Tag Archives: Ryan Moore

Preview: Epsom Derby 2019

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No overly dramatic talk is needed about how great a race the Epsom Derby is. We all know it remains the number one in the racing calendar – the one not to miss, the date marked red. Personally I’m more in love with other races but the Derby is the Derby for a simple reason: it’s history defining.

Horses can contest it only once in their life: a chance to write history and following in the footsteps of racing greats such as Shergar, Galileo or Sea The Stars comes once and never again. Derby winners are remembered. The runner-up never is.

As we’re about to find out which colt will make history this year I have to confess: I’m all over Sir Dragonet to be the one remembered! I was delighted when he was supplemented for the race; as if there was ever any doubt after what he did at Chester?

Let me be frank: you don’t see all that often a horse doing what Sir Dragonet did in the Chester Vase last month. It was only his second career start after debuting only a fortnight earlier in a Tipperary maiden.

This fact shows the general inexperience of this son of Camelot. He’s got only two starts to his name to date. He certainly looked in need of the experience at Chester. He better have learned plenty that day.

Another concern is the ground. He’s only proven with cut in the ground. Epsom will ride much faster. hence you also can question the merit of the Chester form.

Those two question marks aside. there is so much more to love about Sir Dragonet. He’s obviously supremely well bred for the job, given his daddy was a Derby winner himself plus he has the legendary Urban Sea in his pedigree as well.

His debut performance at Tipperary was eye-catching. His Chester Vase was victory visually stunning. The way he moved through the early parts of the race, not quite comfortable, very much learning his craft, how he then made smooth progress on the outside from 4f out, turning for home hard on the bridle, and then pushed out a light under hands and heels ride to win by 8 lengths as easy as he liked.

This performance is highly rated on the clock as well. Sir Dragonet ran to a 106 Time Speed figure. Reminder: he did it on what was only his second ever career start and he did did it with ease. Insane.

More importantly: no other horse in this field ran faster so far – only stable mate Anthony Van Dyck ran to a TS rating of 100+ in this field – which he did as a juvenile over 7 furlongs.

That’s not to say the likes of Broome, Telecaster or Bangkok can’t improve for the Derby trip. The fact I merely state is that judged on time speed ratings – which I rate highly, even though they have their own flaws, of course – none of the other market principles has proven yet to be able to ran to anything that matches Sir Dragonet’s Chester run.

Whether he can reproduce such an impressive performance on different ground in a pressurised environment with loads of different sights and sounds is the main question. Of course that’s always the danger with an inexperienced individual as Sir Dragonet is.

Regardless; as unoriginal as it seems, given Sir Dragonet is heading the betting and is trained by Aiden O’Brien, he’s my clear choice for the 2019 Epsom Derby.

Selection:
10pts win – Sir Dragonet @ 3/1 PP

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Betting Preview: Cheshire Oaks 2019

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I have some sort of “love/hate” relationship with Chester – certainly from a betting perspective. I rarely get it right. On the other hand I do love the visual spectacle of the ever turning track. It makes for exciting viewing.

As for finding winners, as rare as it is, if they come, they’re more often than not trained by Aiden O’Brien. At this Chester May Festival you can pretty much blindly back his horses in the Group contests and you’d turn a profit – at least that was the case in the past.

Aiden O’Brien has won five of the last ten runnings of the Cheshire Oaks as well – can he do it again?

Certainly this years renewal looks competitive on paper. A couple of exciting- and race-fit fillies for John Gosden as well as the unbeaten Ralph Beckett trained Manuela De Vega make thinks interesting. Aiden O’Brien, though, throws only one dart at this race, and that’s usually a good sign.

There’s little secret about Secret Thoughts. The War Front daughter was a classy juvenile but was always sure to improve with age and when upped in trip. A good seasonal reappearance in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown over 7f should have put her right for Chester.

Under a sympathetic hands and heels ride she finished a decent 5th in a hot race that looks already incredibly strong form, judged through the winner Lady Kaya and the runner-up Happen.

Now stepping up dramatically in distance to 1m3½ furlongs, Secret Thoughts can improve again. The first foal we see on the racetrack of the wonderful former Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, the question won’t be so much about stamina, but more about whether she can settle, handles the track and will be able to show her best on soft ground.

There is plenty of rain on its way according to the weather forecast. I assume Secret Thoughts would prefer a sound surface. However, she has shown to act with cut in the ground as well. So that is encouraging. Possibly the fact she had enough speed to be competitive in 7 furlongs contests will be an advantage here as well, as she is wider drawn than it is ideal. Using early speed to move close to the pace is an advantage at Chester.

I’m slightly surprised by the odds on offer for Secret Thoughts. Given her trainers strong record and her excellent form, which is by far the strongest on offer in this field, odds around 7/2 appear overly generous – with or without rain.

Selection: 
10pts win – Secret Thoughts @ 7/2 MB

Friday Selections: August, 3rd 2018

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Three on the bounce! What rare joy to find a winner on three consecutive days – Land Force (7/2) clearly stayed the trip as hoped and won the Richmond Stakes in commanding style under a class ride by Ryan Moore.

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5.50 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 12f

It was a disappointing handicap debut for Floria Tosca the other day after she showed a bit of promise in three maiden starts. I was keen on her the last time as I thought that judged by her second start at Chelmsford she could be well treated off her opening mark. That form worked out incredibly well and her subsequent performance at Bath looked more than decent too.

A fortnight ago the race then didn’t quite worked out the way as hoped. They were crawling for most parts, Floria Tosca was left flat footed over 4f out but then made quite a bit of stylish progress to lead briefly over 2f out. She didn’t see it out eventually and that becomes a bit of a habit now, which is a concern.

Hopefully it is more greenness than anything else. She is bred for the job so upped to 12f may suit. There should be a fair pace on the cards today and it is very winnable race. Dropped 3lb to a mark off 70 plus interesting young apprentice Marco Ghiani in the saddle who claims another 7lb means the filly must enter calculations here.

Selection:
10pts win – Floria Tosca @ 11/1 PP

Friday Selections: July, 6th 2018

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4.40 Sandown: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 6f

This looks an ideal opportunity for handicap debutant Saroog to follow on from his excellent maiden win at Goodwood last month. He travelled strongly into the race and finished off a rival he had to give plenty of weight to who is a subsequent winner.

Saroog has fine form in his book with a couple of placed efforts earlier this year. A close runner-up behind Count Octave in April, who subsequently wasn’t disgraced in pattern races, showed there is potential.

An opening mark off 85 appears more than fair and leaves room for improvement. The trip and ground seems to suit. This lightly raced son of Nathanial could easily develop into a nice staying prospect.

Selection:
10pts win – Saroog @ 10/3 WH

Friday Selection: 18th August 2017

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No luck on Thursday. Beaten in second but certainly fair and square by a better horse was Call Me Grumpy, whereas Grand Myla never got a chance from her position and was hardly touched by Ryan Moore and looked more like a ride where winning was not necessarily the main thing on his mind.

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1.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Nursery, 5f

Poor race that is open for an upset. Owen The Law is an interesting All-Weather debutante, who has the pedigree to improve a good bit for the switch to this surface being a half-brother to a fair AW performer in Bazguy and his sire Equianio boosting a strong record with juveniles over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton.

First time visored, also dropping in trip, class and mark, with his latest form looking slightly better than the bare results suggests given it has been franked multiple times by horses around Owen The Law, I believe he can run a big race for a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Owen The Law @ 18/1 Bet365

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3.10 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 5f

Great Sound is one of two three year olds in this field but certainly the more promising one of the two. He is still very lightly raced and showed plenty of greenness in his two career starts to date.

He made a habit of breaking badly, which might be less a problem in the race today, stepping up another couple of furlongs which on pedigree does not look unlikely to suit.

He won on debut when giving his rider a hard time but eventually motored home in impressive style. He followed up with a third place albeit a good way beaten on handicap debut what looked a hot race with the impressive winner franking the form subsequently.

Great Sounds looks one who has still much more to give on his only third career start, he remains on the same mark which appears fair and the new trip can work in his favour.

Selection: 
10pts win – Great Sound @ 3/1 Bet365

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4.30 Wolverhampton, Class 5 Handicap, 9.5f

James Tate usually does incredibly well with his starters at Wolverhampton during this time of the year. So it looks significant that he pitches new recruit Dreaming Time into this wide open looking Handicap.

The filly is now in his care after leaving Hugo Palmer for whom she won a maiden at Lingfield but result wise disappointed on handicap debut at Chelmsford. However things didn’t go her way that day and it was a very hot race.

Back after a break for the new trainer she drops 4lb as well as two classes. So this should be much easier and the step up in trip to 9.5f seems a smart move. If she is race fit she must have a better chance than her price suggests to go close here.

Selection:
10pts win – Dreaming Time @ 10/1 Bet365

Thursday Selections – 17th August 2017

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Wolfcatcherjack was an impressive winner today, though it could have been a super day if Kryptos wouldn’t have been beaten by a head in a tight finish. Scoones and Regal Mirage were not quite good enough, though.

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4.50 Salisbury: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Ryan Moore on board for the sole runner of father Gary at Salisbury – interesting. Grand Myla is also interesting because she made an okay seasonal reappearance at Bath last month and drops now to a career lowest- and more realistic mark.

Conditions should suit and she has a good draw. Stripping fitter for the latest run and potentially with a bit of improvement left given she was a late foal, I feel she is overpriced here.

Selection:
10pts win – Grand Myla @ 8/1 William Hill

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6.30 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Call Me Grumpy deserves another chance after he was disappointingly turned over odds-on the last two times, though the Carlisle effort was most disappointing. However he seemed not to enjoy that experience that day, and a simpler test at straight Yarmouth may suit better.

He drops in class but remains largely up against older horses with not too much to worry from the two other 3yo’s in the field. De Sousa gets the leg up which is a boost given his record for the stable and at this track plus he rode Call Me Grumpy to victory at Sandown on handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Call Me Grumpy @ 4/1 Bet365

The Big Race: 2016 Coral Eclipse

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ONLY seven go to post, the Derby winner isn’t here, the 2000 Guineas winner isn’t here, yet only two individuals can boast Group 1 success in their CV…. this years Coral Eclipse is a slightly underwhelming affair, I have to say.

But the good thing is: potential superstar The Gurkha lines up in an attempt to make amends for what has to be regarded as a wasted chance when he was beaten in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot roughly a fortnight ago.

The Gurkha went off odds-on in the Group 1 contest, though endured not the best of luck in-running and maybe, only maybe Ryan Moore didn’t have his brightest moment either.

Whatever, it’s the past – the here is now. Aiden O’Brien’s inmate, a son of Galileo (how could it be any different?!) stormed last month to global attention in the Poule D’Essai Poulains – the French 2000 Guineas – where he blew his rivals away with a turn of foot that looked out of this world. Can he do the same today?

Absolutely! This lad is massive talent! Stepping up to 1m 2f should not be a problem at all, if not even bring out further improvement, and the softish ground is no trouble either. As a three year old he receives some handy amount of weight in a race without a clear danger from the brigade of older horses. Right?

Probably. Though the top rated horse is the four year old My Dream Boat. On official ratings The Gurkha has to find two pounds with the winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Trained by Clive Cox, My Dream Boat clearly ran to a career best at Royal Ascot, helped by the soft ground that day. He’s a real mud lover, without a shadow of a doubt and will hope Sandown retains as much rain in the turf as possible.

In my view he is clearly the biggest threat to The Gurkha from the older horses, though whether he can give the weight away against a rival most likely to improve another couple of pounds – I find it hard to see.

Widely regarded as the biggest threat in the public opinion is Roger Charlton’s Time Test. What’s in his favour is the relative freshness. He only had one start this season – a successful one, here at Sandown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes, a Group 3 event. It’s fair to say he may come on for the run and remains with potential to improve a bit for age, now as a four year old.

That says, he’s yet to prove himself on the highest level and probably is better suited to a fast surface. Yes, he does handle cut in the ground, but given a career best is required today, the ground is a worry.

Godolphin’s Hawkbill was a fine winner of the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. He’s unbeaten in his last five starts, so obviously on the up and could still have more to offer. He relishes today’s conditions and his prominent racing style should see him in a good position when it matters most.

We can’t completely rule out Western Hymn. The “senior” in the race, he’s ultra consistent and usually puts his best foot forward here at Sandown. So it would not be a surprise to see him finish in the money. Still, something dramatic would have to happen for him to win.

Verdict: Whenever I side with a hot odds-on favourite, it usually is the kiss of death for the well fancied horse. Nonetheless I can’t look past The Gurkha today and find it surprising to been able to snap up evens odds. He’s more like a 4/6 chance in my book.

Prediction:
1. The Gurkha
2. Hawkbill
3: My Dream Boat

Photo: thoroughbreddailynews.com