Middle Park Stakes Preview 2019

By Samantha

Most, if not all, racehorses, whether flat or jumps, are born with one hope- to win at the top level. The majority have to have their sights lowered but a small percentage can figure at that level and even less win at it. If connected to a good two year old, the thought is always- could we go for the Derby or the 2000 Guineas? This time of the year is about the two year olds establishing their credentials for the classics next term in the hope they’ll train on and be even better then.

A top notch lot of two year olds looks set to fight out next year’s classics and we’re lucky to have nine of the best taking each other on in the Group One Juddmonte Middle Park. Before I get into the details of that, let’s take a look at the top ten two year olds according to Timeform-

134 Pinatubo
124 Mums Tipple
117 Earthlight
116 Siskin
114 Pierre Lapin
114 Threat
113 Monarch Of Egypt
113 Royal Lytham
114 Raffle Prize (F)
111 Kameko

Let me put a 134 rating for Pinatubo in perspective. Frankel was rated 128. The horse hailed the greatest of this century, a superstar, fourteen times unbeaten. All true. But have we seen the horse to knock him off that top spot?

The Godolphin owned Shamardal colt won on debut, then the Woodcote at the Derby meeting, the Chesham at Royal Ascot, the Vintage Stakes, beating subsequent Solario Stakes winner Positive and finally the Group One National Stakes by nine lengths. This is an already incredible CV for a horse who only stepped out onto the racetrack about five months ago. Shamardal is a good sire of sprinters like Blue Point but won the French Guineas and Derby and his dam Lava Flow won over one mile three. In my opinion, and lots of people will and do disagree, but, on paper, it isn’t out of the relms of possibility that he could do the Triple Crown. Even the St Leger. Two of his dam’s brothers got two miles but it isn’t that likely.

Seven of the top ten run on the final day of the Cambridgeshire Meeting- five in the Middle Park, one in the first race of the day Kameko and Raffle Prize, a filly in the Cheveley Park. Also on that list is Pierre Lapin. His debut worked out well and then he won very smartly in the Mill Reef on just his second outing last week. He’s a half brother to Harry Angel so looks to be a horse for the future. Number 8 is Royal Lytham, who won the group two July Stakes by a short head in July but was subsequently behind two of the Middle Park runners, Siskin and Monarch Of Egypt. The ground didn’t help that day. Number ten Kameko did enough on debut at Sandown then came second over that course and distance in the Solario Stakes, coming second. Timeform must’ve been impressed as he’s higher than the winner.

Now it’s down to the small matter of discussing the MIDDLE PARK and the nine horses who take their chances here……

No1- EARTHLIGHT
J- Mickael Barzolona
T- Andre Fabre
O- Godolphin

The chestnut son of Shamardal has done all of his racing in France so is a horse that the British public probably don’t know much about. He’s out of a fillies mile third so he’s bred to handle the undulations even though his trainer isn’t very confident about that. On the track, he won on debut and again next time out at Deauville. He blasted onto the scene in a group three, once again at the latter track, and won by four lengths, despite keenness. Last time out, he continued his unbeaten record with a victory in a vintage Prix Morny, by a neck to Raffle Prize, who was getting weight, and Golden Horde further back. That was on heavy and it is going to be good ground at Newmarket but I don’t consider it much of a problem as his second start was in these conditions. The trip should be fine and is only one of two proven at this level.

No2- GOLDEN HORDE
J- Adam Kirby
T-Clive Cox
O-Almohamediya Racing

Golden Horde has raced five times and won two of them but has always ran creditably in defeat. He made all to win his second outing readily at Windsor and connections then thought him good enough to run at Royal Ascot. He finished sixth of seventeen in the Coventry, when Threat was second, and then reversed the running with that rival in the Richmond at Glorious Goodwood, over six furlongs. I consider that to be his best trip at this point as he doesn’t seem to have the required speediness for five, however, he did beat subsequent Flying Childers winner A’Ali that day.

No3- King Neptune
J- Wayne Lordan
T- Aidan O’Brien
O- Coolmore

King Neptune won at 11/10 by three and a quarter lengths in April at Dundalk but hasn’t won since. He’s been running in top company since then and came fifth in a sales race last time at Doncaster. He will need to step up dramatically to get anywhere near.

No4- LOPE Y FERNANDEZ
J- Donnacha O’Brien
T- Aidan O’Brien
O- Coolmore

This horse appears to be the second string Aidan O’Brien and there was a fair bit of hype about him at Royal Ascot after a comfortable maiden victory. At Royal Ascot, he was second to Pinatubo in the Chesham so brings in that exciting form. He followed in the latter once again at Glorious Goodwood and got beaten by ten lengths. He got back to winning ways in a group three at the Curragh just over a month ago and is a smart horse. It wouldn’t be too surprising if he ran incredibly well. He stays this trip and further so is probably a Guineas horse in the long run, however his older brother Dark Vision was a smart two year old but has been pitiful at three.

No5- MONARCH OF EGYPT
J- Ryan Moore
J- Aidan O’Brien
O- Coolmore

To me, this guy jumps out of the page completely because of his breeding. He is by legendary Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh and out of a dual group winning Galileo mare, who’s colt yearling just sold for $1Million in the US. Monarch Of Egypt’s win at Naas on debut was really smart but he’s followed Siskin in on the last two occasions at the Curragh over six furlongs. He got very close to Siskin on the last day but will need to step up a lot. There’s a lot more to come from him and has a top man on board.

No6- MUMS TIPPLE
J- Oisin Murphy
T- Richard Hannon
O- Marian Lyons and Patricia Zanelli

Now, this is the interesting horse in the line-up- the intriguing, sexy profile; the talking horse. He kicked his career off with a game win at Ascot, that couldn’t have worked out much better. The second has won a maiden and a listed; fourth has won; fifth has won twice; the sixth has been second and the other two are yet to run. Next up for the Footstepsinthesand colt was the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes at York. It was a romp. Nothing else to say, really. He completely demolished them by eleven lengths and Ryan Moore must’ve been impressed as his bosses Coolmore are reported to have put in a £3 million offer for him. Surprisingly, it was denied. I hope connections will have some really good days with him in the future and I’m absolutely fascinated to see how he runs in this. Today may not be his time though.

No7- SISKIN
J- Colin Keane
T- Ger Lyons
O- Mr K Abdullah

Yet another really smart horse. He won his maiden well and then took a listed race assertively, beating King Neptune. Then he ran once again at the Curragh in the Railway Stakes, beating Monarch Of Egypt easily. Last time, he got an illusive group one victory in the Phoenix Stakes when battling on to beat Monarch Of Egypt once again. He’s definitely a bit above the O’Brien trio and has a really good cruising speed which will play to his strengths in this field.

No8- SUMMER SANDS
J- Barry McHugh
T- Richard Fahey
O- Cool Silk Partnership

It’s good to see the Cool Silk Partnership represented in this with £85,000 (originally £2000 as a yearling) purchase, Summer Sands. He won his second outing, beating subsequent winners but came sixth in the Windsor Castle and fifth to Threat in the Gimcrack. He has lots to find. 100/1 shot.

No9- THREAT
J- Pat Dobbs
T- Richard Hannon
O- Cheveley Park

It took Threat a while to get his class one victory after a smart maiden win and seconds in the Coventry and the Richmond. He won the Gimcrack at York really well on his penultimate start and then the Champagne Stakes two weeks ago. He doesn’t appear to be the easiest horse and Pat Dobbs rode him last time and gets the leg up again. That’s already a pretty good CV and he’s stablemate to Mums Tipple. They are by the same sire but Threat may not have enough star quality to feature with the top three.

Selections

This is an incredible race that I’m so excited about! It’s even probably distracted me from the upcoming jumps season to look forward to. The star-quality in this race is just shown by the fact that Threat, the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes winner, is a double figure price. We’ve got more established two year olds- Earthlight and Siskin– but also the exciting Mums Tipple and who knows how good he’ll be? However, my selection is EARTHLIGHT. I think he’ll like Newmarket and the Morny was a proper good race. By tomorrow, Godolphin are likely to have the monopoly on the two year old division as let’s not forget they own Pinatubo too.

Luke- Siskin

Lois- Threat EW

Rest Of The Card

Juddmonte Royal Lodge

I’m quite keen on KAMENKO in this because he was a short head second to Positive in the Solario and that will be pretty good form. He’s nicely bred and jockey Oisin Murphy can do no wrong of late. Year Of The Tiger is better than he’s shown.

Cheveley Park Stakes

Looks like a really nice renewal to this and there is one filly that stands out. Mark Johnston Slade Power filly RAFFLE PRIZE is the only filly to be featured in the Timeform top ten. She won the Queen Mary and the Dutchess Of Cambridge really well and dropped to five furlongs for the Darley Prix Morny., when she finished second, sandwiched between Earthlight and Golden Horde. I think she’ll win this race but Tropbleau is a group winner in France already and there seems to be a lot of confidence behind her. Dark Lady won smartly last time and is a big price but could go well. Living In The Past should run well as she won the Lowther.

Cambridgeshire Handicap

The good races keep on coming and this holds the feature spot. I have compiled a top five from the 31 declared runners. The two favourites are LE DON DE VIE and Good Birthday. The former is three from four after two victories at Epsom, a defeat to subsequent St Leger third Sir Ron Priestley at Goodwood and then a good win at that course last time. Good Birthday has been a bit hit-and- miss, I think it’s fair to say, this season and last time out was definitely a hit when he scored at Beverley. Lord North won his first two and then was behind King Of Comedy and Bless Him on the past two occasions. The yard won this last year and he’s progressing well. It would be great if Dark Vision could recapture his two year old form but that looks unlikely. They are trying him out in a visor though. LITTLE JO (EW) is a gigantic price and hasn’t been seen for 330 days. He has barely any weight and, when last seen, he was running so consistently. The break is a worry but he should have each way claims.

Ayr Gold Cup and ITV Races Preview

One of the runners Aleneva on the card at Ayr going round the parade ring on debut at Haydock.

By Samantha

Here’s my thoughts on tomorrow’s races shown on ITV…..

1:45 Newbury

DAKOTA GOLD heads here instead of at Ayr and is worthy of his place in the line up. He’s the highest rated and should go very well.

2:00 Ayr

CLUB WEXFORD was a bit out of his comfort zone last time out and struggled on the ground the time before but he is a course and distance winner and I am intrigued to see if he can get back to winning ways.

2:20 Newbury

This is a nice little event and it could be between Pondus and DESERT ENCOUNTER as the market suggests. I prefer the latter as he’s a course and distance winner but also he’s in great form, winning two group threes.

2:40 Ayr

Major Valentine has won his last three and is penalised 5lbs for that however Kate Leahy’s claim counters that. This is a big opportunity for the jockey. A three year olds won this last year and I like one this time- ALKARAAMA. Never out of the top three, this is a new test but looks progressive.

2:55 Newbury

Mystery Power won the Superlative Stakes but couldn’t deal with Pinatubo last time. Harry Angel’s half brother PIERRE LAPIN won convincingly on debut and it has worked out well. Harry Angel won this on his second start so hopefully this lad can do the same.

3:15 Ayr

ALENEVA was named by our very own Lois and is owned by a friend of Rein It In, John Dance. The form of her maiden victory couldn’t be stronger with the second winning three races and places in group races around the world.

3:30 Newbury

MIGRATION didn’t get the best run to come second to Hyanna last time and they’re weighted to alter the result. I’m willing to give Migration another chance.

3:50 Ayr – The Ayr Gold Cup

The Ayr Gold Cup had a thrilling finish in 2018 when Son Of Rest and Baron Bolt dead-heated for first place. Hopefully we’ll get as an exciting race as then.

Summerghand, George Bowen, Gunmetal, Saxton, Major Jumbo, Growl and Justanotherbottle all tried their hand in this race but acquired a 0 in the form for their efforts. Since then, Summerghand has placed in all bar two of his eight runs. He was fourth in the Stewards Cup and second to talented Dakota Gold in the Great St Wilfred. He’s gone up to 102 for these creditable efforts. The greys George Bowen and Gunmental were both a long way behind Summerghand in those contests. The latter is blinkered for the first time. Saxton was three places behind Summerghand and was third to Air Raid in July. He’s 1lbs lower than his last turf winning mark. Major Jumbo won by quite a way in Listed company on his penultimate start, with Angel Alexander and Merhoob behind. He ran in the group one Sprint Cup last time out and carries a lot of weight now.

Growl won the Great St Wilfred consolation race and squeezes into this race off joint bottom weight. His trainer also has the aforementioned George Bowen and top weight Mr Lupton. He won a group two over in Ireland in May but has lost his way since. The trainer puts up 7lbs claimer, Zak Wheatley, who has five wins to his name, on Justanotherbottle. He won at Sandown in August with Embour behind. A poor run last time out drops him to 96, 1lbs higher than then but is penalised.

Another 7lbs claimer with a big future is Angus Villiers. He rides one of five for David O’Meara. The horse is Intisaab. He’s dropping back down in the handicap after some good races. This is a good mark for him. Next up is Gulliver. He won very well at the Curragh behind Buffer Zone on Sunday. Buffer Zone was a ready winner that day and Ger Lyons and Colin Keane teamed up to win the Ebor. This Bated Breath gelding is quite lightly raced and has a 5lbs penalty. Arecibo wasn’t beaten very far at Doncaster one week ago, with Embour behind, and got within a length of Dakota Gold recently. He’s lightly raced in the UK but hasn’t won much. Cold Stare hasn’t been seen for 105 days and he won at Haydock that day. He’s gone up 6lbs and this is a big step.

Laugh A Minute and Hey Jonesy are both four and connections are trying something different. The former won a big selling race in 2017 and has won just once since. He followed in Air Raid last time and tries blinkers. Hey Jonesy was last seen 12th in a similar race. He’s only won one of his sixteen starts and has a visor for the first time.

Louie de Palma and Bacchus haven’t been seen for a while, especially the latter. He’s coming off a 91 day absence after he was 22nd in the Wokingham. He’d won that race last year and that is the best performance of his career. He’ll need to step up. Louie de Palma comes from sprint maestro Clive Cox. He’s not been seen since coming third at Ascot and is lightly raced for a seven year old. He was tenth in the consolation race last year.

Merhoob and Soldier’s Minute have both lost their way after decent victories. Merhoob landed a handicap at Chester by a length in May and has since been sixth or worse. Soldier’s Minute won a similar race to this at York in May and hasn’t ran very well on the last 3 occasions. He’s only 4 and got 102 for that win so he is a good horse. Stone Of Destiny won on Shergar Cup day at Ascot by a nose over five furlongs and I’m not convinced he’s suited to this kind of race over six furlongs.

Richard Hannon’s yard is flying of late and Embour ran just one week ago, at Doncaster coming sixth. He ran well behind Justanotherbottle and at Goodwood before that. He’s 3lbs higher than his biggest winning mark. I think he’ll win a big race soon. Jedd O’Keeffe tasted big race success with Sam Spinner in recent National Hunt seasons and they have Air Raid. He’s three from six this term and one of those victories were in the Scottish Stewards Cup. He’s developed a love for Hamilton Park and would prefer a bit more cut in the ground but has a good chance. Paul Mulrennan takes the ride on twice-winning Shamardal colt Good Effort. He finished 8th in a listed race when extremely keen so that doesn’t stand him in good stead. They’ll be hoping for some cover.

The babies of the field are three year olds Barbill and Angel Alexander. The former has ran sixteen times in a short career and has had three victories—a five furlong maiden beating a smart filly called Ginger Nut, who I’m very fond of, and now runs in America; an expensive seller in Ireland and a listed race at Chantilly. He’s dropped to 97 from 103 but will be waiting a while longer to win. Roan gelding Angel Alexander has won three lower graded races and steps into this company for the first time. The three year olds look like they may struggle.

Trends

18 Of 18 Have Ran In The Last 6 Weeks (42 days)
Rules out- Bacchus, Laugh A Minute, Hey Jonesy, Air Raid, Merhoob, Cold Stare, Soldier’s Minute, Louie de Palmer.

11 of 18 Came From 2 Figure Draw
Rules Out- Mr Lupton, Justanotherbottle, Intisaab, Gulliver, Saxton, Barbill

14 Of 18 Won Over 6 Furlongs Before
Rules out- Angel Alexander

13 of 18 Didn’t Win Last Time Out
Rules Out- Buffer Zone

12 of 18 Carried 9st1 Or More
Rules out- Stone Of Destiny, Good Effort, Arecibo, George Bowen, Growl, Embour

12 Of 18 Aged 4 or 5
Rules out – Gunmetal

LEAVING- SUMMERGHAND

Selections

This like most big field sprints is a really open contest. There’s three on my short list- SUMMERGHAND, Air Raid and Embour. I’ve been saying for a wile how I think Summerghand will win one of these races this season and it will hopefully be in this race and I’ve also said the same about Embour, but he’s a huge price. Air Raid may need some more cut but he’s a nice horse and in very good form.

Preview of Day two of Champions Weekend

By Luke and Samantha

Day two of Longines Irish Champions weekend gets underway with the ultra competitive Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap over six furlongs. Sirjack Thomas is the one I have fallen on. This son of Fast Company was last seen finishing midfield at Listowel over seven furlongs. He drops down to six furlongs which I think will be his optimum trip. His most recent victory came at Sligo over five and a half furlongs. That was his sole attempt at a distance shorter than six and a half furlongs. I think the trip will be ideal and I think he will run well at 20/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runners:

Gulliver won a handicap at York in June but has failed to show anything since, but that’s been in top company. He’s 2lbs higher than that day. Venturous and Alfredo Arcano are from the same ownership. The latter has ran just twice since coming fourth in the All Weather Finals Day Sprint in April and has built up a really good string of wins with Oisin Orr. He seems an all-weather specialist. Venturous has never won off a mark this high but ran a blinder in the Stewards Sprint at Glorious Goodwood to come second by a neck. That will put him spot on.

Race two is the Group 2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes over one mile and two furlongs. Goddess was very impressive when winning her maiden at Leopardstown last year and was favourite for the 1,000 Guineas. Things didn’t go right for her after that, she finished last in her next start and wasn’t seen until June of this year. Her first two starts of the year were nothing special. She then finished second in a Group 2 before winning a Listed race at Gowran Park and also a Group 3 at the Curragh. The yard could not be in better form after four winners on day one. I think with Ryan Moore in the saddle she will go close at 3/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runners:

Nausha is very unexposed and runs for Roger Varian. She’s not been seen for 91 days when well beaten in France and won the Musidora on her start before that. She’s by Kingman, out of a Galileo mare and wouldn’t have been sent over without good reason.

Race three is the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five over five furlongs. Soffia has been rapidly improving this season for trainer Edward Lynam. This daughter of Kyllachy started her winning sequence in a Listed race back in May at Naas. She then progressed to win a Group 3 at the Curragh in June. She completed her hat trick last time out when winning a Group 2 over course and distance. I think she will be the best in the field and top off her sequence of victories with a Group 1 at 9/4.

Race four: Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runners-

The two English fillies both won at Royal Ascot. Daahyeh won the Albany and wasn’t beaten far by Queen Mary winner Raffle Prize in the Duchess Of Cambridge. We’ve not seen her since but Raffle Prize has subsequently been beaten a small margin in a group one. Under The Stars won the Princess Margret and was a big price but very impressive. Since then, she’s been beaten in the Lowther, but only by two lengths. I prefer the chances of the former.

Race six is the Group 1 Comer Group International over one mile and six furlongs. Kew Gardens runs for the inform Aidan O’Brien in this competitive group 1. This son of Galileo has been off the track since May but I don’t think that will be an issue. He has had two runs this year and finished second twice, I think excuses can be made for each of those defeats. He steps back up in trip to this more stamina testing one mile and six furlongs. I think he will be fit and can go close at 3/1.

St Leger Preview 2019

PrintBy Samantha

The final classic of the season is upon us. We’ve seen Magna Grecia and Hermosa take the honours in the Guineas for the maestro Aidan O’Brien; Anapurna win the Oaks, giving Frankel a first classic; Anthony Van Dyck get up just in time to land the Derby but who will add their name to the 2019 Classic Role Of Honour?? Well, hopefully I can shed some light onto that for you.

Anything can happen in horse racing and that was shown when 4/6 favourite Idaho tripped up and unseated Seamie Heffernan, leaving the 22/1 chance Harbour Law to win. Logician may squeeze into odds-on on the day for one of the great combinations in sport- Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. The Frankel colt burst into the St Leger scene when winning the fourth start of his career. The race was the Great Voltiger and he had Nayef Road behind. He was running on at the finish that day and he’s been gently treated up to this point by Gosden. The big grey one mile four easily that day and in July and Frankels do stay quite well so I don’t think he’ll have a problem there. However, it is interesting to note that Gosden was reported to say that the trip is his biggest worry – not the firm ground. For a big heavy horse, that’s a bit surprising but we have to trust that the trainer knows best and hope that the horse comes back sound and ready to go again next year as he’s definitely one for the future!

Aidan O’Brien has won the last two renewals with Capri and Kew Gardens and this year the Irishman has three runners. Sir Dragonet is just as exposed as Logician but he has been competing at a higher level. This colt by Camelot, who was second in this in 2012, built on a successful Tipperary debut with a victory in the Chester Vase, with Dashing Willoughby and Technician in third and fifth respectively. Then he was faced with the toughest task of them all- the unique Epsom Derby. This was on a firmer surface and he appeared to handle it. He was in the lead and only just got headed in the final furlong, ending up fifth. He couldn’t blast them all off like at Chester that day. Since then, he’s been fourth in a group three at the Curragh. He didn’t have the acceleration required for one mile two and, based on his breeding, he will get this trip. He shares a sire with Latrobe, who came second over one mile six, and Sir Erec, who won a grade one over two miles. The ground could be a slight worry but Donnacha was complementary.

The second string is Il Paradiso. This vibrant chestnut didn’t seem very special as it took him four tries to win, three of them were at two. He kept on over one mile four for his maiden victory and was very out of his depth over the same trip in the Irish Derby. He won over two miles by twelve lengths on his penultimate start so the trip won’t be an issue. Last time, he gave Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee a proper race and only got beaten just over a length in the Lonsdale Cup. He could’ve been a bit flattered as Stradivarius only does enough, Dee Ex Bee is no where up to his standard and Il Paradiso was getting lots of weight but there is no doubt he stays. I think he has a really good chance for Paddy Beggy, who won the Derby on Wings Of Eagles.

Western Australia is the other O’Brien runner and Michael Hussey comes over to take the reins. He’s been kept in high company since a good maiden victory at Gowran but has only come good once since then. That was at Navan over one mile five. He was twelfth if thirteenth in the Queens Vase when Dashing Willoughby won and Nayef Road came third. He has a lot to find. He’s the pacemaker, I’d assume, and they’ll be hoping to set a brisk pace as they know Il Paradiso stays further and they think Sir Dragonet will but Logician may not.

William Buick will be hoping to get back on the group one score sheet after time off with a head injury and he partners the Royal Ascot winner Dashing Willoughby. Oisin Murphy has rode him on all bar one of his starts but, like Ryan Moore, is over at Leopardstown so Buick gets on for the first time. The horse was third to Sir Dragonet over one mile four at Chester then bypassed the Derby in favour of the Queens Vase. He stayed the trip well but I would have thought he needs the cut in the ground like that day. His last two starts have been on good or harder and he wasn’t beaten far at Newmarket in a race too short and found two miles two long, behind Stradivarius. Collateral form puts him behind Il Paradiso.

Nayef Road has been a busy boy, running seven times this year so far. The heavy campaign is typical of a Mark Johnston in mate. He’s come good twice in those runs and won the Qatar Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, with Technician sixth. The defeat by Dashing Willoughby was his only try at this trip, which he did stay, but 40/1 explains his chances.

His stablemate is Sir Ron Priestley. He’s a typical Mark Johnston improver. He just keeps winning. And, if he’s caught in a ding-dong battle, I’d be surprised if he didn’t come out the winner. His only blip has been at Royal Ascot but he then won a one mile six handicap, one mile three handicap at Glorious Goodwood and the one mile six March Stakes at Goodwood. He handled the step up to class one company and he had more weight than most of them but still won convincingly. His dam won here on debut and I wouldn’t be surprised if he placed for one of my favourite jockeys Franny Norton.

Last but not least is Technician. He won on his second start at Leicester and then came second in the Classic Trail. He was well beaten by Sir Dragonet at Chester but then won a listed race at ParisLongchamp. That was on soft ground and I think he can only run to his true ability on that surface. His run behind Nayef Road at Glorious Goodwood came on good but his ultra impressive victory came at this trip and on soft last time. That showed him in a new light but this won’t be his day to shine.

Selection
A lot of these have ground issues but one of them has to win it. I think I’m going to have to go with IL PARADISO. I was impressed with last time and he may have been flattered by how close he got to Stradivarius but I like him. I’m hoping Western Australia goes on, makes it a proper test and sets it up perfectly for this boy. Sir Dragonet will probably place as I don’t think the trip will be a problem. Logician has the enticing profile and he’s definitely one for the future.

REST OF THE CARD

R1- A Momentofmadness
R2- Shine So Bright
R3- Juan Elcano
R5- Kingbrook
R6- Qaysar
R7- The Trader

Preview of Day one of Longines Irish Champions Weekend

By Luke and Samantha

The sixth year of Longines Irish Champions Weekend kicks off at Leopardstown with Day two at the Curragh. The Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes gets the meeting underway. Nine runners have been declared to take their chance in this Listed contest over seven furlongs. Raven’s Cry heads the betting after two wins in a row. The horse I like is Pronouncement for trainer Johnny Murtagh with Chris Hayes in the saddle. This daughter of Declaration Of War has failed to get her head in front to date but I think that could change here. She has ran three times and ran well each time. She was last seen finishing third behind Harpocrates and Geometrical at Naas last month. The form of that race is working out well with the winner Harpocrates , since finishing second in a Group 3 at York. The second Geometrical, has since won his maiden easily at Gowran and been placed in Group 2 company at the Curragh. Pronouncement steps up to seven furlongs for the first time which I think will help and will hopefully see him get her head in front at 7/1.

Race two is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Pentigo’ Handicap over one mile and four furlongs. Barbados brings Group form into the race and carries top weight. This son of Galileo was second in the Group 2 Chester Vase over a slightly further distance. He was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy Stakes in Newmarket in July and has been off the track since. He was second over course and distance back in June to Rakan with Eminent Authority back in third. I think he has the ability to carry top weight and go close at 10/1.

Samantha’s thoughts the English Runner :

Joseph Tuite has Machine Learner. This horse has been a model of consistency all season. His best run was his penultimate start when he only got beaten half a length in a class four at Sandown. He is stepping up in class but on the same mark as his last win.

Race three is the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes over one mile. Mogul was an expensive purchase costing 3,400,000gns. This son of Galileo is a brother to Group 1 winner Japan. Mogul has had two runs on the track, winning second time out easily at the Curragh. He is he most likely winner. I think Rebel Tale is the horse that will follow him home. He has had five runs and the best of those was last time out. He finished second behind Armory in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. If he reproduces that form I think he will be the one to follow home the warm favourite.

Race four is the Group 3 Paddy Power Betting Shop Stakes over one mile and a half. Leo De Fury is trained by Jessica Harrington and will be ridden by Shane Foley. This son of Australia has had four career starts. He won his first two starts by five lengths on both occasions. He was last seen finishing second behind Buckhurst at the Curragh beaten a head. I think the step up in trip will be a positive and bring enough improvement to reverse the form with Buckhurst.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Kelly’s Dino is the sole English horse. He’s rated to have a really good chance but he’s a six year old taking on the younger horses. He was 19th of twenty two in the Ebor last time and this would be the biggest win of his career.

The feature race of the weekend is the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champions Stakes over one mile and two furlongs. Magical sets the standard here after finishing second to Enable on her last two outings. This daughter of Galileo has been a model of consistency this year not finishing out of the first two. If she runs to her best from she will be very hard to beat.
I think Madhmoon willl follow her home. Veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast saddles this colt by Dawn Approach. He runs over the distance for the first time. He was last seen winning at Leopardstown a month ago over a mile. Prior to that he struggled in the Irish Derby but was second in the English equivalent back in June. I think the trip will be ideal and he will run a great race at 6/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Interestingly, Elarqam was supplemented into this exciting race and he’s five from twelve. He’s followed in some really good horses and was looking for a three timer, after successes in a listed and a group three race, but was squeezed up in the Juddmonte International and the jockey said he should’ve won.

Headman is a horse I wouldn’t have expected to have run in this but he deserves his place as he has won two rout twos in his last two starts. He’s still relatively unexposed and he may prefer a bit more cut in the ground.

Race six is the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang over one mile. I think the English raider Suedois is the one to side with. He was last seen winning at Goodwood in a Group 3 contest over seven furlongs. He won this race back in 2017 on similar ground. He has ran five times since June and has been in the placings on each occasion. I think he can go close here at 4/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runners:

Clipper Logistics own Space Traveller and this son of Bated Breath won the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot but has since been beaten in the Lennox Stakes and a group three at York. This is his optimum trip from the looks of it.

Matterhorn is another runner for Mark Johnston and he was last seen one week ago, following in Great Scot at Haydock in a group three. He won the Middle Distance Championship at All-Weather Finals Day. He’s kind of lost his way of late as he’s stepped into class one company.

Suedois won this in 2017 and got back to winning ways after a series of placed efforts last time in a group three at Goodwood. He’s a lovely horse but the younger brigade may be a little bit to much for him.

The penultimate race in the card is the Group 1 Ccolmore ‘Fastnet Rock’ Matron Stakes over one mile for Fillies. Hermosa was disappointing last time out but I think she will return to her best here. This Aidan O’Brien trained daughter of Galileo was an impressive dual Guineas winner earlier in the season. She was then bet at Royal Ascot when finishing second behind the French trained Watch Me. I think she will return to her best here and go close at 11/4.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Last year, the finish to the race was thrilling. Laurens and Alpha Centauri fought it out- tooth and nail- to the end. The former prevailed and goes again this year. John Dance’s filly hasn’t had it as easy this term. She was 2nd in the Lockinge, sixth in the Queen Anne and won the Prix Rothschild. Last time, she had to give 7lbs to the younger Shine So Bright and only went down a short head. She’s my idea of the winner.

The finale on the card is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Soverign Path’ Handicap over seven furlongs. Silverkode has been second in the last two renewals of this race . He was second in 2017 off a mark of 99 and in 2018 off a mark of 91. He now runs off a mark 83 for Joseph Murphy. I think off this lower mark he will go very close again at 6/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Admirality is one of two Middleham Park horses but is trained in England. He hasn’t won since his first start for Roger Fell in May. He’s 3lbs higher than then even after quite a few runs. Shawaamekh is really lightly raced despite being aged five, having made his debut just over a year ago. He’s won his last two and deserves his place here.

Doncaster St Leger Meeting Day 3 Preview

By Samantha

14:10- Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes

Roger Varian has two fillies in this race – FARZEEN and Mot Juste . The former was beaten a long way on debut but hacked up on her two starts since. Jack Mitchell and Roger Varian won this in 2015 so she is in good hands. Mot Juste was thirteenth in the 1000 Guineas after not being beaten far in the Nell Gwyn, beating Angel’s Hideaway. She’s been well beaten since. Her owner also has Kingman filly Posted. She’s won her last two smartly and is related to a group two winner and multiple other winners. Angel’s Hideaway is a classy mare but needs to step up on recent efforts. Top weight Pretty Baby won a group three in May but has 0s in her form since. Foxtrot Lady is half sister to last year’s winner and Di Fede is a Listed winner.

14:40- William Hill Mallard Handicap

Charles Kingsley won at Newmarket in late July and is 2lbs higher then then. Genetics was last seen winning at last year’s Shergar Cup and is 12lbs higher. This is his first try at this trip, which none of the runners have won at before, Bartholomeu Dias’ last three races have came over this trip or further and his best run of those was a close fourth in the Northumberland Plate. He definitely stays. Theglasgowwarrior went close over two miles at the Shergar Cup so stays this trip and is just 1lbs higher than his last winning mark. However, SAROOG looks the stand out. He’s won four of his last six including over a fraction shorter than this trip. Unexposed, William Buick Rides. Sleeping Lion hasn’t won for over a year.

15:10 Magners Rose Doncaster Cup

I’ve heard a bit of talk of people opposing STRADIVARIUS with Dee Ex Bee but I don’t see the point. Stradivarius has been unbeaten since May 2018 over a variety of trips. He’s won the £1Million bonus twice. Dee Ex Bee has been second to Stradivarius three times this year and I don’t think he’ll reverse that form. Admittedly, Stradivarius has to give 5lbs to the rest of the field and was third on his only start here before but I’m not going to appose him. William Mullins had the winner last year and Max Dynamite was second. The latter goes again and won at Killarney in July. Another Irish horse is Sneaky Getaway. He’s a four times winner of eight runs in total under both codes and stays further. Barsanti hasn’t won since last May but came fifth in the Ebor last time. Cleonte won the Queen Alexandra Stakes, beating Max Dynamite, but is out of his depth.

15:45 Wainwright Flying Childers

This is a good little event that has been won in the past by some decent horses. A’ali won at Royal Ascot in the Norfolk, with Emten behind, and then went to Deauville where he won a group two. Last time, he took his chance in a vintage renewal of the Prix Morny and the ground could be the reason for his below-par run. Emten is a rare runner in this kind of race for the Melbourne 10 and she actually ran a blinder at Royal Ascot. Since then, she’s not shown much and will need to put in a career best to figure. Next to mention is ALLIGATOR ALLEY. Good luck to the commentator with getting his words in the right order if this horse and A’ali fight it out. The Joseph O’Brien runner took three tries to win but did so by five lengths to a subsequent winner at Navan. From then on, he was second to Liberty Beach at Goodwood; then won a tight little Listed race at York in August, with Dream Shot in 8th. He’s bred to stay a mile but has the required speed for this. Dream Shot progressed through the levels, placing each time, after a neck success on debut. He was seventh in the Richmond Stakes and then won a novice at Chelmsford. He has a lot to find with Alligator Alley on last time’s run.

Golden Dragons form, of his victory last time, had a good boost with the second horse winning the big sales race on day two. This is a big step up in class. There’s a fire theme with the names of Wheels On Fire and Flaming Princess. The former has had two runs in this country but all other runs were abroad. He’s running for Andy Fogarty for the first time today but is extremely speedy. Flaming Princess tasted success in a listed race at Deauville lately and Seize The Time was last seen when ninth in a listed but has Ryan Moore on board.

16:20- Wichita
16:55- Maori Knight
17:30- Citron Major
18:00- Sandret

May Hill Stakes Preview 2019

By Samantha

Day Two of the Doncaster St Leger meeting focuses on the girls. The opening race is a fillies nursery, followed by the Park Hill Stakes as well as the final race in the Silk Series competition, in which Megan Nicholls is guaranteed the victory. However, my focus in this preview is on the ultra-competitive May Hill Stakes.

This race was won in 2017 by multiple group one winner Laurens and the connections of the nine fillies set to run in this renewal will be hoping they can be as successful as her. Richard Hannon is very good with his two year olds, which could explain why Cloak Of Spirits. This Invincible Spirit filly didn’t have the best start on debut over seven furlongs at Ascot but quickened clear in good style, showing that she’d stay this trip. The third has since won. She has entries in the Rockfel and Fillies Mile.

She’s one of three once-raced fillies. The other two are Powerful Breeze and Anna Of Sussex. The former won on debut at 20/1 and did it really smartly. She could be anything. Anna Of Sussex was only bought for 11,000gns and she won on debut but that form hasn’t worked out too well.

Oisin Murphy has been absolutely flying of late and rides the sole John Gosden representative Run Wild. Third on debut over six, she was running on but couldn’t quite catch the second, who has subsequently won by five lengths. She wasn’t beaten far next time when fourth and finally won at the end of August by six lengths, despite being keen. She’s a half sister to Rock My Soul, a three times listed winner and the dam of Young Rascal, and Rock My Love, a German Listed winner. She’ll win some blacktype.

West End Girl is highest rated of the runners at 101. She won nicely on debut and then was stepped up into Listed company, finishing behind smart stablemate Wall On Marrakesh. Last time, she won the Sweet Solera really well, beating one of today’s rivals Ananya. Her owner has the Solario winner Positive and could have a nice filly in the making here. She’s one of the first winning progeny of Golden Horn. Ananya has done all of her running at Newmarket and this course is a different task. When she won on her middle start of three, she did so by four and a half lengths. She fell out of the stalls last time and has an each way chance if she gets off on terms.

Boomer is proven at group three level already as she won the Prestige Stakes last time. She was keen that day but won by a comfortable neck to back up her three and a half length success at Newbury in July. She’s a really nice filly for the Dascombe/Kingscote combination, who are in great form.

Passion is bred for Doncaster. Her full brother Capri won the 2017 St Leger here and she’s looking to follow in his footsteps. She didn’t have much room during the final few furlongs on debut but won really well next time at Cork, when she realised what the job was. She broke well T at day and will probably go towards the pace as it worked last time. It would be interesting to know how well-regarded she is.

Sea The Stars filly Alpen Rose was second on debut, when second string for her yard and dwelt at the start but stayed on towards the end. Everything fell into place when she nearly made the majority of the running over course and distance. She’s a exciting filly and will need to progress on but her jockey has been in fabulous form.

Selections

My selection is WEST END GIRL. I liked the way she won last time and the form of Walk In Marrakesh is really good. My second choice is Boomer who will without a doubt come on for the run last time. Cloak Of Spirit may not be up to these other more experienced fillies just yet.

Rest Of The Card

R1- Stylistique
R2- Enbihaar (Nap)
R3- Harpocrates
R5- Drummond Warrior
R6- Good Birthday
R7- Mutamaasik

Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes

By Samantha

The highlight of this Saturday’s action is the group one Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes over six furlongs.

Eleven of the original thirteen are set to go to post, if there are no more withdrawals, with the absence of smart three year olds Advertise, due to a dirty scope, and Ten Sovereigns, due to the soft going. The former will now be aimed at the sprint on Champions Day and Ten Sovereigns will be prepped to run in Australia later in the year. This is really disappointing but it opens up the race to a great extent.

A form line in this is the Prix Maurise De Gheest. It was won by Advertise with Brando second, So Perfect eighth and Invincible Army thirteenth. Brando is a grand seven year old. He’s won eight of his starts. Five of his outings have been in 2019 and he hasn’t been beaten that far on all occasions but he followed in Invincible Army at York in May and So Perfect and Fairyland in the July Cup. He won a handicap over this course and distance on soft aged three and has previously been second in this race in 2018 and ninth in 2017. He won at Hamilton in June and should run a big race. However, two of his stablemates have good chances as well. Major Jumbo won a listed race by three and a half lengths last time but was two places behind Brando in the July Cup. He’s done quite well recently and is so consistent. He usually likes it on the soft side of good. Hello Youmzain is extremely lightly-raced and looks an exciting horse for the future. He won a group two on soft at Maison-Laffitte convincingly aged two but didn’t stay seven furlongs in the Greenham. He won the Sandy Lane on his second start this term and then finished third, with Forever In Dreams in second and Khaadem in seventh, in the Commonwealth Cup.

Forever In Dreams, a grey filly by Dream Ahead who won this in 2011, ran a blinder on her first start for the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate at Royal Ascot and she hasn’t been seen since. She’s lightly raced and came from a yard in France before going to the Slattery yard in Ireland. She definitely has each way claims. The other mentioned horse was Khaadem. This Dark Angel colt is four from seven and was beaten on debut by Calyx, then completed a five timer, beaten ten lengths by Advertise and, on his penultimate start, got beat one and three quarter lengths by Waldfpad at Newbury, with The Tin Man behind. However, Khaadem’s run last time was most impressive. He skipped clear inside the final furlong to be a going-away winner of the Stewards Cup. He was the proverbial ‘group horse in a handicap’ and warrants his place here but attention on this horse makes the German raider Waldfpad is interesting.

Waldfpad, by Shamardal and halfs to a multiple group three winner, was having his first try in the UK when winning easily at Newbury. British filly Royal Intervention beat him at Baden-Baden last time. She’d previously been beaten three and a half lengths by Hello Youmzain. The German horse is an established group three performer and it will be interesting to see how he goes. He beat The Tin Man at Newbury. The Tin Man has ran in this race for the past three years – coming second in 2016, third in 2017 and was the winner last year, with Brando in second. That was his first win on heavy ground having won on good to firm or good on all other starts. This season, he’s been beaten two lengths by Dream Of Dreams, behind Dream Of Dreams and ahead of Invincible Army in the Diamond Jubilee and then behind Waldfpad and Khaadem last time. He needs to step up.

Dream Of Dreams won his first two this season nicely then finished incredibly strongly to only go down a head to Blue Point at Royal Ascot. He was then a 9/2 shot for the July Cup but ended up tenth with Major Jumbo, Brando, So Perfect and Fairyland all ahead. He’s won on soft twice before and will probably run better than last time. Another on a retrieval mission is Invincible Army. His sire Invincible Spirit won this in 2002 and this horse was thirteenth in the Prix Maurice De Gheest last time. Previous to that, he won at Newcastle in a group three and a group two at York. He’s as art horse and gets first time cheek pieces. They’ll be hoping they eek out some more improvement in him.

Aidan O’Brien has two of the three year old fillies in the race – Fairyland and So Perfect. The former has ran over various trips this term and came fifth and sixth in the two versions of the 1000 Guineas. Since then, she’s been fifth at Royal Ascot, third in the July Cup and came tenth in the Nunthorpe with stablemate So Perfect third. Fairyland will need to step up. So Perfect won a group three at the start of the season and has ran well all season, not being beaten all that far. The ground is the worry but if she builds on last time – she has each way claims.

SELECTION

This is no one horse race but I am very keen on HELLO YOUMZAIN. I think this could be the day he wins his big prize. Khaadem has a touch of star quality after his demolition job at Goodwood but I think the German horse Waldfpad is the interesting contender. He definitely has place claims. Same can be said for So Perfect who ran a blinder last time. It would be good to see Brando go well too.

REST OF THE CARD

R1- Calculation
R2- Great Scot
R3- He’s A Keeper
R4- Alright Sunshine
R6- Intense Romance
R7- Borossa Red