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Everything posted by stodge

  1. I confess it had completely passed me by until I saw the race mentioned in the Racing Post this morning but we had the £250,000 Bahrain international Trophy at Sakhir, which is, as we all know, the racecourse in Bahrain. Looks like it's near the F1 circuit. Anyway, a strong British and European contingent came for the race along with the Japanese challenger DEIRDRE for the 2000m race on grass which toom place on officially Good ground. Favourite was the John Gosden trained GLOBAL GIANT but the field included Group 1 winners LORD GLITTERS and SOVEREIGN along with the useful LOXLEY and BANG
  2. Well, that one passed me by - it seems like an eternity since COMIN' THROUGH was second in a Doncaster and got to within five lengths of WINX. He did nothing in Dubai in the winter of 2018 before coming to the UK and being given a rating of 110 (so Group class). Trainer George Scott saw that down to 86 - apart from a third at Goodwood this summer he was useless and crashed down the weights. He was sold in late October to his new owner, Jason McGannon - ran off 86 at Dundalk and then got dropped 3 lbs to 83. I think some people knew - he as backed in to 7/2 - and he still had 63.5 kil
  3. Not a lot to report up here currently. It's been confirmed TARNAWA will stay in training next year and Dermot Weld has said the Arc will be her main objective. Flat racing continues up here on the All-Weather and last Saturday at Lingfield DUBAI WARRIOR returned with a smooth victory in the Churchill Stakes. I imagine his target will be the Winter Derby once again though I just wonder if there will be any interest in a trip to Meydan once the Carnival starts in January. The Listed sprint went to GOOD REPORT who has won his last four on artificial surfaces and made good use of a low d
  4. Over here, it's quite interesting. Aidan O'Brien has finished second in the UK Trainers Championship - 13 winners and 53 places from 102 runners netted £2,463.090 in win and place money. The win rate is 12.7%. In third place is Mark Johnston whose 159 winners and 563 places from 1187 runners got him £2,051,694. The win rate is 13.4% so not much different. The top UK trainer is John Gosden - 139 winners and 266 places from 585 runners so that's £3,035,299. His win strike rate is an impressive 23.8%. Gosden has the best horses or certainly a lot of the very good ones and he is abl
  5. From the UK perspective, I suspect it'll have very little impact. Unless there is significant political pressure applied, the UK Tote will continue with the World Pool for the Royal meeting next year. It's unlikely China will do anything about the HKJC as long as the latter doesn't get involved in anything political. Beyond political control, China has been quite happy to allow HK to continue making money.
  6. Right on the mark there, my friend. Establish a country-wide pattern around a defined series of championship races leading (perhaps) to a big final day such as an Arc day, Champions Day or a Breeders Cup day. The US model of moving the big day round a series of tracks is interesting. In the UK, the big tracks do dominate - of the 36 Group 1 races, the majority are run at Ascot (13) and Newmarket (9). Epsom, Goodwood and York get three each, Doncaster has two and the others are at Newbury, Sandown and Haydock. It's unhealthy to have all the top races at just a couple of tracks in my view
  7. On to the second and final day of the Breeders Cup meeting at Keeneland which took pl ace on a sunny and unusually warm autumn afternoon. The turf was fast and the Dirt faster and the card kicked off with GAMINE smashing the 1400m track record in the Filly & Mare Sprint coming home by five lengths. With EQUILATERAL failing to get a run, GLASS SLIPPERS was left as the sole European in the Turf Sprint over 1100m. However, that made no odds as she came home to upset the American speedsters and score a famous victory in a race which eluded the great Dayjur thirty years ago. Tom
  8. The same is true up here - we have 36 Group 1 races in the UK. If I look at it fairly dispassionately, I could lose half of these. Races like the Ascot Gold Cup, the Leger and some of the juvenile races aren't really top races and are living on their history. I'd keep the Eclipse, King George, Juddmonte, the other four classics and a couple of the sprints but if we had 15 championship races that would strengthen the whole pattern.
  9. Looking from the outside and not knowing all the details, it reads as very positive news. My only question is whether the Strathayr track will be additional to or instead of the existing turf track? There's also the small matter of the jump track at Ellerslie used for the Great Northern among others - I presume that would be retained except for one year when the jumps races will have to be run elsewhere? 40 meetings a year is reasonable for an all-weather track - would there be any notion of using floodlights to stage night racing for sale to other markets?
  10. Am I right in thinking the top weight this year carried only 53 kg last year and finished fourth but now has to carry 59 kg?
  11. Yes, European horses travel widely around the world and even in Australia, the likes of PRINCE OF ARRAN and TRUE SELF have returned year after year without incident. I don't quite see the over-reaction to the fatality of ANTHONY VAN DYCK - I suppose a cynic might argue the Australians are so fed up of the Europeans plundering "their" race they are progressively making it harder so changes in weight allocation for Northern Hemisphere 3-y-o (which wouldn't have stopped TIGER MOTH winning had he not run into another Irish contender) and now proposals to extend quarantine periods. The fa
  12. The first day of the two-day Breeders Cup meeting at Keeneland had four Grade 1 races for the Juveniles so it’s like Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket only squeezed into one day. The Europeans were well represented in the turf races but not the Dirt events. The ground on the grass was officially Good after some rain on Thursday but it was a fine warm autumn day in Kentucky. The opening Grade 2 Juvenile Turf Sprint saw a dominant performance from GOLDEN PAL who broke well from the outside draw, came over, settled, and proceeded to control the race from the front and won by three q
  13. TRUE SELF followed up last year's win in this race having once again just missed out on a Melbourne Cup run. Last year he came into the Queen Elizabeth off a fine run behind PRINCE OF ARRAN in the Geelong Cup so you could imagine him being close in the MC. PONDUS ran well enough in defeat - I just think he wants even further and connections must be hoping they can somehow get him into the Melbourne Cup next year perhaps via one of the "win and you're in" races. I'm glad I got something right in the MacKinnon - it's basically the Australian version of the Opera or a Champion Stakes fo
  14. Another strong card at Flemington tomorrow morning (UK). PONDUS and TRUE SELF run in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2600m. The former was runner up in the Bendigo Cup and a repetition of that would probably be good enough. TRUE SELF was well held in the Caulfield Cup. However, both might struggle with LE DON DE VIE who was just denied in the Geelong Cup and who was rated 6 lbs superior to PONDUS in the UK. Also in the mix is Moonee Valley Gold Cup runner up SHARED AMBITION. No European trained runner in the MacKinnon this year. The wonderful Kiwi mare MELODY BELLE comes
  15. Before moving on to the rest of Saturday's Breeders Cup card, news today three-time Foret winner ONE MASTER has been retired. She had been due to run in the Mile but will now head to the paddocks. As she raced over 1400m, she didn't get the recognition she would have as a miler or sprinter. She placed in the Queen Anne and Falmouth and last time was a close third in the Champions Day Sprint but at 1400m she was a real champion. 10 run in the Turf over 2400m and this is the race the Europeans win more often than any other as the Americans don't run their horses over this trip too often. It
  16. On then to the first part of Saturday's stellar card at Keeneland. EQUILATERAL is a reserve for the Turf Sprint but GLASS SLIPPERS, who was second in the Abbaye last time, gets a run. I'm doubtful as to how she will go on the firm turf. The Filly & Mare Turf is over just 1750m here and can be up to 2100m at other venues so we're seeing the milers as well as the 2000m types in the field. PEACEFUL represents Aidan O'Brien and her Irish 1000 Guineas win was on quick ground. This may be short enough for CAYENNE PEPPER but ideal for TEREBELLUM who won a Group 2 at Newmarket on fast gr
  17. Very interesting prospect if it happened. She would be a 6-y-o mare if she came to Europe but both MAGICAL and ENABLE were still winning Group 1 races at that age. We know she goes on soft Australian turf but how would be go on Parisian Heavy? If it came up decent, she could run really well - on a line through ADDEYBB and MAGICAL she would have every right to be a big player at 2000-2400m races.
  18. For a supposedly disorganised people, the Americans have already sorted out the final fields and barrier draws for the Breeders Cup meeting on Friday and Saturday. I'll do the Friday preview tonight and split Saturday over tomorrow and Thursday. The American races have a maximum of 14 with up to three Reserves so that needs to be considered if you are punting in the big races. I'll be talking about these from a European perspective apart from the Classic. So, the Grade 2 Juvenile Turf Sprint over 1100m. MIGHTY GURKHA has drawn one and has blinkers on for the first time but
  19. Thanks for the kind word, my friend. It all worked out on the betting. I thought PRINCE OF ARRAN was really unlucky - if he'd got out when the jockey wanted, I think he'd have come over the top and snatched it. Between a quarter length last year, three parts this year.
  20. Back then to a review of the race from the European perspective. A 1-2-3 for European trained runners and a fine fourth for the Kiwis with THE CHOSEN ONE. Some of the fancied Oz horses just didn't get involved. I suppose some will ask how to end the European dominance - the problem is the Melbourne Cup has made itself attractive by the purse on offer. It's about the same value as the Breeders Cup Classic at Keeneland on Saturday. As the saying has it "money talks, men walk". The Arc is only worth £1.45 million but it's Europe's richest race and you can see why Flemington looks attra
  21. I ended up backing TWILIGHT PAYMENT each way at 33/1 and SURPRISE BABY on the nose so the book for the race is: TWILIGHT PAYMENT £ 5 each way at 33/1 - stake £10 Return £188.20 SURPRISE BABY £10 win at 13/2 stake £10 Return £0 That's a healthy profit on the race which will keep Mrs Stodge in a style to which she has become accustomed (and reminds me accordingly !!)
  22. A huge weekend approaching in North America with the Breeders Cup meeting taking place over two days at Keeneland. The meeting now has 13 Grade 1 championship races - a mixture of Dirt and Turf races but the Americans have the Dirt races to themselves but on the grass the Europeans often prove serious opposition. On Friday, Wesley Ward has 10 of the 24 entries in the Juvenile Turf Sprint over 1100m in which Aidan O'Brien has entered recent Doncaster winner LIPIZZANER with MIGHTY GURKHA and UBETTERBELIEVEIT also in the entries. The Juvenile Turf over 1600m has BATTLEGROUND as th
  23. We're a bit snobbish in the Northern Hemisphere about the Melbourne Cup though the prize money is nothing to sniff at in NH terms. We compare it to 3200m handicaps like the Northumberland Plate but it's far more than that - it's basically your version of the Arc. The best horses from 1600m upwards all turn up in the great race and the winner is almost always a class act. This year's renewal is another quality offering so who wins? I've gone through the eight European-trained challengers elsewhere and while I think two or three of them will go very close, I suspect this year the
  24. So we have the final field and barrier draw for the great race on Tuesday which is worth £2.3 million in UK to the winner. Eight European-trained runners in this year's renewal. TIGER MOTH is still 5/1 favourite but hasn't been given a kind draw. The question is whether he has the pace to get a position and utilise that to quicken off the home turn. He's a classic placed runner but not as experienced as REWILDING or CROSS COUNTER were but he must have a significant chance. ANTHONY VAN DYCK has been handed stall 3 which you might think a positive but I'm not so sure. Can Bowman a
  25. I don't disagree though a number of yards do try to imitate Tattenham Corner and the fancied runners can gallop round the track. Epsom isn't just a physical test - it's a mental test as well. These are still immature thoroughbreds - teenagers basically - and the Derby is a maelstrom of noise, colour and people. For those with temperament issues, the race can be over before the stalls crash open. It's 2400m and often an end-to-end gallop so it's a stamina-sapping test of both physical and mental strength. It can and does "bottom" and indeed ruin a horse but conversely those who