Tag Archives: Ebor

2017 Melbourne Cup – When You Get It Right!

And so it happened: “…screams of joy when Rekindling strolls over the line as the winner of the 2017 Melbourne Cup!”

This warm feeling deep inside when you get it right. For once. Finally. Pure joy. Well, in the grand scheme of things it’s just another race. Money in, money out of the bank. But then it isn’t. Cause it’s the Melbourne Cup!

The race that stops a nation.

It really does. Take a look at this incredible graph. Money simply stops flowing during the time the horses thunder down Flemington Racecourse.

The buildup to the race was massive. It always is. it soaks me right in. Goosebumps. They do it so well over there. It feels special. Feels like you witness a World Cup Final.

That’s the thing: the Melbourne Cup is not the best race in the world. Far from it. It’s a glorified Handicap after all. But know what? It FEELS like it’s the one and only race that really matters on the planet!

The perfect ride…

Corey Brown you star! Here you saw why it pays off to have a local jockey booked. True, Rekindling had the perfect draw and got all the breaks when needed. Others didn’t. But that’s also credit to the man on board. He’s got to make the crucial decisions.

He could have hurried Rekindling up right after the start. He didn’t. He let him settle, wasted as little energy as possible. Knowing he was in a good spot, right on the rail. Saving valuable meters while safely covered by the field. He let the colt go with the flow.

Rekindling didn’t seem to know he was in a race until approaching the home turn, when Brown steered him through an opening gap, following the incredibly well travelling Johannes Vermeer.

Once in the clear, asked for full effort, Rekindling was never going to stop. He stays the two miles, chasing down Johannes Vermeer who went into unknown territory. He stayed too, mind you. But was maybe a tick too early in front. And of course the weight. He carried 3kg more. At the end of a premier staying contest this can and did make all the difference.

For a three year old to win the Cup – particularly for a pony that Rekindling is, compared to some other much more imposing rivals in the field – it was a special achievement. Not a surprise to me. Cause I told ya!

Can he do it again?

Enough the self-praise. It’s fair to say Rekindling got the run of his life. Everything worked. Everything! Pinch perfect. Can he do it again? Honestly I doubt it.

If he attempts to defend his crown – and why wouldn’t he – he’ll have to do it with an awful lot more weight on his back.

As mentioned before, Rekindling is rather smallish in stature. There is not a massive frame to fill any further. No WFA for him next year. The handicapper will put him up. Probably not as perfect a draw as this year? Gaps may not open when he needs it? It’ll be a difficult task.

The unlucky ones…

Arguably two individuals I feel were incredibly unlucky not to finish closer were Max Dynamite and  Nakeeta. Willie Mullins’ raider had a lot going for himself in terms of draw and position throughout the race.

The runner-up of the 2015 Cup, however, was asked for a big effort turning for home, in an attempt to get first run on the chasing pack. That move seemed smart, yet came to an abrupt end approaching the home straight. For a couple of strides Max Dynamite had nowhere to go, lost valuable momentum and ground.

Would he have won with a clear passage? Maybe not. But he sure would have gone closer than he already did. Finishing in third.

Obviously the case of Nakeeta is an easy one. A rather poor draw, far back in the field, still way closer to trailing the entire field than winning with 500 meters to go – he really had to work his way through the field and maneuvering around tiring horses. An impossible task.

The fact he finished 5th speaks volumes of how far this years Ebor winner has come. Honorary mention also to the 6th finishing Thomas Hobson. He was another one who had an awful lot to do – too much.

Have a look here: This birds-eye-view tells the story of the race in the most compelling way. It shows impressively how and why the first the first four home were all drawn between stall two and five. It shows how difficult if not impossible it was to make up ground from the back of the field and how a wide draw compromised chances to a minimum.

It shows why Rekindling enjoyed the run of his life. A first Melbourne Cup success for Joseph O’Brien. Something his father never achieved and was denied once more – this time only by his own son.

Photo Credit: RTE.ie

Sunday Selections: 27th August 2017

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Flymetothestars cruelly denied in the closing stages of the Ebor… kind of sums up this week. Thankfully Hochfeld went on to win impressively at Newmarket (4/1) to lessen the agony.

In the evening over in the US there was some fantastic racing at Saratoga on Travers Day. It was an impressive coast-to-coast success for Mike Smith (yet again) the winning jockey on West Coast in the feature race.

However it was the Sword Dancer Stakes on turf that caught my eye even more. Aiden O’Brien trained Idahoo was the favourite, though faded badly. The home team landed the big money in a thrilling finish. Well worth to watch back as Julien Leparoux gave the winning Sadler’s Joy a tremendous joy, utilizing the special change of gear this improving individual possesses.

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2.55 Yarmouth: Class 4 Novice Stakes, 6f

Hard to know what to expect of this lot, however I happily take a chance on Frankel filly Ganayem. She cost some serious money as a yearling and naturally has a sensational pedigree, being not a daughter of the almighty Frankel but also half-sister to some graded winners on the dam side.

She has an entry for the Group 2 Rockfell Stakes next month, so you would expect she has to be ready if she wants to run there. As far as today goes, Frankel offspring tends to perform exceptionally well over the 6f trip on fast ground. He has a 70% win record with his two year olds under these conditions.

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

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4.05 Yarmouth: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f

This race looks more open on paper than the betting suggests. Neither Another Eclipse nor Mafaaheem are deserve to be so much more fancied than some others in the field.

Mostly I feel hat-trick seeking Teodoro is the one all have to beet. He sets the standard in my mind. Yes, he steps up into unknown territory class wise, however his last two wins indicate that he clearly belongs here.

Upped in class and a revised mark make life tougher today, no doubt. Still, the combination of a hood fitted and more prominent racing tactics have seen this son of Teofilo transformed. He keeps improving and as 3yo old April foal he may not be the finished article yet.

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

Saturday Selections – Ebor Day 2017

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Still searching for the elusive first winner of the week. Another rather disappointing run from my selection Galactic at Salisbury yesterday. Let’s not dwell on it. Huge day today. Ebor day!

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2.25 York: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 6f

Irish St. Leger winner Jukebox Jury has an outstanding record with his first three year old’s in Britain. Contributing towards this has been the Mark Johnston trained Dominating, who ha won already three times this year.

In fact in his last five starts Dominating has either won or finished second. The handicapper starts to catch up and going up significantly in class doesn’t make things easier.

Still, at a big price and off a very low weight, with conditions likely to suit, he can run a big race and cause an upset I feel.

Selection: 
10pts win – Dominating @ 33/1 Paddy Power

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3.35 York: Class 2 Ebor Handicap, 1m 6f 

Normally it is not my style punting the favourite in a big Handicap as the Ebor undoubtedly is, however there is so much to like about Flymetothestars that I can’t ignore the facts and feel despite being plenty short enough for a race like this there is still juice in the price.

Why? Well, you can try and read what you want into his form this season, whether a third in the Northumberland Plate was a slight disappointment or not, but fact is this lad is the least exposed in the field, who tackles turf for the first time from the lower end of the weight scale.

There is very chance for further improvement to come. He is a well bred son of Sea The Stars, so ground and trip aren’t an issue at all and his older sons are progressing.

The draw is an issue so is the fact Flymetothestars can be very keen early on. Also does missing the kick become a habit? Nonetheless if the stars fall right then he is very hard to beat indeed.

Selection:
10pts win – Flymetothestars @ 8/1 Bet365

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3.50 Newmarket: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 6f

The three year old Hochfeld has a prime chance here returning to the most suitable 1m 6f trip. His runner-up performance behind Tor at Hamilton is a very strong piece of form. A return to that will see him hard to beat here.

He is still progressing after a busy juvenile campaign won twice at the beginning of the year and followed up with the strong mentioned performance at Hamilton. A slightly disappointing run at Goodwood the last time, though conditions may have been against him.

Selection:
10pts win – Hochfeld @ 4/1 Bet365

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4.15 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 7.5f 

This today is arguably the toughest test of his long career, yet Echo Of Lightning appears still improving at the grand age of 7 as he has won already three times this year and has been impressively consistent over the last 12 months.

He has to defy a career highest mark and an impressive display at Pontefract earlier this month, though he might have been helped by the rain and small field.

Nonetheless the numbers tell he improved in each of his last five runs and with a decent draw, a bit of cut in the ground and a sort of specialist trip at a specialist track, he can run big I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Echo Of Lightning @ 15/2 Skybet

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7.55 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

At 16’s I’m happy to take a punt on Majestic Stone who lost his race at the start when seen last and has to bounce back from that. He’s never been the best starter, so that is an obvious concern, however the return to quick ground is a big plus.

His best performance to date came on good to firm at Thirsk in April. He was unlucky the day and the form has been franked. Up four pounce from there he has confirmed he is up to that sort of mark the next time, however with cut in the ground.

Slight change of gear today, better ground and hopefully a better start may him see go close at a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Majestic Stone @ 16/1 Bet365

Friday Selections: 25th August 2017

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That was special, wasn’t it? Yet again. Enable keeps giving and giving and giving. What a star filly once more in the care of John Gosden. Sure, she was entitled to win and to win with something to spare. Still, to demolish her high class rivals in the way she did – you simply have to be impressed.

All systems go for the Arc now. She is a short favourite to land the biggest of them all. If she turns up in top form she will take plenty of beating. That says we know the Arc is a unique race in its own right and in a big field the draw can alienate chances in the blink of an eye.

Anyways; that’s for another day. For now, sit back and enjoy racing at its best:

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6.20 Salisbury: Class 5 Nursery, 1m

27 alerts in my tracker this morning – yet only one single selection remains after a long morning of intense study. This week has not been a lucky one so far. Can a Richard Hannon trained colt turn the table?

Galactic is his name and he is quite a well bred son of Roderic O’connor. Three obligatory starts in maidens, now first time in a Nursery and upped to a more suitable 1 mile trip – off a pretty handy opening mark, I reckon Galatctic can go really well in this very winnable race.

Selection:
10pts win – Galactic @ 11/2 Bet365

 

Fields Of Athenry can prove his class in Ebor

Aiden O'brien

3.45 York: Ebor Handicap, 1m 6f

The competitiveness of this race is obvious, so is the almighty task which Fields Of Athenry faces. The 3 year old colt has to defy a handicap mark as high as none before has won from in a British Handicap from. In addition he has been allocated the widest possible draw. A big negative for a front-runner.

For all those reasons Fields Of Athenry has drifted from 6/1 out to 11/1 over the last couple of days. This price is too big in my book, though, and I become quite interested in this smart Leger contender. Why? It’s easy to see why. He is lightly raced, has potentially more improvement left in him, and despite a high mark, profits from the weight for age allowance as well as enjoys a handy 5lb claim from talented Donnacha O’Brien in the saddle.

One could have only have been impressed with his last two wins in Listed and Group 3 company. This lad has no problem to stay the distance and is one of the rare talent who can actually quicken from the front. He did this most impressively in the Listed Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown last month. More is required here today, it’s a much stronger field, but rated at 119, he is the class act.

He will have to be a genuine Leger contender if he wants to overcome his big mark today – I feel he has a good chance to do that. The wide draw is a problem, but he can be able to get across soon and track the pace. At 11/1 I’m rather with him than against him.

Fields Of Athenry @ 11/1 Stan James – 5pts Win