Tag Archives: So You Think

The Coral – Eclipse (Group 1)

Pity. The news that So You Think is out due to lameness is a real shame.

This is still the first chance to measure the classic crop against the older ones and with the class of the older ones no longer being led by So You Think it falls to Cityscape to provide the benchmark against which the younger horses will be tested. Rodger Charlton’s colt was given a cracking ride by James Doyle to win the Dubai Duty Free over a furlong shorter than he’ll encounter here by 4 1/4 L. He previously went down a neck in the Hong Kong Mile in December but after Meyden a trip back to Sha Tin for the Champions Mile in May drew a blank when finishing tenth from a bad draw ( boxed in with too much to do when clear).

One older horse stands his ground, the seven year old Twice Over. A previous winner of this when a five year old and though recent form suggests he retains his enthusiasm its hard to see he wouldn’t be vulnerable to younger legs.

Only one five year old contests, the Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso. He sprang a surprise at Meyden where like Cityscape he was given the a fine ride by Mickael Barzalona, albeit having been given the run of the race. He won off a slow pace however it is worth noting he had So You Think back in fourth.

Of the four year olds Crackerjack King, Farhh, Nathaniel and the mare Giofra, Farhh must be considered the best chance. He put up an eye catching performance in the Prince Of Wales when a running on third to So You Think. He’s only had four runs, three which he won (all minor events) so Godolphin pulses will be racing in the lead up to this. The team have been wishing the rains to come for him all week and with the ground good or firm in places their hopes may be dashed by the sun.

Nathaniel has been attracting the cash all week and its easy to understand why. John Gosden has been banging in the winners left, right and centre and although this is his first time out this season he showed some seriously top class form as a three year old winning the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot and then the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth again at Ascot, both over a mile and a half.

The classic generation depends on Bonfire. It didn’t happen in the Derby and Andrew Balding asks us to forgive it. This we must do. His run at Epsom was out of kilter with what he has achieved and time and patience will see him right.

So You Think was to come here off the back of his best performance in the northern hemisphere. Aidan O’Brien believed he’d finally got him right (letting him use his own natural speed) the last day at Ascot in the Prince Of Wales. He showed himself a proper horse in defeating Carlton House by 2 1/4 l posting a time of 1.74 seconds inside standard with both City Style and Sir Putra 5 L and 4 1/4L in arrears. There was no denying the superiority of the Antipodean and we saw something to match the hype that arrived with him when he first came north. Ten Group 1’s , five in each hemisphere, and seven of them over 10 f are testament to this five year old’s abilities.

We didn’t appreciate him enough while he was here. Injury has robbed us of the last hurrah. The winner here will no doubt be good but the question will always remain if the benchmark had been So You Think.

In what now an open contest it’s up to Nathaniel to set the new mark.

Recommendation : Nathaniel 100/30 win

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Royal Ascot – Day 2

The second day begins with the Jersey Stakes ( G3). A difficult one to work out being restricted to three year olds with 25 runners standing their ground. The official ratings give it to Reply off a mark of 113 on the back of a good third to Power in the Irish Guineas. The form took a knock today in the Saint James Palace but Power was badly hampered so treat the loss with caution. Red Duke was third in the German Guineas to Casper Nechtar and that from must be respected. There are also a couple of unbeaten ones in here headed by Sentaril from the Willie Haggas yard which are unexposed and could be anything. The one that catches the eye is the Aidan O’Brien second string Ishvana. She surprised when second to Samitar in the Irish One Thousand Guineas and looks a filly on the improve. These well bred Ballydoyle fillies, she’s a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor, can often come good. Think Homecoming Queen and once they show improvement they can go on. Incidentally, the fillies ran a quicker time at the Curragh than the colts did and she’s in receipt of 3 lbs from the colts.

In the Windsor Forest (G2) we only have to contend with 13 in the field. The two to top the market are Emulous from the Dermot Weld stable and Nahrain from the Rodger Varian stable. These are two very good fillies, both Group 1 winners, Emulous took the Matron Stakes and Nahrain bagged the Prix De D’Opera before a second in the Breeders Cup Fillies and Mares Turf. The difference between the two could be the edge of fitness the Weld filly possesses having won impressively from One Spirit on her comeback run at the Curragh. The form was subsequently franked when One Spirit went on to win a listed contest at Naas.

The Prince Of Wales (G1) is the centrepiece of the days action. So You Think never quite caught the imagination of the public in the northern hemisphere in the way that he did in Australia. It’s a bit unfair as he’s won four Group 1’s in his time here providing some level of excitement. The high’s being when beaten here by the ill fated Rewilding in this race last year and the subsequent defeat of Workforce in the Eclipse. The field doesn’t offer anything of this quality with only Planteur, Reliable Man and Wigmore Hall being single Group 1 winners. The intrigue may come from the Godolphin colt Farhh having only his fourth run, he won at two, at three and when reintroduced as a four year old and is most certainly highly thought of by connections. However, So You Think remains the class act and for that reason he is not to be opposed.

The last Pattern race of the day is the Queen Mary (G2). It’s even more difficult than the opening Jersey with 27 two year old fillies going to post. Not a lot to go on but if you were inclined to take on the field then David Wachman’s Mironica makes some appeal based on the form of the yard especially regarding his fillies.

Selections

Jersey Stakes – Ishvana 16/1 EW
Windsor Forrest Stakes – Emulous 3/1 Win
Prince Of Wales Stake – So You Think 1/1 Win
Queen Mary Stakes – Mironica 6/1 Win

The Breeders Cup Classic (Grade I)

It’s the grand stage, the home of American racing, overlooked by the twin spires, it’s Churchill Downs.

The Classic, the big one of the night, of the season, of the year, 10 F on dirt to decide champion racehorse of the year. Dirt, it’s such a great word. A surface we don’t know in Europe which is why in 26 years we have had only two European winners.

What chance of a third? One entry from Europe, from Ireland. Then there’s only one to talk about.

Form. As a wonder horse, maybe not. As a rock solid top quality seriously brilliant horse displaying the constitution of an oxx,yes he qualifies. In Yankee terms he’s 12 form 19 including 8 Group 1’s, 5 at his absolute favourite distance 10 F.

He’s beaten the best in the southern hemisphere and then come north to stamp his class in Europe. A Cox Plate, an Eclipse and an Irish Champion Stakes speak volumes about his ability. He is head and shoulders above the opposition.

Only one question. That word, Dirt. It’s such a great word, So You Think?

Póg Mo Thón Uncle Mo .( Australian now for Kiss My Axxx )

Champions Day

Time.

Too fast, the season goes.

Champions Day ends the show, one last performance before the circus packs up to leave town. QIPCO, the new ringmaster, and what a good job they did, made a £13m investment in the British Champion Series featuring 35 Pattern races.

It began on Guineas Day and now we’ve reached the bookend, the last £3m comes up for grabs. It’s the big bang as opposed to previous years whimpers, 5 Pattern Races, the Long Distance Cup, Sprint Stakes, Fillies and Mares, The QE11 Mile and finally the Champion Stakes.

You heard the one about the horse who beat the train?

Don’t be such a clown you thought. Horses don’t beat trains. Yeah, we had our clown all right, the big entertainer on which every circus depends.

Time.

The 1m 37.3s he took to run the mile at Newmarket was slow by 1.8s. Oh, how the clock lies. No account taken of the way he blew away his rivals, the psychological damage done in the first 5 F where he literally ran them off their feet. Faster than Lochsong they say.

Time.

Sectioned, the clock underneath the saddle cloth.

Faster or slower than Lochsong, who cares, the eye didn’t lie at Newmarket or later at Ascot. It didn’t lie at Goodwood either where Canford Cliffs got the best view of his enormous posterior, a distant 5 L view. It’s hard to see on his return to the Ascot mile what will be different. No disrespect to the seven who bravely oppose but their running for place money. Frankel was the clown all right. He’ll leave the ring to rapturous applause.

Tension will rise as the tightrope comes under spotlight. Expect to hear the drum roll as they load the gates in the Champion Stakes. It’s a cracking field, not far off the Arc.

Time.

It will matter, not in the sense of the clock but in the sense of the season.

Many of these have been on the go throughout and may not have enough left for one last crack of the whip. Pity, it won’t come from Richard Hughes. Those timed for an autumn campaign, kept fresh, there the ones to think of. So You Think? I hear you say. There’s no doubt his Arc run was very good and had the draw been kinder, well we’ll never know. It’s only two weeks since Paris and this may just be too soon for him having been on the go since early May.

In front of him at Lonchamp was Snow Fairy overturning the Irish Champion Stakes run. Her season as expected is improving with every run. The ground will be good but not her favoured fast. Another good show will have her plum ripe for eastern promise on quick surfaces that will be tailor made.

Green Destiny is going the right way. A lack of experience at this level means a huge step up while Ransom Note and Sir Putra are depending on the rest running below par. The 5 year old Cirrus Des Aigles must hold the title of best gelding in the world. 1/4 L defeats to Sarafina and Goldikova and last time out a neck to Byword testify to his well being. Twice Over, his confidence rebuilt a second time by Sir Henry try’s to win it for the third successive time. His early season form is behind him and his International success over Midday was well ground out.

Nathaniel can’t be faulted. The King George winner had to miss the Arc because of the fast ground. He is unlucky in having to meet good conditions at this stage of the year. If only it was soft. The well travelled Wigmore Hall returns from Canada where he took the Northern Dancer rattling off a quick Woodbine track. If only it was fast.

Casamento, most damaged by Frankel, is back on the recovery road. A Group 3 at Lonchamp in September was well timed. Then there’s the return of a Prince. The policy shift of Godolphin in housing two year olds in Ireland paid rich dividends with Casamento winning the Racing Post Trophy last year.

A year on and payback may come again. This fella pressed all the right buttons at Rosewell House and an ultra smooth Killavullan Stakes win last October confirmed the vibe. Policy dictated the transfer as a three year old to Mahood Al Zarooni where patience has been the key. He was reintroduced at Newbury in September over 9 F and clearly the eye was firmly based here. Kept fresh, the son of Shamardal unbeaten in three will love the ground.

Time.

The healer. The tragedy of Rewilding and now fresh hope for a new Prince in the affections of Dubai.

In the high wire act it’s got to be Frankie for the triple somersault dismount.

Daddy, when will the circus come back? Next year son, next year.
So son, who was your favourite? Oh, daddy, I liked the clown best.