger and Champions Fillies & Mares. She was only beaten a neck by Dartmouth on her prep run for this, the Yorkshire Cup last time out and the question is, as it it with most of these, will she stay the trip.

The crowd favourite will be Big Orange who a durable stayer who finds two miles well within his compass. He comes here on the back of a 5 L victory in the Henry 11 Stakes.

Sheikzayedroad would also be popular, he won last years Doncaster Cup over a two furlongs shorter trip than this beating Quest For More who went on to take the Prix Du Cadran over this distance on Arc weekend taking the scalp of Vazirabad, France’s best stayer in the process.

Order Of St George is plenty short enough though undoubtedly he is the class act. The issue is reliability having been beaten when expected to win convincingly.

If the favourite is to be opposed then a chance is taken with Torcedor. He like many of these has to answer the question of staying. At 22/1 it’s worth taking a chance on Jessica Harrington doing an amazing Gold Cup double having already taken the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Sizing John this year.

Recommendation : Torcedor 22/1 ew