Tag Archives: York

The Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1)

Eziyra returns after winning the Ballyraon Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks ago

This Yorkshire Oaks is another cracker to look forward to.

The Three Year Olds

James Doyle rides the favourite Sea Of Class. Willie Haggas her trainer had skipped Epsom with her giving her that bit more time to develop and that decision was vindicated by her performance in beating the Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together at the Curragh in the Irish Oaks.

Her pilot gave her a very cool ride. He waited out the back producing her two furlongs out asking her to stretch. She won by a neck but it was never in doubt as she was always reeling them in. She’s a short price though at 11/8.

Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand renews rivalry as does Bye Bye Baby having finished fifth and forth at the Curragh. Magic Wand went off the odds on favourite but she didn’t fire as she did in her victory at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale. There she beat Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, since a winner of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood where she beat another Willie Haggas filly Urban Fox. That’s a high class form line also given Urdan Fox had beaten Forever Together in the The Pretty Polly Stakes. Magic Wand isn’t done with yet and let’s not forget Bye Bye Baby was third at Epsom. It’s likely Flattering will set the fractions for her stablemates. 

Laurens returns to England having taken two Group 1’s in France. The Prix Saint-Alary came first where she beat With You, since a winner of the Prix De Rothschild and she then took the Prix Diane, the French Oaks at Chantilly in June. Very good form indeed.

The Four Year Olds

Coronet was third in this last year having finished fifth before that in the Irish Oaks, both times behind Enable. She’s yet to score at Group 1 level but her first outing this year she took the G2 Middleton Stakes here in May beating Horseplay. She was then only denied a nose by Waldgeist in France in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud. She now pitches in against her own sex having finished third in the King George last time out.

Horseplay advanced her cause following up her Middleton second with a win in the Lancashire Oaks.

Eziyra is a most interesting runner. She put in a very eye catching performance in the Irish Oaks when third behind Enable (in front of Coronet). That was followed up with two G 3 wins before season’s end. Her trainer Dermot Weld reintroduced her two weeks ago in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. She was given a hands and heels ride by jockey Declan McDonagh and she won as she liked.

The form of the three-year old’s is very good and none of the older fillies have scored at G1 level yet, on top of that the older fillies have got to give weight to the three-year olds. This will be a tough task as the favourite has plenty of potential to improve while Magic Wand can bounce back too but as the season goes on the concern grows about the Ballydoyle team.

It’s Eziyra who stands out at the price. Her three win’s on the bounce were in preparation for this and her last run says she ready. Dermot Weld her trainer is a master at bringing them on and his patience will likely be rewarded here.

Recommendation: Eziyra 10/1 ew

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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

Juddmonte International Stakes (G1)

Embed from Getty Images

Churchill beating Barney Roy in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. Picture courtesy of Alan Crowhurst and Getty Images.

It’s always a mouth-watering prospect.

This year even with only seven runners the Juddmonte International which always asks questions, asks the primary one, will Churchill get the trip of 10f? If he does will he be good enough to see off the opposition?

Let’s deal with the opposition first.

Barney Roy already has the scalp of Churchill. He overturned his Guineas run when second to Churchill by comprehensively beating him when they met over a mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was then stepped up in trip to this distance in the Coral Eclipse last month when Ulysses sprang somewhat of a surprise to beat him a nose. Another stride would have seen Barney Roy come out on top. You can see why Richard Hannon says he’s the best he’s trained.

Sir Michael Stoute is a master with older horses and in Ulysses he has an animal who accentuates his ability perfectly. He mightn’t be noted for great patience with the media but with horses he has that in abundance. As a three-year old Ulysses offered promise but he couldn’t hit the notes required to sing at top-level. The win in the Eclipse saw him capture his first Group 1 and now his trainer who has won this five times in the past, asks him to win another. If he does he’ll follow in the footsteps of Shardari in 1986, Ezzoud in 1993 and Notnocato in 2006 who were all four-year old’s when they won it for Sir Michael. Ezzoud returned to defend it in 1994 as five year old and Singspiel also won it as a five year old in 1997.

Decorated Knight has benefited from the move from Roger to Roger. Formerly with Roger Varian he moved to Roger Charlton at the beginning of last year. He’s already contested five Group 1’s this year winning two of them. At Meydan in March he took the Jebel Hatta, the prep for the Dubai Turf. He fell short on bad ground in the main event in the Middle East but bounced back in May to take the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland. A second to Highland Reel in the Prince of Wales’s was followed by a sixth in the Eclipse.

Shutter Speed is the only filly in the field after her trainer decided to keep Enable, the best three old around, for the Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday. John Gosden’s three-year old benefits from the weight for age allowance as well as the sex allowance and being the least experienced she’ll certainly need both if she is to prevail. This will only be her fifth start. She won her first three but was 1 1/2L off Senga in the Prix de Diane in June. Senga didn’t frank the form when getting beaten at Deauville last week.

My Dream Boat will be the outsider in the field but let’s not forget he beat Found, last years Arc winner, in 2016’s Prince of Wales’s. He has not hit those heights since.

Cliffs Of Moher is nearly the forgotten horse in the line up. This year’s Derby runner-up went off favourite in the Eclipse on the back of his Epsom exploits but could only manage fourth at Sandown. You could say that was a disappointment or alternatively view it as a super performance considering he nearly came down after three furlongs.

The Eclipse form is strong, Eminent fifth at Sandown has come out and won the Prix Guliiaume d’Ornano at Deauville last week. That’s a boost for the Derby form also and on balance gives Cliffs Of Moher the edge at this distance where he deserves another chance.

Is he good enough to beat Churchill?

Churchill was champion two-year old year and is a dual Guineas winner this year yet he has something to prove. He must turn around the lacklustre run at Royal Ascot and handle the step up in trip.

That’s the question. There’s no doubt Aidan O’Brien holds both his colts in high esteem but it’s evident listening to him it’s Churchill who is the apple of his eye. His may well be matched for speed by Barney Roy but what about his stamina. There’s no question on that score for Cliffs Of Moher but is he good enough to beat both Ulysses and Barney Roy over this trip?

So many questions but back to the primary one. Will Churchill get the trip? He finished strongly at Newmarket and the Curragh suggesting he will.

If he does he wins.

Recommendations: Churchill 10/3 win

                                          Churchill, Cliffs Of Moher RFC

 

 

 

 

Juddmonte International (G1)

Embed from Getty Images

Gleneagles in action taking the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out in June. Picture courtesy of Charlie Crowhurst and Getty Images.

This is one of the greatest races of the year, but this year what a mouth-watering prospect.

Gleneagles the dual Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner taking on Golden Horn the unbeaten Derby and Eclipse winner. Those Guineas and Derby performances were because feet could rattle with both horses showing a distinct liking for a good surface.

Since destroying the field with an authoritative win in the Eclipse Golden Horn has had to miss his intended target The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes while Gleneagles has cried off the Sussex Stakes and Jacques Le Marois on account of soft ground.

Gleneagles the most exciting Guineas winner since Sea The Stars will take on Golden Horn the most exciting Derby winner since Sea The Stars in a race Sea The Stars won on his way to proving himself one of the greatest of all time.

The Derby winner has looked exceptional. All the doubt about his ability to stay the mile and a half at Epsom proved unfounded and he duly followed up in the Eclipse when tackling 10 f for the first time, a distance his owner believes he’s best bred for. John Gosden has supplemented Dick Doughtywylie to ensure an even pace for the favourite while David Elsworth lets Arabian Queen take her chance after a good third in the Nassau Stakes.

Gleneagles will have his stamina stretched to full capacity to get the trip as he’s looked at absolute genuine miler to date. Aidan O’Brien has described it as a very sporting that the lads have let him take his chance and so it is. The team also send Cougar Mountain in to bat once more but it’s likely he’ll set the fraction’s for Gleneagles.

The key to both the front two is fast ground and with both most unlikely to see a racecourse as four-year olds time and opportunity is fast running out for them to achieve their owners ambitions.

Time Testa late developing three-year old will represent the sponsors in the Juddmonte colours with Pat Smullen booked to ride. He was a very easy winner of the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot under Frankie Dettori and he was immediately nominated for this.

The older genertion standard is set by the Grey Gatsby. Kevin Ryan’s charge proved himself top class last year in winning the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes and was mighty unluckily when beaten a short head by Free Eagle at Royal Ascot however he was no match for Golden Horn at Sandown last time out.

Criterion has yet too light up the northern sky but he’s a triple G1 winner at home down under. He was beaten 3 3/4 L in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on his sole British start so to feature here he needs to step up considerably. He could yet be hard nosed Australia.

His presence does show racing is ever now on an upward international curve it would be some prospect if the best American three-year old could also in the future turn up at York. Last years top three-year old California Chrome was only denied a run at this year’s Royal Ascot through injury and he had proven himself as well as being a top dirt performer also a turf performer as a three-year old.

York’s Ebor meeting sit’s nicely in the calendar for the Juddmonte to be an attractive alternative to either the Haskell Invitational or Sartoga’s Travers Stakes for American owners and trainers.A win here could culminate in an Arc bid. American Pharaoh’s win in the Haskell showed him to be improving and it was his best run to date, a step up on all three triple crown wins. Imagine if he did that at York against Golden Horn and Gleneagles.

How exciting would that be for racing?

This is likely to become a battle of the three- year olds up the long Knavsmire straight. Dick Doughtywylie will fall away with the tempo being kept on the boil to the mile pole by Cougar Mountain. In the last two furlongs Time Test will try to pull away but he’ll have to be some horse to do that against the three coming at him. I expect The Grey Gatsby to crack first but it will be later than he did in the Eclipse and this will leave the last 1/2 furlong to be a battle royal between the Derby and Guineas winner’s.

The sporting gesture by the lads might just Sea The Stars.

Recommendation : Gleneagles 5/1 win

With the course receiving 14mm of rain in the last 24 hours there is now some doubt about the participation of Gleneagles. Aidan has let him travel to York and he will walk the course before a final decision is made. Fingers crossed.