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On 5/5/2022 at 10:17 AM, Tauhei Notts said:

Stodge, your comments on the Chester Vase would be appreciated.

The winner looked good but that Chester Vase seems to me to be more like Omoto, near Greymouth, than a true test of a horse's ability.  I like Galileo bloodlines.

Please advise if I am being too cynical.

Apologies for the delay - been a busy few days.

A number of points - CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD did look good but he was gifted a 4-runner race by the lacklustre performance of the favourite, NEW LONDON. The latter was having his third race but his first going round a bend as his two other runs had been on the straight Rowley Mile at Newmarket.  He clearly didn't handle turning and the softer ground didn't help either - he looked like a car running with a flat tyre and ran like one as well.

The winner won by more than six lengths but was flattered by that. 

I compared Chester to Taupo but Omoto also works. It's basically 1400m round and you're on the turn all the time. It's not Epsom but it prepares inexperienced horses for Epsom and the truth is if a horse has the balance for Chester it generally handles Tattenham Corner and that's why the Vase (and the Dee) have been such good Derby trials down the year. Winning those proves both stamina and versatility and they are the key ingredients for Derby success.

The winner is now 13/2 in a race which has broken apart with the LUXEMBOURG problems. It may yet be DESERT CROWN will blitz the Dante field and be a real player but at the moment it's little more than a Ballydoyle gallop. I think The Curragh or possibly Doncaster for the leger would be better options for CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD.

As for Galileo bloodlines, who doesn't? His last progeny are foals and not many of them so we'll have a few years of him yet. The top sires currently are Frankel and Dubawi but Coolmore are singing the praises of Australia (the horse, not the country) as the potential successor to Galileo. 

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Just a quick mention - during the tv coverage of Chester last week, a video was played showing the 2018 Melbourne Cup winner, CROSS COUNTER, who has found his way from Dubai to the Godolphin rehoming centre at Newmarket.

He is being retrained as an event horse - they showed him jumping some poles and apparently the view is he has a real future in that sphere.

Enjoy:

 

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Starting the look back over the past few days with the highlights of the Chester May Meeting which is sponsored by Boodles, an upmarket jeweller in Knightsbridge.

Chester is a unique track, like Omoto or Taupo with a river, a railway and a Roman wall.

Godolphin had been dominating the early exchanges and of course had the 1-2 in the 2000 Guineas but at Chester Aidan O'Brien, Coolmore and Ryan Moore came roaring back. O'Brien had five winners at the meeting from five runners while Ryan Moore cleaned up with seven winners over the three days.

Needless to say. it was one way traffic in the Trials - the Chester Vase saw CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD hand out a six length beating to Godolphin's NEW LONDON while in the Cheshire Oaks THOUGHTS OF JUNE got one back against ABOVE THE CURVE, who had finished in front of her on the past two occasions. They were nicely ahead of the first local runner.

Thursday's Ormonde Stakes saw Group 1 runner up ALBAFLORA sent off a short price but though she had a good run into the race she found nothing for pressure and HAMISH came through to win. He's one who often performs best when fresh and ran down pace setter THUNDEROUS in the final 200m. The winner may go for the Hardwicke. The Dee saw yet another O'Brien colt enter the Derby picture with STAR OF INDIA putting up a decent performance under an excellent Ryan Moore ride.

Friday's Group 2 Huxley had just four runners but wasn't short on drama. It all went wrong for Frankie Dettori on MEGALLAN from the moment he was ambushed by ITV racing's Matt Chapman on the way to greet connections. The horse hated the turns and was never travelling. MAJESTIC DAWN did too much in front and that left SOLID STONE to come home unchallenged. The time was very good and this was arguably a career best from the  6-y-o who goes up to 112 and the owner's representative, the former jockey Bruce Raymond, suggested the Prince of Wales at Ascot as his next race.

The big handicap of the week is the Chester Cup over 3800m or two and a bit times round the Roodee. You'll go a long way to see a better ride than the one Ryan Moore gave CLEVELAND, a horse who had never gone beyond 2000m but this was a brilliant effort to prevail and you have to remember his brother is in critical condition in hospital after complications following a fall.

16,000 on the final day at Chester and it's always a good social occasion for the locals - I'm not sure the quality of the week overall is all that but it doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't.

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This week sees the racing circus move on to York for the three day Dante meeting starting on Wednesday and on Saturday it's the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury with the expected return of BAAEED for his 4-y-o campaign and those of us hoping for a clash with CORROEBUS at Goodwood will be hoping last year's top 3-y-o miler comes back on song.

11 stand in the Group 2 Duke of York over 1200m on Wednesday and it's the first chance of last year's 3-y-o sprinting crop to move fully into open company. The likes of DRAGON SYMBOL, MINZAAL and ROHAAN all ran well in Group 1 company last season - I fancied MINZAAL for the Champions Day Sprint and he ran a fine third while DRAGON SYMBOL was involved in that controversial Commonwealth Cup. 

On this season's form you have to consider HAPPY ROMANCE after his second in the Al Quoz Sprint while GARRUS has first time blinkers which is an interesting move after his second in the Abernant - he could be the each way play at 10s.

With both the Oaks and the Derby pictures far from clear and time running out, the Musidora over 2050m could be of real interest. EMILY UPJOHN impressed everyone at Sandown and if she builds on that she could be a big player in the classic let alone in Group 3 company. LIFE OF DREAMS swerved Lingfield for this - she's by Dubawi out of Endless Times - and looked really good on debut. Aidan O'Brien runs THE ALGARVE but his fillies seem not quite on the same level as colts yet.

The ground at York is Good with showers forecast.

BAAEED is 4/11 for the Lockinge on Saturday for which nine have been entered. His principal opposition looks to be the two top 3-y-o fillies from last year in MOTHER EARTH and ALCOHOL FREE but it'll be surprising if he doesn't prevail on his way to the Queen Anne.

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Two Group 2 races at York on Thursday and we've got the final declarations.

Six go in the Middleton for the older fillies and mares over 2050m. THUNDER KISS comes over from Ireland having won the Noblesse over 2400m at Cork. I'm a little concerned about the drop in trip on this quicker ground. NOON STAR was a one point an Oaks contender last spring and while being beaten four lengths by Snowfall in the Musidora didn't look too strong at the time, with hindsight it was a fine effort. She was sixth in the Ribblesdale and not beaten far and returned with a decent win at Nottingham the other day. I'm hoping she can now start to fulfil her potential.

The problem is her trainer Sir Michael Stoute sets us a bit of a poser by also running Dahlia runner up VILLE DE GRACE and she's closely matched with NOON STAR. Finally we have FORBEARANCE, another Irish raider whose form is at 2400m.

I think this could be a 1-2 for Stoute and I just prefer NOON STAR though it's not an easy choice with her stable companion.

Stoute has the favourite in the big Derby Trial, the Dante, also over 2050m. DESERT CROWN is the archetypal talking horse - his odds have been slashed from 33s to 6s for Epsom and many see him as the only hope of breaking the Ballydoyle stranglehold on the Classic. DESERT CROWN won on debut last autumn on soft ground at Nottingham by five and a half lengths. He could literally be anything but to warrant a Derby option I think he has to win.

EL BODEGON is top rated having beaten current Derby favourite STONE AGE in the Criterium de Saint Cloud last autumn. If he's maintained his improvement, he'll take a lot of beating. MAGISTERIAL represents Bjorn Nielsen and the Gosden/Dettori combination but this is a huge step up from a Leicester maiden while ROYAL PATRONAGE loves the track having won the Acomb but he was eighth in the 2000 Guineas. BLUESAX represents Aidan O'Brien and Coolmore but his fourth in the Ballysax doesn't look good enough for all he will come on for the run.

9/4 is ridiculous for DESERT CROWN and that makes Group 1 winner EL BODEGON look a bit of value at 7/2.

Just a reminder Group 1 action in France on Sunday with the Poulains and the Pouliches over 1600m at Longchamp. It's second forfeit for both races tomorrow morning - Craven runner up CLAYMORE is supposedly heading for the Poulains while 1000 Guineas winner CACHET is in the Pouliches - more on these on Friday.

 

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I'm aware there's plenty from last weekend to mop up but a quick look at Friday's York card where the feature is the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup over 2800m.

This is the traditional curtain-raiser to the stayers' pattern which of course includes the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup on the way to the Champions Day Stayers.

Just five run and with TRUESHAN avoiding quick ground, the old stager STRADIVARIUS is back at one of his happiest hunting grounds. He was put in his place by the former on soft ground in the autumn and wasn't given one of Dettori's best rides when fourth in the Gold Cup but he won both the Lonsdale and the Doncaster Cups last summer.

The problem is he has to carry the Group 2 penalty which means giving 6 lbs to SEARCH FOR A SONG. She was turned over in the Vintage Crop last time but that will set her straight for this - the problem for me is she's inconsistent and her better days seem too infrequent. MAX VEGA won the John Porter at Newbury last month and should be okay at this longer trip,

The interesting one is TASHKHAN who is only a 4-y-o. He was 50s when chasing home TRUESHAN in the Champions Day Stayers and was fifth in the Sagaro two weeks ago, not beaten far. I'm not sure dropping back 400m is ideal but if they go a decent clip he'll have a chance.

Ifs, buts and maybes about this lot - MAX VEGA would be no more than a tentative suggestion.

On a related, some concerns about the effect of the economic crisis on racecourse attendances with a view people are starting to realise they have to cut back. The total attendance at Chester was 34,900 over the three days, well down from the near 54,000 who attended the last time the track was open to crowds in 2019. Today was York was reportedly very quiet with vetting turnover down 30% and York conveniently (perhaps) unable to give a crowd figure.

It may be these three and four day meetings will see big crowds on just one day and I still think Ascot will fill given its base but there have been signs in recent weeks of attendances falling back and it's not helped when Fontwell dish up 36 runners for a 7-race card (with 11 in the handicap hurdle that means 25 for 6 races including chases with 2 and 3 runners which does no one any real good).

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Nine go in Saturday's Lockinge at Newbury over the straight 1600m.

BAAEED is 4/11 and that's no surprise - it was a vintage year for 3-y-o colt milers with POETIC FLARE early on but BAAEED emerged in the second half of the season winning 6 races including the Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth at Ascot where he beat PALACE PIER who had enjoyed some vintage classics with POETIC FLARE.

As to whether CORROEBUS will be that kind of miler, time will tell but the Lockinge is not for the 3-y-o and BAAEED comes in on 125, a clear 7 lbs ahead of the others. He should win but he's no price for the average punter.

MOTHER EARTH won the 1000 Guineas and the Rothschild and placed in five other Group 1 races. Arguably  her form tailed off at the end of the season but she returned with a nice win at Leopardstown. She was three lengths behind BAAEED in the Queen Elizabeth and shouldn't reverse. ALCOHOL FREE won the Coronation and the Sussex and might have needed the race at Sandown the other day for all she was disappointing. The straight 1600m might help.

Of the others, most have plenty to find but I think CHINDIT could run a big race. He won the Greenham last year over the 1400m and after a winter of development won well over the straight 1600m at Doncaster. He was fifth in the 2000 Guineas when not quite getting home over the 1600m and a year on I think he now has the strength to see out the trip and at 16s he's a knocking each way bet (I'm on at 20s).

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Final declarations are through for the Poulains and Pouliches at Longchamp on Sunday. The ground in Paris is currently on the Slow side of Good.

15 go in the Pouliches for the fillies over 1600m. CACHET won the English 1000 Guineas a fortnight ago making every yard - she'll do well to repeat that and it'll be a huge task for James Doyle to get the fractions right but she brings the best form in the race and is worthy favourite.

ROSACEA looks the best of the locals having won the Grotte beating DAISY MAISY and MANGOUSTINE a month ago while Aidan O'Brien, whose classic winning machine was derailed at York this week, relies on maiden winner TOY for whom this looks a big ask. 

MQSE DE SEVAIGNE won the Vanteaux and could be anything but I'm more interested in Fred Darling runner up JUMBLY who looks to have claims - he was a couple of lengths behind CACHET in the Rockfel last year but on this sharper track could be the one to peg back the English classic winner.

16 go in the Poulains for the colts over 1600m. Nothing comes out of the English 1000 Guineas but last year demonstrated it's folly to assume this is a weaker race - ST MARK'S BASILICA came here and began his road to becoming champion 3-y-o. MODERN TIMES represents Godolphin and won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf - this is a different challenge but he brings some decent form to the table. CLAYMORE chased home NATIVE TRAIL in the Craven and has a big chance.

BAYSIDE BOY was third to NATIVE TRAIL in the Dewhurst and chased home LUXEMBOURG in the Futurity at Doncaster - that's serious form but the absence of a start this campaign worries a little. The French 3-y-o look a moderate bunch - WELWAL won the Fontainebleau which is as good as anything but I've had a little each way on BAYSIDE BOY at 10s which looks a big price on the form.

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I note that Claymore has weakened from 6 to 1 to 7 to one.  He has the visitors' draw.

Unfortunately our TAB channel closes at midnight our time on a Sunday evening, so they only only show the first race from Longchamps.

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12 hours ago, Tauhei Notts said:

I note that Claymore has weakened from 6 to 1 to 7 to one.  He has the visitors' draw.

Unfortunately our TAB channel closes at midnight our time on a Sunday evening, so they only only show the first race from Longchamps.

Yeah, he'll do very well to win from that stall. Unfortunately, the better the ground the stronger the draw bias to the low numbers - in 2018, the race was run on Good ground and the first three home were 3,2 and 6.

Might still be an each way play as I expect he'll be running on strong down the outside but it's a big field as well (biggest for a good few years) and that doesn't help.

He's still in the Derby but I wonder if the King Edward VII at Ascot might be the better objective.

 

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Never stood a chance. Kirby bounced him out to try to get position but he did far too much in a fast run race - they ran a very quick first 1000m - and weakened rapidly in the final 300m. Finished a long last.

BUT the horse inside him, from stall 15, TEXAS, ran a huge race at 113/1 to finish second splitting the two Godolphin runners so I don't know - perhaps the second is much better than everyone thought.

Ground officially Good to Soft but they ran sub 1:35 for the 1600m which suggests the ground was much nearer Good.

 

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Instead of the usual meeting review, I thought I'd bring everyone up to date with the state of the Derby and Oaks with just three weeks to go before the classics at Epsom.

Starting with the colts and DESERT CROWN (Nathaniel - Desert Berry ex Green Desert) had been 33/1 through the winter having won a single maiden at Nottingham last autumn, albeit by five lengths. Six weeks ago, rumours began to surface of some very good work before a brief setback. At Chester, the racing manager for the Owner, who had last tasted Derby success with Kris Kin back in 2003, suggested the colt was back and working well and that sent his odds tumbling to 6s.

After his impressive win in the Dante,  he is now 2/1 favourite for the Blue Riband. For a horse having only his second outing, he looked very professional and travelled strongly into the race having too much speed and stamina for 2000 Guineas eighth ROYAL PATRONAGE. Sir Michael Stoute, the horse's veteran trainer, has won plenty of Derbies though his last was Workforce. DESERT CROWN looks to go well on decent ground and to have all the attributes for a Derby contender.

Aidan O'Brien has dominated the Irish trials and was also dominant at Chester but York was disappointing. STONE AGE won the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown convincingly and has much more experience than DESERT CROWN. Whether he has the same raw talent remains to be seen. The Master of Ballydoyle also has key trial winners in CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD (8s), STAR OF INDIA (10s) and UNITED NATIONS (12s). They've all won key British trials - the first two at Chester and the last at Lingfield and UNITED NATIONS shaped with a lot of promise in Epsom's own Trial race in April. Whether they'll all turn up at Epsom remains to be seen.

PIZ BADILE is trained by Aidan's son, Joseph and won the Ballysax which has been a real stepping stone for some great horses in the past. 

EYDON's fourth in the 2000 Guineas makes him a real contender in my eyes and he's 16s along with Lingfield Derby Trial runner up WALK OF STARS who looks the number one for Godolphin.

The Sandown Classic Trial winner WESTOVER is also at 16s but don't rule out the runner up that day, CASH, who was finishing strongly, at 20s. The Epsom Derby trial winner NAHANNI is at 25s and he has already won over 2400m so that could be a big price.

On to the fillies in the Oaks and the market is dominated by EMILY UPJOHN who destroyed the Musidora field winning by five and a half lengths and is 5/4 favourite. We've raised some questions about her action and how she would cope with really quick ground so weather watching might be useful.

1000 Guineas third TUESDAY looks the Ballydoyle pick and she is 4s - the winner CACHET just failed in the Pouliches this afternoon. NASHWA looks happy whatever the ground but it's a huge jump in grade for all she is with the Gosdens and third best at 7s.  

Pretty Polly winner WITH THE MOONLIGHT looks better than Musidora runner up LIFE OF DREAMS from the Godolphin team while Aidan O'Brien also has Irish trial winners CONCERT HALL and HISTORY along with Cheshire Oaks winner THOUGHTS OF JUNE - all at double figure prices. 

I thought MOON DE VEGA had a horrible run at Chester but kept on really well for fourth and rates a solid each way suggestion at 66s.

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Elsewhere at York....

A quiet opening day to the Dante meeting with a sparse crowd in all honesty. The Group 2 Duke of York starts the road to the Platinum Jubilee and the July Cup for the 1200m horses. Last year's 3-y-o crop were well represented headed by Commonwealth Cup winner DRAGON SYMBOL and Champions Sprint third MINZAAL but both were well held by the 5-y-o mare HIGHLAND PRINCESS who had worked her way from winning a warm Ascot handicap over 1400m at the Royal meeting to competing in Group races by season end.

This was an improved performance though I thought MINZAAL ran a promising race in third with SPYCATCHER also running really well in second. The 1200m division is in its early stages and we'll know more in the coming weeks but the Australian sprinters may well not have much to beat come June.

Sir MIchael Stoute may have had an impressive colt in the Dante but his two older fillies in the Middleton over 2050m both disappointed. LILAC ROAD (Mastercraftsman - Lavender Lane ex Shamardal) is another late-developing type who has been brought along slowly by the Haggas yard and she looks a nice sort on this evidence. She saw off the pace setter ARISTIA who ran a big price at 20s. I'm not sure of future plans.

Friday saw the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup over 2800m and the return of the wonderful 8-y-o entire STRADIVARIUS (the National Hunt breeders are salivating at the prospect of introducing him to some of their choice mares) for his final visit to the Knavesmire where he has won six times in his career. He didn't let the crowd down seeing off THUNDEROUS and TASHKHAN. He's 5s for the Gold Cup but so much will depend on the weather - if it's wet, TRUESHAN will be a serious opponent while KYPRIOS has emerged from Ballydoyle as their new staying hope after a 14-length romp in the Saval Beg at Leopardstown.

The attendance numbers recovered on Friday but overall the numbers were well down on 2019 -  advance ticket sales were good but walk-ups on the day were disappointing. It may be as the economic situation forces people to cut back we'll see people attending one or two days rather than all three at a meeting. It'll be interesting to see if this trend continues at Newmarket or Goodwood or even Ascot and Epsom.

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Time to look back at a weekend dominated by three Group 1 races - the Poulains and the Pouliches at Longchamp and the Lockinge at Newbury.

All three races over a mile or 1600m - two for the 3-y-o and one for the older horses.

Poule D'Essai Des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) : 

An embarrassment of riches for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby who follow up their 1-2 at Newmarket with a win in Paris. MODERN TIMES did this very well and heads for both the St James's Palace (and a clash with stable mate CORROEBUS) and then perhaps the Eclipse. He handles quick ground as he showed at Del Mar last autumn and the decent ground in Paris proved no obstacle as he was always well placed and undoubtedly the low draw helped.

TEXAS ran a blinder from stall 15 (he was 113/1 in the betting) and I can only put this down to better ground. Andre Fabre had 3-4 with the Godolphin TRIBALIST in third but I was very taken with the run of ANCIENT ROME in fourth - he was staying on well and that looked a strong Jockey Club trial. LASSAUT and WELWAL looked the best of the locals on form and they ran okay without ever quite looking like getting involved.

On then to the fillies and the favourite for the Pouliches was the English 1000 Guineas winner, CACHET.

Poule D'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas): 

A real bunch finish and while you can make every yard in one classic, it's much harder to do it in two. Would CACHET have won from a lower draw? It's hard not to think the effort of crossing from stall 10 to take the lead told in the final 50m. She's run another blinder and I'd love to see her in the Coronation at Ascot - the winner was well placed and the run was beautifully timed by Michael Delzangles. She's 9s for the Coronation with CACHET 6s in a market where INSPIRAL is 2s favourite despite not having raced so far this season.

TIMES SQUARE was beaten a neck in third and that was her best effort since finishing runner up in the Marcel Boussac.

With the first six split by a length and a quarter you'd be hard pushed to say there was a star among the 3-y-o fillies so far but we may know more after The Curragh at the weekend. 

On to Newbury and the start of the mile Pattern for the older horses which leads to the Queen Anne at Ascot and then to the Sussex at Goodwood. BAAEED proved a revelation from mid summer last year winning six races including the Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II. He went off 4/9 against a decent field including the Group 1 winning fillies MOTHER EARTH and ALCOHOL FREE.

Lockinge Stakes: 

This race has had some impressive winners in its time and BAAEED sits right up there on this performance.

The time was very decent - 1 minute 35.71 for the straight 1600m, just over a quarter of a second below standard and he made some very good horses look ordinary. The likes of REAL WORLD and ALCOHOL FREE have mixed it at the very highest level and frankly BAAEED blew them away on his seasonal debut.

He's 2/5 for the Queen Anne which looks at his mercy on this evidence. From there, who knows - a clash with CORROEBUS in the Sussex (one to savour) or a step up to 2000m for the Eclipse or the Juddmonte? It's a nice problem to have - I'd love to see him meet CORROEBUS (assuming the latter wins the St James's Palace) at Goodwood though the temptation for future breeding of having a 2000m Group 1 on the list is obvious.

He's a full of course to HUKUM who races over 2400m so all the evidence suggests 2000m, especially at a flat track like York, would be right up his street. We've still got the Derby and Oaks to come and something might yet emerge from those two races (as Snowfall did last year) to break into the very top ranks.

 

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4 hours ago, stodge said:

Time to look back at a weekend dominated by three Group 1 races - the Poulains and the Pouliches at Longchamp and the Lockinge at Newbury.

All three races over a mile or 1600m - two for the 3-y-o and one for the older horses.

Poule D'Essai Des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) : 

An embarrassment of riches for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby who follow up their 1-2 at Newmarket with a win in Paris. MODERN TIMES did this very well and heads for both the St James's Palace (and a clash with stable mate CORROEBUS) and then perhaps the Eclipse. He handles quick ground as he showed at Del Mar last autumn and the decent ground in Paris proved no obstacle as he was always well placed and undoubtedly the low draw helped.

TEXAS ran a blinder from stall 15 (he was 113/1 in the betting) and I can only put this down to better ground. Andre Fabre had 3-4 with the Godolphin TRIBALIST in third but I was very taken with the run of ANCIENT ROME in fourth - he was staying on well and that looked a strong Jockey Club trial. LASSAUT and WELWAL looked the best of the locals on form and they ran okay without ever quite looking like getting involved.

On then to the fillies and the favourite for the Pouliches was the English 1000 Guineas winner, CACHET.

Poule D'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas): 

A real bunch finish and while you can make every yard in one classic, it's much harder to do it in two. Would CACHET have won from a lower draw? It's hard not to think the effort of crossing from stall 10 to take the lead told in the final 50m. She's run another blinder and I'd love to see her in the Coronation at Ascot - the winner was well placed and the run was beautifully timed by Michael Delzangles. She's 9s for the Coronation with CACHET 6s in a market where INSPIRAL is 2s favourite despite not having raced so far this season.

TIMES SQUARE was beaten a neck in third and that was her best effort since finishing runner up in the Marcel Boussac.

With the first six split by a length and a quarter you'd be hard pushed to say there was a star among the 3-y-o fillies so far but we may know more after The Curragh at the weekend. 

On to Newbury and the start of the mile Pattern for the older horses which leads to the Queen Anne at Ascot and then to the Sussex at Goodwood. BAAEED proved a revelation from mid summer last year winning six races including the Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II. He went off 4/9 against a decent field including the Group 1 winning fillies MOTHER EARTH and ALCOHOL FREE.

Lockinge Stakes: 

This race has had some impressive winners in its time and BAAEED sits right up there on this performance.

The time was very decent - 1 minute 35.71 for the straight 1600m, just over a quarter of a second below standard and he made some very good horses look ordinary. The likes of REAL WORLD and ALCOHOL FREE have mixed it at the very highest level and frankly BAAEED blew them away on his seasonal debut.

He's 2/5 for the Queen Anne which looks at his mercy on this evidence. From there, who knows - a clash with CORROEBUS in the Sussex (one to savour) or a step up to 2000m for the Eclipse or the Juddmonte? It's a nice problem to have - I'd love to see him meet CORROEBUS (assuming the latter wins the St James's Palace) at Goodwood though the temptation for future breeding of having a 2000m Group 1 on the list is obvious.

He's a full of course to HUKUM who races over 2400m so all the evidence suggests 2000m, especially at a flat track like York, would be right up his street. We've still got the Derby and Oaks to come and something might yet emerge from those two races (as Snowfall did last year) to break into the very top ranks.

 

Baaeed is a special horse Stodge…he showed that last season and looks like he is going on with it.

Crowley never touched him winning that. Very astute stable.

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16 hours ago, Ohokaman said:

Baaeed is a special horse Stodge…he showed that last season and looks like he is going on with it.

Crowley never touched him winning that. Very astute stable.

Certainly looks the real deal, my friend.

Some are already calling him the best since Frankel and that's some accolade.

The plan (I suspect) is the Queen Anne and the Juddmonte but after that, who knows? 

One thing of which I'm certain he will be retired at the end of the season and if they can get a couple of 2000m Group 1 races on his profile that will do his stallion fee no harm and I suspect both Darley and Coolmore will be looking at possible mares. Obviously, it will be a huge fillip for Shadwell if he makes the grade at stud and emerges as a major force to challenge the likes of Frankel and Dubawi down the road.

For now, the question is whether anything among the 3-y-o can give him a race later in the season.

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A busy weekend approaching with the Irish taking centre stage for their Guineas Festival.

Nine stand in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh, where the ground is currently Yielding. NATIVE TRAIL looks the form standout at 4/11 suggests most punters agree - he only just failed against his stable mate at Newmarket but with the winner going straight to Ascot and the third side-lined we don't have a clear view of the strength of the form.

The ratings confirm his apparent superiority - he's on 121 and his closest rival is on 110. That's Tetrarch winner BUCKAROO (a child's board game from the 1970s for those of memory). Previously, he had chased home Derby hope PIZ BADILE in the Ballysax so a searching gallop would likely help but NATIVE TRAIL perhaps got a little unbalanced on the quick ground at Newmarket and this ground will be much more to his liking. It'll be a real shock if NATIVE TRAIL is turned over.

Sunday sees both the 1000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup for the older horses over 2000m for which Cox Plate and Ganay winner STATE OF REST takes on Dubai winner LORD NORTH.

In the UK, a quieter weekend but at Haydock, two Group 2 races of some interest. The ground is currently Good.

The Sandy Lane for the 3-y-o over 1200m is a key trial for the Commonwealth Cup and this is another strong renewal. GO BEARS GO was a Group 1 winning juvenile and returned with a good win at Ascot. He's top rated and has obvious claims. I prefer him to EL CABALLO, the current favourite whose last four wins have been on the synthetic surfaces including wins in the Spring Cup at Lingfield (1400m) and the all-weather finals day Sprint (1200m) at Newcastle. He's now in the big leagues on his first turf outing since May 2021.

FLAMING RIB was last in the Greenham but returned with a pacy win over the 1000m at Chester - he has a lot to prove in Group 2 company. Clive Cox is a trainer who handles sprinters particularly well and he runs two - CATURRA went to a Group 3 at Chantilly on seasonal debut and ran a decent second. WINGS OF WAR won the Mill Reef as a juvenile but was last in the Ascot race won by GO BEARS GO and he'll need to have come on a lot for the run but he's a sporting 14/1 each way with the cheekpieces fitted for the first time.

I'm on GO BEARS GO and I think he could be a very useful sprinter.

The Temple over 1000m used to be run at Sandown but moved here a few years back and thanks to Battaash established itself as a key trial for the King's Stand. That wonderful sprinter is now retired and WINTER POWER is favourite for this year's renewal. If this race were at York, she's be odds on - her Nunthorpe win was superb - but elsewhere she has looked vulnerable. She was disappointing at The Curragh and Longchamp last back end and got in the sprint battle in last year's King's Stand and didn't get home. Haydock's straight 1000m is close to York's and she may well prevail. 

She's 9 lbs ahead of the others and gets the mares allowance so 13/8 could be quite generous. It's not often a 3-y-o runs in this but I backed LAST CRUSADER at York last week and he made every yard - whether he can go with the Group 2 speedballs I'm not sure. KING'S LYNN represents HMQ but he was well held by FLAMING RIB at Chester. Old MOSS GILL catches the eye and bits of form give him a real chance but he's always blown out at the top table. 

It's a bit boring but WINTER POWER looks the one.

Just 9 in the Preakness at Pimlico and while the draw has done Kentucky Derby runner up EPICENTER no favours, he still brings the best recent form. However, it's fascinating to see the Kentucky Oaks winner SECRET OATH in the field - the last filly to win the Preakness was Rhine Maiden in 1915 and the last filly to be placed was the useful Winning Colors in 1988. She gets the allowance and could go very close against the boys.

 

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On 5/12/2022 at 8:11 PM, stodge said:

Nine go in Saturday's Lockinge at Newbury over the straight 1600m.

BAAEED is 4/11 and that's no surprise - it was a vintage year for 3-y-o colt milers with POETIC FLARE early on but BAAEED emerged in the second half of the season winning 6 races including the Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth at Ascot where he beat PALACE PIER who had enjoyed some vintage classics with POETIC FLARE.

Of the others, most have plenty to find but I think CHINDIT could run a big race. He won the Greenham last year over the 1400m and after a winter of development won well over the straight 1600m at Doncaster. He was fifth in the 2000 Guineas when not quite getting home over the 1600m and a year on I think he now has the strength to see out the trip and at 16s he's a knocking each way bet (I'm on at 20s).

A rare chance to blow my own trumpet. Came in third at 20s so a nice each way draw.

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Back from two weeks cruising down to Iberia and back - most enjoyable it was too.

Back just in time for the Epsom Derby and Oaks which coincide of course with HMQ's Platinum Jubilee. She may be missing the Thanksgiving Service but I suspect she'll fetch up to the Downs tomorrow for all her main hope for the Blue Riband hasn't quite lived up to the hype of last summer.

After rain up here, the ground is just on the slow side of good - we've had a few meetings cut short due to rain on lush turf.

Today's card has two Group 1 races - the Coronation Cup and the Oaks, both over the iconic 2400m. The former is for the older horses but this year's renewal looks a bit poor to be honest - the race only goes for £250,000 these days and urgently needs some boosting in my view.

Top rated is last year's winner PYLEDRIVER on 120 and he was a close fourth in the Sheema Classic on World Cup night but his limitations against the very best have been exposed more than once. With only five rivals, he may be able to dominate in a way he can't in a big field. HIGH DEFINITION was the big Ballydoyle talking horse and at one point was Derby favourite until finishing third to HURRICANE LANE in the Dante which was followed by a miserable performance in the Irish Derby.

After a couple of modest efforts early on this year, he returned a much better effort in the Tattersalls Gold Cup just failing to beat ALENQUER. I've not seen the race but I'm told Ganay winner STATE OF REST should have won but wasn't given the best ride by Shane Crosse. Mixing it with the likes of STATE OF REST and LORD NORTH puts you at the top table over 2000m but this 400m remains a doubt for me.

We now know HUKUM as BAAEED's full brother but he's a decent type in his own right for all his limitations at Group 1 have also been exposed - he was just behind PYLEDRIVER in the bunch finish for the Sheema Classic. 

MANOBO is the problem here - he also ran on World Cup night but second in the 3200m race. We know he stays and that's a useful attribute at Epsom but he's untested at Group 1 level.

PYLEDRIVER probably wins this if he brings his best to the table.

The Oaks is the third classic of the season and the second for the 3-y-o fillies. EMILY UPJOHN has been widely touted for this since her Sandown maiden win and followed up in style at York. She ticks a lot of the boxes and could be very special - her main opposition looks to be her stable companion NASHWA and she could improve past her higher rated stable companion. Aidan O'Brien saddles TUESDAY who brings classic form to the table having run third in the English 1000 Guineas and then second to the hugely impressive HOMELESS SONGS in Ireland just 12 days ago. Her breeding screams for this trip and she could very easily be much better than the Gosden fillies.

Aidan saddles four of the eleven in total and CONCERT HALL was third at The Curragh, just a length behind TUESDAY. THOUGHTS OF JUNE won the Cheshire Oaks in which MOON OF VEGA was a very unlucky fourth having been hampered on the home turn and coming home really well. I was taken and have had a fiver each way at 33s this morning.

Who wins? I suspect EMILY UPJOHN and TUESDAY will be fighting out the business end and I'm just with the latter if her excursions a fortnight ago haven't left a mark.

 

 

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On to Saturday and 17 go in the Derby which is being run in the memory of Lester Piggott, arguably the greatest rider in the history of the race.

At £910,000 to the winner, it's one of Britain's most prestigious races but if I'm being honest there's a fair bit of dead wood in the field.

The top three in the betting are rated 117, 116 and 115 and they look the best place to start. DESERT CROWN did it really well in the Dante and I suppose the question is will his temperament stand the fever of Derby Day? It's an imponderable but this is only his third race and the Derby is often rough. STONE AGE is one of three from Ballydoyle and he won the credential Derby trial at Leopardstown. I'm not sure of the strength of the form but he has to be respected. NATIONS PRIDE has come to the fore in the last week - he won a Listed at Newmarket by seven lengths but this is a huge step forward.

CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD won the Chester Vase and STAR OF INDIA won the Dee at the same track but I'd be surprised if either were good enough. 

The one I like at a big price is ROYAL PATRONAGE who was eighth in the 2000 Guineas and chased home DESERT CROWN in the Dante. That shouldn't be good enough but Epsom can be a front runner's track and he has more experience than many - he's 33s and I've had a small play but the record of Dante runners up at Epsom is terrible which is sobering.

PIZ BADILE hasn't been seen since winning the Ballysax and could be anything.

This is one of those races where the favourite, at 7/4, will either look the greatest value of all times and you'll be kicking yourself for not wading in or will look a complete dud.

This doesn't look a strong race - there's no real Guineas form and Group 1 form in general is in short supply. Short answer now is I don't know who wins - STONE AGE could be the answer. 

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15 go in the Jockey Club at Chantilly on Sunday which is worth £720,000 to the winner.

As we know, it's run over 2050m and the ground at the beautiful Parisian track is Good to Soft.

Charlie Appleby sends over MODERN TIMES who won the Poulains and had a number of his opponents behind next day. The most interesting of his rivals looks to be Guiche winner VADENI who looked a lot happier at 1800m and promises to see out the extra trip really well.

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5 hours ago, Tauhei Notts said:

Hey, Stodge; brilliant quinella!

Yes, well - won and lost at the start. 

Extraordinary by Dettori and EMILY UPJOHN to get so close after such a poor break and she's now favourite for the Arc (yes, I know) on the back of that.

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More details to follow but DESERT CROWN put up a very strong performance to win the Derby.

The clash between him and EMILY UPJOHN is going to be the talk of the summer but I suspect it won't happen before the Arc.

I'd love them both to run in the King George but I'm not convinced that will happen.

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