Caravaggio wins the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Picture courtesy of Getty Images and Mike Hewitt.
Caravaggio is a ball of speed.
Rumors suggest he’s clocked 47 miles per hour over 2 furlongs on the gallops at Ballydoyle. Aidan O’Brien has confirmed he’s the quickest they’ve had ever at home and today against the older brigade he put’s his unbeaten record on the line. Should he win he will extend that run to seven.
Should he win in the style he’s capable of it will be no surprise if it’s his last run.
Coolmore will surely be very tempted to retire him to fill the hole left in their stallion rooster by the untimely death of his father Scat Daddy. His value of a stallion will far exceed any winnings he might pick up in the future on the racecourse.
As fans it will be our loss. The three year old middle distance division might look a bit muddled this year, that’s something that can’t be said about the sprinters.
Harry Angel’s connections won’t be complaining should Caravaggio be called ashore after this. They’ve a seriously good sprinter on their hands and without Caravaggio around he’ll shine brightly. All that said he was flattered to be only 3/4 L behind Caravaggio at Ascot. The other three year old in the field is Intelligence Cross who will set the fractions for the favourite.
The older brigade is headed by Limato who put in his best display when winning this last year as a four old. Since then he’s won the Prix de la Foret over 7 F at Chantilly however he was beaten over the minimum 5 f trip in the Nunthorpe at York last year and failed to see out the mile at the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita. This year the yielding ground beat him at Meydan on his comeback and he was then a fair third in the Diamond Jubilee when The Tin Man and Tasleet got the better of him. Both reoppose here.
That was a big turnaround for The Tin Man as Tasleet had 6 1/4 L to spare over him on their previous meeting in the Duke Of York Stakes at York in May. His trainer James Fanshawe says he doesn’t do that well in the spring. He likes summer and also the autumn as he showed when he won the Champions Sprint at Ascot last year when he beat Growl and Brando. Both the latter two will have to put in career best’s to be involved here. The same can be said of Mr Lupton and Intisaab.
Michael Tabor part owner of Caravaggio said when discussing his chances that Aidan O’Brien doesn’t say it for the sake of it, he really thinks Caravaggio is something special. An opinion that is backed up by the clock on the run at Ascot. He feels he’s every bit as good as Ballydoyle’s great sprinters of the past Stravinsky and Mozart who both won this as three year old’s.
It might be the last time we’ll see him, the performance could be that special.
Recommendation: Caravaggio 11/10 win
The Group 1 Falmouth Stakes has attracted three French, two Irish and six home fillies and mares to Newmarket in search of summer glory. Sizzling it won’t be. Again we’re let down by the weather and once more the word soft dictates the going description.
The Andre Fabre trained Golden Lilac is a shade of odds on at 10/11 in an attempt to win her seventh race from eight starts. She come here off the back of a Prix D’Ispahan (G1) win over Cirrus Des Ailges and Planteur, her first outing this year. Last year she won the Poule d´Essai des Pouliches ( G1) and Prix de Diane (G1) and you would expect her to improve from the D’Ispahan run. She’s a worthy favourite.
Giofra is the French backup. She bypassed an engagement in the Eclipse at the weekend in favour of this opportunity to take on her own sex. She won first time out this year and then on her second start was 8 L in arrears of Cirrus Des Ailges in the Prix Ganay (G1) (ground near bottomless). Again you’d expect her to come on for the run. Siyouma completes the Gallic raiding party on the back of her proximity to Solemia and Shareta in the Prix Corrida (G2) over 10 f at Lonchamp.
Improvement is something we’ll have to get if Maybe is to trouble the judge. She’s been disappointing this year after a flawless juvenile career. Although she travelled in the 1000 Guineas (G1) she didn’t pick up and in the Oaks (G1) she didn’t quite get home. Aidan O’Brien has given her some time in skipping the Coronation Stakes and this step back in trip was always on the cards after the Oaks.
The John Oxx team got a boost going into the race with the performance of Marvada who took the Brownstown Stakes(G3) at Naas last night. Alanza had got the better of her in the Ballycorus (G3) on her last start. The trainer never travels unless he’s confident of being in the mix.
The home are made up of the John Gosden pair Joviality and Elusive Kate, the Henry Cecil trained Chachamaidee, Barefoot Lady from the Richard Fahey yard, Lay Time for Andrew Balding and from the Mahmood Al Zarooni yard Irish History. William Buick has opted for Joviality having won the Windsor Forest (G2) at Royal Ascot where she had the Cecil, Balding and Fahey fillies in behind. He may have well have had a difficult choice as Elusive Kate was a very progressive two year old only finding the trip to Churchill Downs beyond her for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2). She’d previously won the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) beating the July Cup bound Fire Lily.You’d imagine John will have the measure of the Godolphin filly Irish History (third in the Coronation to two of his).
Golden Lilac sets the standard but she’s had one blip on her career, at Deauville where she went down to Galikova on good to soft. That hole in her form gives hope to the others and the one with some from on the soft,well maybe just Maybe, a winner on the ground at Royal Ascot last year.
In the Cherry Hinton Sendmylovetorose should be supported (see the post on Day 4 of Royal Ascot). She was withdrawn having become upset in the stalls and then next time out won a Group 3 at the Curragh. She’ll love the ground.
Cherry Hinton Stakes – Sendmylovetorose 5/2 win
Falmouth Stakes – Maybe 8/1
Posted in England, Group 2, Pattern Racing
Tagged Aidan O'Brien, Andre Fabre, Andrew Balding, Gold Cup, Goldophin, Group 1, Group 2, Henry Cecil, Horseracing, John Gosden, John Oxx, Maybe, Newmarket July Meeting, Pattern Racing, Richard Fahey
The Newmarket July meeting kicks off today with this race as the centerpiece.
Redwood is a worthy favourite on overall level of form. He’s been placed at this level or better in his last 7 runs winning the Group 1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine last September. His form arguably improved further from there when going down a 1/4 L to Joshua Tree again at Woodbine in the Canadian International in October. He was kept on the go when second to Mastery in the Hong Kong Vase and a fine second to Rewilding in the Dubai Sheema Classic underlines his appeal.
Crystal Capella will re oppose here having also run in Hong Kong and has 12 L to find. She only ran twice in 2010 having taken the Pride Stakes on her other outing. A pipe opener in a Listed contest at the end of May should see her should see her to strip fit for this.
Campanologist was twice a Group 1 winner in Germany last year but his form this year would look to be below that of last year. Having said that he wasn’t beaten far by So You Think at the Curragh and the ground had turned too soft for him in the Hardwicke Stakes when behind Await The Dawn.
Laaheb finished in front of Campanologist in the Hardwicke and comes from a stable very much in form. His trainer Rodger Varian is establishing himself as a force.
City Leader’s form has been boosted by Class Is Class recent win. Brian Meehan’s charge had a head to spare last time out over Class Is Class and it’s a timely reminder of a return to form.
Afsare got the trip last time on his first encounter over 12 F and Kieren Fallon will not have to worry about that now. He was a progressive three-year old whom Luca Cumani harboured hopes for.
Dordonge represents the classic generation coming off a win in the Lingfield Derby Trail. The form of the race hasn’t been franked and although this years three year olds are a good bunch it’s hard to see Dordonge making the jump in class required here. Buthelezi is the other three-year old in the field. Trained by John Gosden, it’s interesting to see him pitched in here. One wonders how he compares with his stable companion Nathaniel.
Four year olds have won the last four running’s of this and that trend may continue in the shape of Afsare. The stable has to overcome a bout of seconditis with four of the last five filling the spot but that trend may well be broken here.