Tag Archives: Horseracing

The Everest

US Navy Flag saddles in the ring on debut at Naas

Aidan O’Brien has sent US Navy Flag down under to take on the best of the Australians in the second running of the The Everest at Randwick, Sydney.

It’s not a pattern race but it is now the world’s richest turf race and is run over the sprint distance of six furlongs. The race, run similarly to the Pegasus World Cup in Florida is a restricted race with owners buying slot’s for $600,000 each hence the big pot.

US Navy Flag leaving the ring.

From his debut in May last year US Navy Flag improved and improved throughout the season. He took his racing well and by November he’d run eleven times and by the end of it he’d captured two G1’s, the Middle Park over six furlongs and the Dewhurst over seven furlongs. In both he’d displayed a liking to boss, being up in the van and leading from the front. 

This year he was campaigned to get a mile early season contesting the French and Irish Guineas where he was fifth and second respectively. In Paris he stumbled badly when out in front on an uneven Lonchamp surface which cost him his chance. He was tried again in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before the decision was made to let him use his speed over the shorter trip of the July Cup.

At Newmarket he burst from the gate and adopted up his usual tactic of leading from the front. Unlike at the Curragh over the mile when his stamina ran out, Romanised got the better of him there, here he was able to use his speed over the shorter trip and he’d no difficulty in knocking out all comers.

Ryan Moore racks up the air miles to ride him and the trip may very well be rewarded. He’s a quality horse, a Middle Park winner, a Dewhurst winner and a July Cup winner, he’ll certainly bring a top level of form with him.

He did travel to America for the Breeders Cup last year and was well beaten which might be a cause for concern however that was on Dirt, on Turf different matter.

The home team no doubt will have something to say and of them the one that stands out the most is Santa Ana Lane, the winner of the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben in June.

US Navy Flag is a bigger, stronger athlete than he was when we took those picture’s only fifteen months ago and now he’s a formidable force. His run style is deceptive, he looks as if he’s doing nothing which hides the fact he’s going so quick. They’ll break smart from the gate which if anything will suit him, he doesn’t need to be in front, what he needs is a strong pace to use his speed and this is nearly guaranteed. 

It gives him every chance.

The Pattern Racing World Championships 2018

You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 299 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.

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

Recommendation: US Navy Flag 10/1 ew

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Irish Champions Weekend (G1)

It could be an exceptional day for the Niarchos Family.

The owners of both Alpha Centauri and Study Of Man may end the day celebrating having the best three year old filly and best three year old colt in the world, on turf at least.

The Matron Stakes (G1)

Alpha Centauri after her win in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in May

Jessica Harrington’s filly began her sequence of mile win’s with the Irish 1000 Guineas in May followed by the Coronation Stakes in June and Falmouth Stakes in July. She improved with each run and last time out in the Jacques le Marois in August she was mighty impressive when she beat Recoletos who has since franked the form in no uncertain terms by winning the G1 Prix de Moulin at Lonchamp last week.

Happily, Clemmie, Magical and Lightening Quick are the other Irish contenders. It’s hard to see any of them upsetting the favourite as she’s beaten Happily and Clemmie at the Curragh with the latter also suffering defeat at Ascot and Newmarket as well. Happily has got the closest to her and a win or place for any of the Ballydoyle trio will cement Aidan O’Brien’s position at the top of PRWC 2018 Trainers Table.

Happily 27th July 2017 at Leopardstown

Magical has yet to take her on and Ryan Moore has opted for her over the other two. He may expect she’ll improve the most as she’s only had the two runs this year winning the Kilboy Estates Stakes last time out. She can be expected to improve again for that.

Johnny Murtagh will hope Lightening Quick can repeat the feat of winning as she did this day last year when trained by Ger Lyons for the Ballylinch Stud Maiden, the opening race on the card. This granted is a bit thougher.

Lightening Quick who won the first this day last year

Laurens, a dual G1 winner over 10f in France steps back to a mile, a distance she last ran at when second behind Billesdon Brooke in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. It’s a bold step having tried a mile and a half in the Yorkshire Oaks where she didn’t stay the trip. Dan’s Dream accompanies her from England having already been a visitor when running second at listed level at Tipperary last time.

Jessica Harrington has done a fabulous job with Alpha Centauri, her pride and joy. She has got her confidence to grow and grow throughout the season and she’s treated us to better and more authoritative performances each time she’s run.

There’s a tiny doubt about her on slow ground, it’s been a showery day in Dublin today, and she was beaten here on her first run of the year on heavy ground. Whatever the ground her class will tell, at least enough to see her out with Happily the one to chase her home.

A win here will see her top PRWC 2018 Horse Table though she’ll probably be sharing top spot with Winx when she win’s the George Main Stakes at Ranwick in the morning.

Recommendation: Alpha Centauri, Happily (Exacta) 

The Irish Champion Stakes (G1)

Study Of Man also looked a proper horse in the making in the spring when winning the Prix Greffulhe as a prep for the Prix du Jockey Club.

At Chantilly he didn’t disappoint winning it snugly.

He was given a summer break and brought back in August for a G2 at Deauville where on the face of it he did disappoint running fourth however in hindsight it looked a decent effort and his jockey Stephane Pasquier who’ll be having his first ride at Leopardstown reports him in top order expecting he’ll come on an awful lot for the run.

John Gosden saddles the favourite, trading slightly odds on, Roaring Loin was impressive at York in the Juddmonte where he easily had the measure of Poets Word. The second had a difficult passage but in truth the loin had roared and was long gone and there was no chance he would have been reeled in.

Ballydoyle send a quartet of G1 winners headed by Saxon Warrior. The Guineas winner has not hit the heights expected after Newmarket and could not get to Roaring Loin last time out at York in the International. There had only been a neck between them at Sandown in the Eclipse but at York Roaring Loin had extended that to 5L. Deauville, Athena, Rhododendron also run with the best of them possibly the latter.

Willie Haggas sends Addeybb over having already plundered G1 riches here this season with Sea Of Class and Urban Fox. This is tricker.

Verbal Dexterity makes up the line up, Jim Bolger’s horse is the forgotten one having won the National Stakes last year he missed the early season through injury but did make a pleasing comeback when fourth in G3 at the Curragh recently. If he can show that kind of form again he could well be a force to be reckoned with.

A cracking days racing to open Champions Weekend. Alpha Centauri will likely be crowned Queen of Ireland in the Matron while in a fascinating Champion Stakes Roaring Loin and Study Of Man will both lay claims to being the best middle distance colt of this generation. Preference is for Study Of Man who could yet become King Of France if he adds this on route to the Arc.

Recommendation: Study Of Man 10/1 win and Verbal Dexterity 20/1 ew

Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1)

Poets Word last year at Leopardstown

This is the best race of the season to date. Full of intrigue.

Poets Word rightly heads the market trading at 6/4. He’s been the star middle distance performer this season. His second last year in the Irish Champion Stakes marked him out as something to look forward too this year. He matched that placing in the spring at Meyden in the Dubai Sheema Classic before taking the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot beating Cracksman and then winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, again at Ascot, beating stablemate Crystal Ocean in a hard fought battle.

Against him are the current classic crop.

Saxon Warrior the Guineas winner found 12f beyond him at Epsom when running fourth in the Derby and likewise at the Curragh he didn’t stay when finishing third. A week later he was stepped back in trip to 10f for the Eclipse where he was involved another cracker with Roaring Loin who just came out on top by a neck, the Gosden colt having previously run second in the Derby.

Joseph O’Brien’s Latrobe was the beneficiary of a muddling pace when taking the Irish Derby however that was not his fault and he was there to capitalise when others couldn’t. The step back in trip here will be interesting given his profile suggests he was more likely to be considered a Leger candidate and ultimately a Melbourne Cup one. He did show pace at the Curragh.

Godolphin who head Coolmore in the PRWC 18 Owners championship are represented by a pair of four-year olds in Benbatl and Thunder Snow. Both had a four race campaign at Meyden in the spring culminating in wins in the Dubai Turf over 9f for Benbatl and Dubai World Cup on dirt over this trip for Thunder Snow. Benbati did disappoint in the Queen Anne when stepped back to a mile but bounced back to winning ways in a Group 1 in Germany, the Grosser Dallmayr Preis over 10f. Thunder Snow makes his European seasonal debut here after a good break.

Without Parole was very nearly the talking horse of the year. He missed the Guineas in the spring and was instead aimed at the St James’s Palace Stakes where he duly obliged justifying favouritism. He went to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes where again going off favourite he finished down the field in seventh. He’s entitled to bounce back as at Ascot he looked top class.

Thundering Blue is the only one who hasn’t won a Group 1 yet however he has shown a real liking for this course having finished second in a John Smiths Cup and winning the G2 Sky Bet York Stakes here last time out.

This race promises much. Poets Word has been, as we have come to expect from older horses in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, a model of improvement and consistency. In his last two run’s he displayed his class when beating Cracksman and his heart in beating Crystal Ocean. Equally Roaring Loin has worn his heart on his sleeve at both Epsom and at Sandown.

Saxon Warrior looked a cut above the rest at Newmarket in the Guineas and maybe the Eclipse came a bit soon after the Irish Derby. He’s had a break now however the Ballydoyle form is a worry. Latrobe can he continue to surprise, he is in the hands of someone who knows a thing or two about it or can John Gosden get Without Parole back on track. Can Godolphin’s march this season continue? They do come here with a Dubai World Cup winner.

Intrigue aplenty even without Cracksman and Enable. Who’ll comes out on top.

Over this trip, possibly short of Poets Word ideal and giving weight to the three-year old’s, a healthy Saxon Warrior might just slay him and Roaring Loin. He’s had a break something he didn’t have the last time they met at Sandown.

Incidentally a win for Poets Word or Benbati could see either go second in the PWRC 18 Horse championships.

Recommendation: Saxon Warrior 11/2 win

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