Tag Archives: Churchill

Sunday Selections: 10th September 2017

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Not all that often at Leopardstown you do see a horse swinging wide around the home bend trailing the field and then going on to win in impressive style. Yet Decorated Knight did exactly that….. from last to first – and in doing so landed the Irish Champions Stakes!

Hindsight is a beautiful thing. How could this lad go off at 25’s? He was full well entitled to have a big shout as the second highest rated individual in the field thanks to a Tattersalls Gold Cup success and a subsequent runner-up effort in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

Credit to Andre Atzeni, who rode Decorated Knight to perfection, utilizing his turn of foot in the best possible way.

Odds-on favourite Churchill finished a disappointing 7th. Things got a bit messy in the home straight but that did not make too much of a difference. He was not good enough on the day. Maybe it was one race too many?

That ended the day with a rather shocking result for me punting wise too. 0 from 4, not a single one in the money. A day too forget…. albeit the brilliant performance by Decorated Knight may not be forgotten anytime soon.

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5.55 Curragh: Handicap, 1m 2f

The lucky last on Irish St. Leger day, an open contest where any more rain will not suit too many. However improving 3yo filly Jet Streaming will love any additional drop of rain over the course of the afternoon.

The lightly raced daughter of Born To Sea won impressively at the Galway Festival last month. Despite not breaking cleanly, being a bit too keen subsequently, and travelling off the pace in rear, she managed to motor home in the short straight to get up on the line.

It’s clear that Jet Streaming is crying out for a step up in trip. On pedigree this should work well too. She’s 2lb wrong in the weights, however given her progressive profile, ground and trip potentially in her favour, this should not make a difference.

With a good draw and from the lower end of the weight scale I reckon the Adrian Keatley trained filly has a cracking chance to land a big pot today.

Selection:
10pts win – Jet Streaming @ 7/1 PP

Saturday Selections: Irish Champion Stakes Day 2017

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1.50 Haydock: Ascendant Stakes (Listed), 1m

Some interesting contenders here; soft ground winners Dee Ex Bee and Dark Acclaim make plenty of appeal. I, however, think Godolphin’s Dubhe looks one with a massive amount of improvement to come.

He left a fair debut behind when landing a maiden in soft conditions at Sandown. While that was not a true test and he holding the advantage as the sole front-runner, the fact that he won easily going away in the end in a sprint finish, while it looks abundantly clear that he needs further sooner rather than later, was impressive.

He stays over the mile trip, which in heavy conditions with potentially a quicker pace should suit him down to the grounds to play out class and stamina.

Superbly bred, by Dubawi out of Irish Oaks winner Great Heavens, I feel he takes plenty of beating and therefore Dubhe is a tasty price.

Selection:
10pts win – Dubhe @ 5/1 Bet365

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5.05 Leopardstown: Group 3 Enterprise Stakes, 1m 4f

Eziyra is a fair favourite given her impressive form this season to make it back to back wins for trainer Dermot Wel. Though, Spanish Step has won a Group 3 earlier this season and has a fair shout here too.

That says stable mate and former Derby runner-up US Army Ranger is the x-factor in the race.

He drops in class and trip, and this combination should see him go very close judged on ratings. Yes, he has been a major disappointment ever since coming close to land the big prize at Epsom, however he still ran to a time speed rating of 94 when last seen, which is still the best in this field.

Selection:
10pts win – US Army Ranger @ 6/1 Bet365

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5.35 Leopardstown: Group 1 Matron Stakes, 1m

The class act is Winter. If all goes to plan she wins. She has a top draw and the bit of rain that may leave a bit of softness in ground won’t bother her.

In my mind she can only be beaten if the long season has left a mark on her. Then the French raider Qemah comes into the equation. Her wide draw is an issue, nonetheless she remains a big price and has a better chance.

The winner of last years Coronation Stakes had a light campaign up until now, won at Royal Ascot earlier this season and was an unlucky 4th behind Roly Poly in the Prix Rothschild when last seen.

At her best, and if she can overcome the draw disadvantage with the magic man in the saddle, she has a chance to trouble Winter.

Selection:
10pts win – Qemah @ 7/1 Bet365

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6.45 Leoapardstown: Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, 1m 2f

Twelve months ago it was the race of the races – something we racing fans hope for but see not enough of: the best take on the best. On the flat the best often try to avoid each other, if possible. The Irish Champion Stakes stood true to its name in 2016, though, and saw the best battle it out with the very best.

This year looked for a while a slightly underwhelming race in prospect. The stars of last year are either under performing or retired. However the week leading up to the big enjoyed a timely boost with the conformation of smart Eminent giving it a go against the almighty Churchill.

Eminent has enhanced his credentials with an impressive front-running performance in a Group 2 over 10 furlongs at Deavuille last month, after three winless efforts at the highest level. Is he quite up to the standard required to beat Churchill? We find out today.

The dual Guineas winner proved satisfactory his stamina when runner-up in the Juddmonte International. So neither ground nor trip hold any fear for the highest rated individual in this field.

He’s got the perfect draw and the help of one or two stable mates likely setting a good pace – I find it hard to look beyond him, to be honest. Yes, Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Night, or stable mate and Derby second Cliffs Of Moher are fine horses in their own right. But this looks all set for another Group 1 victory for Churchill.

Selection:
10pts win – Churchill @ 11/10 PP

Thursday Selections: 24th August 2017

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Not often you see a horse strongly travelling, in fact cantering all over his rivals until nearly the final furlong marker in a premier Group 1 race. If it happens it must rate as a special performance. So it was. Take a bow Ulysses. That was spectacular!

I made him the favourite in my book, however felt the rain might count slightly against him. How wrong I was. I was also wrong doubting Churchill’s staying ability. How dare I doubt a son of Galileo?! He wasn’t quite good enough in the end, but confirmed that he is all class.

But sometimes you bump into a better one. This one was Ulysses today. Another late bloomer so speak in the care of brilliant Sir Michael.

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3.00 York: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

Big Baz is a big prize and hasn’t shown too much this season to warrant a awful lot of respect. Still, it would be foolish to rule him out completely in a race that takes a bit of luck to win anyways.

What will the ground be like? There is no further rain expected, or at least not a lot, temperatures are balmy, so it might be good to soft, good in places by race time I reckon. That’s fair enough. Big Baz has form on softish ground but also on quicker surfaces, so that side of the equation won’t be an issue I think. Trip suits fine, no problem.

His Newbury Cup performance off 7lb higher back in April gives him a shot at this with the ease in the mark surely a help. The draw isn’t ideal, though, and Big Baz is not a confident selection, but is a value price in my book, nonetheless.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Baz @ 66/1 Paddy Power

Wednesday Selections – Juddmonte International 2017

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Big drift in the betting for Tuesday’s selection Alternate Route. So it was no surprise to see having a slow start to his race and as a consequence were never really in it.

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2.25 York: Group 3 Acomb Stakes, 7f

Dee Ex Bee was mightily impressive on debut at Goodwood. That looks rock solid form but it was more virtually plus on the clock what impressed me. He made all, going aggressively forward right from the start and found a lot when asked serious questions.

Granted the soft ground probably helped in terms of how far the rest of the field trailed him in the end and there will be different ground conditions here – however any rain will help, and with significant amounts of showers on their way he should be fine on ground that is likely not lightning fast.

He clocked a superb 89 TS on debut. With natural improvement and a top draw, this son of Farhh, who has had an excellent start with his first crop, should be very hard to beat.

Selection:
10pts win – Dee Ex Bee @ 9/4 bet365

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3.35 York: Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, 1m 2f

Cracking renewal and five of the seven starters have strong credentials to land the big pot. Eclipse winner and King George runner-up Ulysses sets the standard in my mind. Drop in trip will suit after being outstayed at Ascot by star filly Enable.

He travelles strongly through his races and no more so at Sandown when wearing Barney Roy down. Slight concern is the rain coming. He obviously has fine form with cut in the ground in the book, however to my eye is clearly at his best when the ground is fast.

Whether Barney Roy truly wants 10 furlongs remains to be seen. Any rain will hinder his chances I believe and while he is certainly a top class colt I don’t think he should be the favourite.

2000 Guineas winner Churchill returns after being taken out at Goodwood and a lackluster performance at Royal Ascot. He is by Galileo so the step up to 10f may not be as big an issue as some commentators make it out to be. He also has form on slow ground in case the rain would have a big impact.

However how much more can he improve for the new trip? He’s already had 9 career starts and his target was clearly the Guineas.

Aiden O’Brien’s “second” string, Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher appears to be a more interesting contender. He probably was a bit unlucky in the Eclipse when he finished fourth, as he was badly hampered in the middle of the race and lost all momentum.

He’s still only had five runs and can still improve. 10f on any sort of ground will suit and interestingly he is the only one who already matched a 112 top speed rating that otherwise only Ulysses has been able to achieve.

The filly Shutter Speed beat Enable earlier the year and that sort of performance gives her a chance. Nonetheless she has a bit to find with the boys I feel. It’s a tough task for her, though interesting to see a tongue tie applied for the first time.

You can’t fully discount Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorative Knight. He was well held in the Eclipse Stakes after clipping heels midterm. Could run well for a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Cliffs Of Moher @ 11/2 Paddy Power

Tuesday Racing – 9th May 2017

A nice winner with Shargiah (4/1) at Windsor today – the “lucky last”! My other two chances for the day only hit the post – both finished in the runner-up spot, though it is fair to say both found one too good. No excuses there.

In the meantime the racing world discussed the possibilities of 2000 Guineas hero Churchill to turn up at Epsom. Aiden O’Brien didn’t commit to anything in the post-race interviews, only referring to “the lads”.

Today things became a little clearer. At least in so far as no decision will be made for at least another week. That says Aiden seemed to get slightly carried away when  letting his mind speak:

“You wouldn’t say he won’t get further with the way he did it in the Guineas.” 

A hint in itself? Well, I reckon Churchill has a go at the Derby. He’s a son of the almighty Galileo, that alone gives him a chance to stay. And let’s be honest, it’s not like that Ballydoyle has too many other exciting options for the big race at this point in time: Capri, Yukatan, Douglas Macarthur and maybe the “dark horse” Cliffs Of Moher?

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3.00 Ayr: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Dalgleish’s Eez Eh looks overpriced in this race now probably fitter than on his seasonal reappearance last month. The four year was gelded over the winter after a pretty fruitful opening campaign.

He went through three obligatory maiden runs to get a handicap and after finding 12f too far on handicap debut he was subsequently dropped in trip and finished runner-up twice but went one better when dropped down to 9f at Carlisle where he got finally off the mark.

You can draw a line through his final start in 2016 on soft ground over 12f. However conditions at Ayr should suit, 10f on fast ground looks ideal. Eez Eh is only 3lb higher than his last winning mark but ran already three times to RPR’s above that, so there is a good chance that he could still pull out a bit more under optimal conditions.

Selection:
10pts win – Eez Eh @ 17/2 William Hill