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At York, the ground is Good to Firm, Good in places ahead of the Dante meeting starting on Wednesday but rain is forecast tomorrow.

We have the final declarations for the opening day and the Group 2 Duke of York has a field of 15 and they go 5/1 the field which tells us you need to know about the older sprinting division currently. One of the key questions is whether last year's winner AZURE BLUE will be in the same form as she was before her sixth in the July Cup which was her last run. I like SWINGALONG who was third in the Commonwealth Cup last year as well as running fourth in the Haydock Sprint Trophy. That's decent Group 1 form, we know she likes the course and goes on quick ground so if the rain doesn't change things too much, she has serious claims. 

She holds MILL STREAM on Haydock form but the latter started 2024 well with a close second in the Abernant at Newmarket and both the winner, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS and the third, SPYCATCHER, re-oppose and I think the latter could go very close. 

The older sprinters KHAADEM and ART POWER, both Group 1 winners in their time, are to be respected and it's going to be an informative race. I won't be playing but SWINGALONG will go close and I like SPYCATCHER though at 8s the each way value has gone.

FRIENDLY SOUL won the Pretty Polly at Newmarket (a Group 1 in Ireland but only a Listed in England) but that was an eyechatching performance and she's 4/5 to win the Group 3 Musidora. She's not in the Oaks but could be supplemented. On breeding, 2000m is about her limit but she looked good at Newmarket.

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Looking ahead to Thursday on the Knavesmire and with some rain falling this afternoon and showers forecast, the ground had eased slightly to Good, Good to Firm in places.

J>ust six go in the Group 2 Middleton for the fillies and mares over 1800m. FREE WIND won this last year and I forgot that while she has soft ground form she's probably better on a quicker surface and her second to WARM HEART in the Yorkshire Oaks reads well as does her fifth in the King George at Ascot but she failed on slower ground in the Arc and in the Fillies and Mares on Champions Day so if the ground were to quicken she'd have a real chance.

BLUESTOCKING was behind her in the Yorkshire Oaks but in front of her in the Fillies and Mares. You could argue at 2400m there wouldn't be much between them but at this shorter trip I'm less convinced about either of the front two. SAPPHIRE ROSE represents Godolphin and had a strong 3-y-o campaign ending up winning a Listed at Yarmouth. She was runner up in the Balanchine at Meydan in the winter and could be on the upgrade and this trip will suit well.

INFINITE COSMOS was third in last year's Musidora but hasn't really gone on from that. 

This is another race to swerve for punting purposes but I'd give SAPPHIRE SEA a chance against the front two.

Seven go in the Group 2 Dante and ANCIENT WISDOM is 6/5 to win this on the way to Epsom for which he's currently 7s. The trip wouldn't be a concern but quick ground might - he was a bit in the hand on the others. Last July, AL MUSMAK finished just in front of ANCIENT WISDOM when both were well beaten second and third behind ROSALLION who as we know ran second in the English 2000 Guineas. There won't be much between them and I'm inclined to be AL MUSMAK to maintain thr strong current form of the Varian yard.

Looking ahead to Saturday and 11 have been entered for the Group 1 Lockinge over the straight 1600m at Newbury where the ground is currently Good to Soft. It looks a fascinating potential clash between INSPIRAL and BIG ROCK. The latter won the Jacques Le Marois, the Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot where he was hugely impressive winning by six lengths. If he reproduces the Ascot form, he wins pure and simple. INSPIRAL is a mercurial mare - she was tailed off in the Sussex on soft ground but then ran a fine second to BIG ROCK in the Marois before wins in the Sun Chariot and the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turg where she beat WARM HEART.

John Gosden has already said INSPIRAL won't run if the ground is soft but we also know really firm ground doesn't suit either. CHARYN won well at Sandown and moves into the big leagues. He beat POKER FACE in the Group 2 at Esher but the latter will be a lot closer. ROYAL SCOTSMAN was third in the 2000 Guineas last year on slow ground but was well held in both the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James's Palace.

BIG ROCK wins if he returns at or near his best - POKER FACE is my idea of one to run well but at 9/2 he's not an each way bet.

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Looking ahead to Friday and the final day of the Dante meeting at York where the ground has eased to Good after more rain.

The feature will be the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup over 2800m. TOWER OF LONDON won the hugely valuable handicap at the Saudi Cup meeting and followed up in the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup Night. Last year, he was fourth in the Leger and while you can see he's improved through the winter, he's far from bomb proof.

VAUBAN needs little introduction to this forum - he was last seen when finishing midfield as favourite in the Melbourne Cup. For me, he's got a lot to find in this company. HAMISH won well at Newbury but this ground will be quick enough for him. GIAVELLOTTO won this last year but finished behind TOWER OF LONDO in both the Middle Eastern races but his course and distance form (he was third in the Lonsdale) stands him in good stead.

GREGORY won the Queen's Vase at Ascot last June and was fancied for the Leger but he was twice behind CONTINUOUS in both the Voltigeur and the Leger itself but he's closely matched with TOWER OF LONDON on Doncaster form.

Marginal preference is for GIAVELLOTTO. 

Meanwhile, top stayer KYPRIOS who looked very good at Naas last month in Listec company, is set to run in the Levmoss at Leopardstown on his way, you'd think, to the Gold Cup where he is 5/4 to regain the title he won in 2022 and couldn't contest last year due to injury.

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On 5/15/2024 at 10:09 AM, Ohokaman said:

Old mate KHAADEM in at York Stodge. Good fresh up stats but getting on now, honest galloper. $19 tempts me again.

Haggas has a couple of interesting runners too that are worth a look.


Bloody awful the lot of them….🙈

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Looking ahead to Saturday and the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury.

All 11 stand on ground which is now Good, Good to Soft in places. That should be fine for both INSPIRAL and BIG ROCK and so much depends on whether the latter returns in the form of last autumn - if he does, he wins, if not, INSPIRAL might take advantage with the Gosden horses running a little better.

The Gosden second string, AUDIENCE, ran really well at 1400m last season placing in the City of York and the Park and a straight course seems best for him as does first time up. 50s is a huge price but tempting to very small stakes. POKER FACE is 13/2 and drifting towards an each way call. INSPIRAL is my idea of the winner.

Ryan Moore will be swerving the final day of York tomorrow to ride KYPRIOS in the Levmoss at Leopardstown's Friday evening meeting. The 2022 Gold Cup winner is 1/7 and should have no trouble continuing his build up to a return to Ascot next month.

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9 hours ago, Tauhei Notts said:

Our TAB has framed a market for the Dante at 125.6%.

It would appear that an English firm has taken over our TAB.

Bad Economics, but I will go for him.

Very impressive performance and I hope you got a good return.

Whether he's an Epsom type I don't know and Haggas has his doubts about the stamina on breeding but he'll be under huge pressure to supplement after this.

He's in the King Edward VII at Ascot but I could see him swerving Epsom and going for the Eclipse at Sandown.

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I'm conscious I'm well off the pace with the reviews of the British racing so in this one I'll cover last week's action at Chester.

Chester's three day May Meeting is a big part of the social calendar in northwest England and after the pandemic and a couple of years of poor weather, the meteorological gods were shining on the Roodee with three days of dry, fine and pleasantly warm weather bringing in the crowds.

Chester is an iconic British track - very tight at barely 1400m round and it sits between the River Dee and the Roman Walls of the city making it a location unlike any other.

The meeting has some quality but no Group 1 races - the signature races have Group 2 and Group 3 status while the week builds to the Chester Cup, a 3600m handicap where they basically go twice round the track with a bit extra.

It's a track which doesn't suit the long galloping types as the horses are almost always on the turn and the nimble types prosper. Despite being almost nothing like Epsom, the Chester Vase run on good ground on the opening day over 2400m has been a strong source of Derby winners over the years but this year's renewal was unique in walking the tight line between triumph and tragedy. 

With the Ballydoyle horses finally showing signs of form, support came for GROSVENOR SQUARE into 7/4 against the Godolphin runner HIDDEN LAW who had impressed when winning a Newbury maiden last time. Also supported was AGENDA, the apparent second string from the O'Brien yard, who was 3s. AGENDA led and on the home turn was going well but William Buick brought HIDDEN LAW with a powerful run, swept past AGENDA and moved away to win three lengths.

Crossing the line, it seemed we had a serious Derby contender on our hands but within seconds, that all turned to dust as HIDDEN LAW took a false step turning past the winning post and shattered his off-hind leg. It was a horrible moment, caught live on television and the commentator, Richard Hoiles, handled it well. It was rapidly apparent this wasn't a career-ending injury but far worse - HIDDEN LAW was rapidly euthanised as a silence fell over the course and the trophy presentation cancelled. Ed Chamberlin did well and there was an excellent interview with John Gosden who explained why injuries of this severity can't be treated.

AGENDA was clear second best but could go for either the King Edward VII or the Irish Derby but GROSVENOR SQUARE, a further seven lengths back in third, looked very one-paced.

Thursday was Ladies' Day and while the mood on course was sombre to begin with, it lifted with the passage of time. Another fine day quickened the ground to Good, Good to Firm in places. The feature Group 3 Ormonde for the older horses over 2600m saw a change of fortune for Ballydoyle as POINT LONSDALE returned to his best form thrashing a fair field by six and a half lengths under Ryan Moore. POINT LONSDALE won the Huxley last year and it may just be the horse likes the track but this was a very strong effort over a fair bit further and I wonder if connections will consider stepping the horse up further.

ARREST was no match for the winner and remains an enigmatic type.

Friday saw the best race of the meeting, the Group 2 Huxley over 2050m and the groiund had quickened further to Good to Firm, Good in places. The race looked a match on paper between PASSENGER and ISRAR but the former dominated in the straight and won by a length and a half. PASSENGER debuted in the Wood Ditton at Newmarket last spring and was tried (perhaps a bit too soon) in the Derby and failed. He won a Group 3 at Windsor on his final run but has come back having thrived physically and clearly relishes quick ground. I'd love to see him in the Breeders Cup Turf but the more immediate targets mentioned are the Hardwicke at Ascot and the Eclipse at Sandown.

ISRAR did little wrong and the time of 2 minutes 5.4 seconds for the 2050m was very quick so it may just be he ran into one as they say up here.

In terms of classic clues, however, it was a frustrating week.


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Still catching up with the classic trials and the weekend before last saw the trials at Lingfield which are now only Listed class races.

The Oaks trial saw YOU GOT TO ME from the Ralph Beckett just hold off the late finish of RUBIES TO RED from the Ballydoyle yard who was a long way back with 600m to go but flew home. Whether she would be able to do that at Epsom is debatable. The favourite, DANIELLE, from the Gosden yard, didn't look happy on the quick ground and was third. Beckett might run as many as five in the Oaks. YOU GOT TO ME is 14s for Epsom but the stable pick looks to be FOREST FAIRY, the Cheshire Oaks winner, who is 8s.

They ran the Oaks trial in 2 minutes 26.45 seconds for the 2350m while the Derby Trial was run in 2 minutes 24,09 seconds, a seriously fast time for the same trip. This produced an impressive winner in AMBIENTE FRIENDLY, owned by th Gredley family who had User Friendly win the Oaks back in the 1990s. AMBIENTE FRIENDLY is by Gleneagles out of a Fastnet Rock mare called ROXITY, who won a maiden in France on her only start in 2016.

AMBIENTE FRIENDLY beat the O'Brien favourite, ILLINOIS, by four and a half lengths with a further four lengths back to the others. AMBIENTE FRIENDLY is 9/2 second favourite for the Derby with CITY OF TROY 2/1 favourite and LOS ANGELES, another O'Brien type who won the Derby Trial at Leopardstown the following day, third in at 13/2 after which it's 14s the rest.

The Group 3 Chartwell for the fillies and mares over the straight 1400m saw GREAT GENERATION give yet another boost for the Imprudence form from earlier in the season. That race saw ROMANTIC STYLE (subsequently fourth in the Pouliches) beat RAMATUELLE (then second in the English 1000 Guineas) with TAMFANA (an unlucky fourth in the English 1000 Guineas) a close third.

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Another busy weekend approaches.

In Britain, we have Group 2 action at Haydock with trials for the Commonwealth Cup and the KIng's Stand in the form of the Sandy Lane and the Temple. Nunthorpe winner LIVE IN THE DREAM re-appears in the latter while in the former VANDEEK, who won the Morny and the Middle Park as a juvenile, is 4/7 to continue his unbeaten record.

In Ireland, it's Guineas weekend at The Curragh and 11 have been entered for the Irish 2000 Guineas. The Hannon pair, ROSALLION and HAATEM, who were second and third at Newmarket, take on HENRY LONGFELLOW, who has to bounce back from a poor run in the Poulains last time. 

The enigmatic AUGUSTE RODIN has bene entered for the Tattersalls Gold Cup over 2050m on the Sunday while a strong card also features the Irish 1000 Guineas which features Newmarket runner up PORTA FORTUNA, the beaten favourite FALLEN ANGEL and last season's impressive Marcel Boussac winner OPERA SINGER.

More on all this later in the week.

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Final declarations are through for Saturday's action.

There's been a huge amount of rain this week and the ground at Haydock is now Soft, Heavy in places.

10 go in the Group 2 Temple over 1000m and the money has come from proven soft-ground type VADREAM who won the 2023 Palace House at Newmarket on soft ground and ran a fine second in this year's renewal. She beat LIVE THE DREAM back in 2023 and the latter found a rich vein of form last autumn springing a surprise in the Nunthorpe at York and then running a decent fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint but that was on quick ground and for me that's a big problem on this much slower surface.

The ground is a big question for the Australian sprinter ASFOORA whose fourth in the Galaxy reads well and she did win a couple of races on "soft" ground in 2022 but this is another level of slow and I jsut wonder if it will blune her obvious speed.

ROGUE LIGHTNING moved through handicap company into pattern class last year and ended with a fine fifth in the Abbaye so the ground won't be a problem and the same is probably true of BEAUTIFUL DIAMOND but she didn't really progress from her third in the Queen Mary. Her re-appearance third in the Palace House puts her right in this.

It's not a race in which I'll be playing - VADREAM shouldn't be good enough but the ground is the big variable. 

The unbeaten VANDEEK is 8/13 to win the 1200m Sandy Lane and his wins in the Richmond and Morny last year offer plenty of encouragement on the ground. He's a mile ahead of these on the numbers but 2000 Guineas sixth INISHERIN brings a decent level of form but the ground is an unknown with this one.

The ground remains fast at The Curragh and eight go in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas. Newmarket runner up ROSALLION looks a strong pick over his stable companion HAATEM who was third in the English 2000 Guineas. Aidan O'Brien runs three and Ryan Moore is on RIVER TIBER but for all this one had placed form behind VANDEEK last season he's never gone beyond 1200m and has it to do against a proven Group 1 3-y-o miler.

The supporting Group 2 Greenlands has 13 runners an looks wide open. REGIONAL edged out SHOULDHAVEBEENARING in the Haydock Sprint Trophy last season but the latter ran a blinder at York last week and could be the one.

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Time to look back at the three day York Dante meeting from last week. A drizzly first day gave way to much improved conditions on the second and third days.

The ground on the first day was Good and the opening day feature was the Group 2 Duke of York over 1200m which can be a trial for the Jubilee at Ascot. The 1200m division among the older sprinters looks very open and a field of 14 went topost. In a desperate finish which saw the first four split by a nose and two necks, MILL STREAM turned round the Abernant form with WASHINGTON HEIGHTS (fourth) converting a three quarter length deficit to a three quarter length advantage on the same terms.

SHOULDHAVEBEENARING ran another consistent race in second with DILIGENT HARRY, third in the Al Quoz Sprint, third again here but beaten almost nothing.

SPYCATCHER was 4/1 joint fav with MILL STREAM but disappointed while TIBER FLOW clipped heels and came down giving Tom Marquand a nasty looking fall but both horse and jockey were fine.

The Group 3 Musidora is an Oaks trial over 2050m and FRIENDLY SOUL was comfortably expected to build on her Pretty Polly win but she threw in a really poor run hanging badly and giving her rider very little help. She trailed home last behinf 22/1 shot SECRET SATIRE who is 14s for the Oaks. I'd be surprised if this form is classic standard but it looks an open year.

Thursday saw the Derby Trial, the Group 2 Dante, also over 2050m. ANCIENT WISDOM was strongly fancied on the evidence of his runaway win in the Futurity last autumn but that was on heavy ground and the ground on day two had dried a fraction and the horse's pronounced knee action suggested the slower the ground the better and so it proved as he had no answer to ECONOMICS, who was the middle leg of a Tom Marquand treble and came home by six lengths. ECONOMICS is a big long-striding type for whom the undulations of Epsom wouldn't be ideal and despite some urging by the media, the trainer quickly ruled out both Epsom and Chantilly. He's in the King Edward VII at Ascot - I'd love to see him in the Irish Derby. He's a long term prospect and you'd think he could be a Juddmonte International possible as well.

ANCIENT WISDOM will also miss Epsom and I suspect we'll need a wet summer to see him out again any time soon. The big disappointment was AL MUZMAK who faded tamely.

On the same afternoon, the Group 2 Middleton over 2050m for the older fillies and mares saw BLUESTOCKING put up an excellent performance to win by six lengths yet for a filly rated 113 this was only her second win. Her form analysis is replete with placed efforts in Group 1 races including runner up places in the Irish Oaks and Fillies and Mares on Champions Day and a fourth in the Yorkshire Oaks. She seems effective at both 2000 and 2400m which opens a lot of doors. She's 7s for the Coronation Cup at Epsom next weekend and 8s for the Hardwicke at Ascot. I'd love to see her in the Arc as she goes well on slow ground.

In the Listed 1000m race, BIG EVS made a sparkling return. He won the Molecomb, the Flying Childers and the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and failed only against the older sprinters in the Nunthorpe. As a 3-y-o, he has all sorts of options - the race previously shown as the King's Stand and now called the King Charles III Stakes is the obvious one for a horse who looks to be all speed. From there, it would be the Nunthorpe, the Flying Five and the Abbaye.

On to the final day and another lovely late spring afternoon brought a decent crowd to the Knavesmire. The ground had dried further to Good, Good to Firm in places and that meant HAMISH was a late scratching in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.

TOWER OF LONDON had won in Riyadh and Meydan and had clocked a decent time in the latter and went off favourite but not for the first time this season an Aidan O'Brien runner underperformed in England. TOWER OF LONDON came into the race well enough but he simply didn't quicken leaving the way clear for GIAVELLOTTO to follow up last year's win and he looked very good. He had finished behind TOWER OF LONDON in the Middle East but this was a much better effort - I don't think he's a Gold Cup type but he could be a potent threat over 3200m in races like the Goodwood Cup.

DEVOTED QUEEN booked herself a ticket to the Coronation at Ascot after a good win the 1600m Listed fillies race.

Also on Friday, KYPRIOS was sent off 1/12 to win the Levmoss at Leopardstown and duly obliged without any fuss. He's now tips on (10/11) for the Gold Cup with the news last year's winner COURAGE MON AMI has suffered a setback and will miss the race.

Another who won't be out for a while is KING OF STEEL, last year's Derby runner up who is also injured. That prompted a spat between trainer Roger Varian and AMO racing's head, Kia Joorabchian, ending in the latter removing all the AMO horses from the Varian yard.  


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Sunday is another busy day with the second day of the Guineas Festival at The Curragh.

The Irish 1000 Guineas has 14 runners but three stand out. Last year's two top juvenile fillies, OPERA SINGER and FALLEN ANGEL clash. The former hasn't raced this season but was very impressive in the Marcel Boussac while FALLEN ANGEL was favourite for the English 1000 Guineas but finished midfield. I prefer the Pouliches third VESPERTILIO who ran with huge credit and if she can build on that has a big chance.

The Tattersalls Gold Cup over 2000m sees AUGUSTE RODIN bid to put this Sheema Classic flop behind him. WHITE BIRCH was five lenghts behind him in the English Derby last year and eighteen lengths down in the Irish Derby. WHITE BIRCH looked impressive in the Mooresbridge last time but I'm not sure he can match the favourite on decent ground.

The Group 2 Lanwades over 1600m for the older fillies and mares sees the return of ROGUE MILLENNIUM, now with Joseph O'Brien. She ran in the top fillies races including second to TAHIYRA in the Matron and a fair fifth (albeit beaten a fair way) in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot. She should win this if near her form and this looks a poor race for the grade.

In Paris, it's Very Soft ground currently at Longchamp for their Sunday card featuring the Ispahan over 1950m. BLUE ROSE CEN was a top 3-y-o filly winning both the Pouliches and the Diane but she was well beaten at Goodwood where Aurelien Lemaitre rode a stinker and 2400m was too far in the Vermeille. Back to 2000m she won the Opera and this is her trip and ground. If she's ready first time up, she must go close. HAYA YARK won a bunch finish for the Ganay at the end of April but I'd be surprised if he's up to beating this classy filly.

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Time to review last weekend's action which was long on quantity and short on quality up here.

That said, there was a Group 1 at Newbury in the form of the Lockinge over the straight 1600m. On paper, it seemed to concern three - INSPIRAL had been a wonderful filly and mare rounding off her 2023 campaign with wins in the Jacques Le Marois, the Sun Chariot and ultimately the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf where she ran down WARM HEART. BIG ROCK had finished a length and a quarter behind her at Deauville but put up a stunning display in the Queen Elizabeth II on Champions Day winning seven lengths in the mud.

Neither had run this campaign whiel CHARYN, who had proven just below the best as a 3-y-o despite being highly tried, had returned to win first a Listed and then the Group 2 Mile at Sandown.

Lockinge Stakes:


The Gosden second string, AUDIENCE, ran really well at 1400m last season placing in the City of York and the Park and a straight course seems best for him as does first time up. 50s is a huge price but tempting to very small stakes.

I helped myself to £2.50 each way at 50s on Friday evening so that will pay for a nice evening out for Mrs Stodge. A superb ride by Robert Havlin who has forgotten more about racing than I will ever know. He did what I thought he would do but my fear was 1600m would be too far but he's a bigger, stronger horse this year and he saw it out well. Whether he'll be able to get away with such tactics in the Queen Anne at Ascot is debatable but I've got my cash so I'm happy.

CHARYN ran a fine race in second closing on the winner in the final 200m and I'm sure he will be a big player at Ascot.

WITCH HUNTER stayed on for third but beaten eight lengths by the winner and further behind CHARYN than at Sandown. INSPIRAL never looked happy and jockey Kieren Shoemark reported the mare blew up in the final 200m. We can expect her to come on a lot for the run but she'll have to for the Queen Anne. BIG ROCK was prominent early but faded tamely and perhaps he really needs juice in the ground.  POKER FACE walked out to 9s in the betting and ran accordingly.


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It's all happening up here at the moment.

Next weekend is the two day Epsom Classic Meeting featuring three Group 1 races all over the 2400m. The ground on the Downs currently is Good to Soft.

Friday has two championship races and the first is the Coronation Cup for then older horses. EMILY UPJOHN won this last year and ran okay when fifth in the Sheema Classic. Some of the Gosden horses have needed a run this year and that would be my concern. TIME LOCK was second in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket but will need to step up on that.

Aidan O'Brien has set this a bit of a poser declaring LUXEMBOURG, CONTINUOUS and AUGUSTE RODIN but I suspect it'll be CONTINUOUS who carries the Coolmore flag. He won the English St Leger and was a fine fifth in the Arc.

15 have been entered for the Oaks. It doesn't look a strong field to be honest. YLANG YLANG was a running on fifth in the English 1000 Guineas and that's the best form on offer and she's favourite at 9/4 (which isn't a bad price in truth). Her stable companion RUBIES ARE RED finished really well in the Lingfield Oaks Trial while the Dermot Werld filly EZALIYA won the Salsabil at Naas which is Ireland's equivalent of the Musidora. The actual Musidora winner SECRET SATIRE is 8s with Cheshire Oaks winner FOREST FAIRY at 6s.

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One bad bit about getting to 76 years is that one must get up at some silly hour of the morning to have a leak.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that I got to see Rosallion & co go in the Irish 2000 Guineas.  That St James Palace Stakes will be the race of June.  My bladder will ensure I watch it.  I might have 20/80 on Haatem.  He might win, but I think he is a very good thing for a place. 

This morning I saw Blue Rose Cen go at Longchamps.  She is nothing like the filly I saw at Chantilly 11 months ago.  Such a pity.

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11 hours ago, Tauhei Notts said:

One bad bit about getting to 76 years is that one must get up at some silly hour of the morning to have a leak.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that I got to see Rosallion & co go in the Irish 2000 Guineas.  That St James Palace Stakes will be the race of June.  My bladder will ensure I watch it.  I might have 20/80 on Haatem.  He might win, but I think he is a very good thing for a place. 

This morning I saw Blue Rose Cen go at Longchamps.  She is nothing like the filly I saw at Chantilly 11 months ago.  Such a pity.

I see that as NZTR's marketing strategy to sell NZ racing to Europe.

"Your bladder's telling you it's time to catch the best of the Kiwi action - your prostate says don't be late. On your way back from the loo, why not watch the 3.22 from Trentham and have a bet with us"

"Why not have a peek when you take a leak?"

Needs a little work but could be epic.

Richard Hannon has two very exciting prospects - there wasn't much between them at Newmarket and even less at The Curragh. The St James's Palace is, as you say, going to be huge as NOTABLE SPEECH, who beat them both at Newmarket, goes there. Remember, this will be a Round 1600m, not the straight track but it's an uphill run so a different challenge.

Current odds up here:





Further down, GHOSTWRITER and ALYNAABI are both at 16s. Fourth and fifth at Newmarket, running on and not beaten far. Could be the each way plays. 

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20 have accepted at the five day entry for the Derby at Epsom on Saturday. The ground has downgraded to Soft, Good to Soft in places following heavy showers but it should be drier by the end of the week and the Epsom Clerk thinks the ground could be Good by Saturday - I'm less optimistic.

CITY OF TROY has drifted from 2s to 11/4 as money has come for his stablemate, LOS ANGELES, in to 10/3 from 5s. The likelihood of slow ground has seen money also come for the Dante runner up ANCIENT WISDOM, from 11/2 to 4s while Lingfield Derby Trial winner AMBIENTE FRIENDLY has walked out to 7s.

Among the outsiders Poulains runner up DANCING GEMINI has been backed from 25s to 11s and you'd be confident he'd stay the trip on his breeding (Camelot out of an Australia mare, Lady Adelaide, who ran at up to 2100m). 

Aidan O'Brien has left seven in the race but I suspect they won't all run and half the field are 40/1 or bigger suggesting there's plenty of deadwood down the order - the rank outsider, MR HAMPSTEAD, at 150/1, is rated 86 and was beaten in a Chester maiden last time. He might be a decent hurdler next winter.

A couple of these are also in the Jockey Club at Chantilly over 2100m on Sunday. Though often referred to as the "French Derby", that honour really belongs to the Grand Prix de Paris which is run over the 2400m trip. That said, the Jockey Club winner is often a significant force down the season - ACE IMPACT won it last year before going on to win the biggest race of them all, the Arc, in the autumn.

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Looking at the weekend just gone, I'll cover the Irish Guineas meeting in my next so a brief stop at Haydock for the two Group 2 sprint races.

The ground was officially Soft but the jockeys didn't think it was that bad. The Temple over 1000m saw KERDOS just hold off the late challenge of the Nunthorpe winner LIVE IN THE DREAM. The Australian challenger ASFOORA showed plenty of speed and was prominent for 900m but this was not ground with which she is familiar and understandably she got tired.

The King Charles III is shaping up into an interesting race three weeks today. BIG EVS, the 3-y-o, is 3/1 favourite with ASFOORA at 7s and Greenlands runner up REGIONAL at 8s. LIVE IN THE DREAM could yet be supplemented.

The Sandy Lane over 1200m for the 3-y-o is a trial for the Commonwealth Cup. VANDEEK had been a smart juvenile ending the campaign unbeaten including wins in the Morny and the Middle Park. He was 4/5 to maintain that record but he was soundly held in third by the 2000 Guineas sixth, INISHERIN, who put up a smart performance back 400m in trip coming home by just under four lengths.

On a weekend which would be dominated by horses who were beaten in the English Guineas races, this was another reminder of something I've said before - for a form student, the 2000 Guineas is the most important race of the season. The beaten horses often come out and pick up Pattern races right the way down the year. The second and third were first and second in the Irish 2000 Guineas (of which more anon) and INISHERIN, who patently didn't get home over the 1600m, was much better dropped in trip.

INISHERIN will be supplemented for the Commonwealth Cup and is 10/1 for the July Cup where he would have to go against the older sprinters.

The times of the two sprint races suggested the ground was nearer Good to Soft.

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10 hours ago, Tauhei Notts said:

If I can get $10 the place on the unbeaten Voyage in The Derby I will have a bet.  Out of a Galileo mare, that was a good win at his only start. 

20s or 25s here, my friend.

It's a huge ask to go from winning a Newbury maiden to winning the Derby. Not many have won without running as a juvenile - COMMANDER IN CHIEF was one.

There's also the scale of the event - the noise, the crowd, the undulations. It's as much a psychological test as it is a galloping test up and down and round Tattenham Corner. 

Take out CITY OF TROY (and he may do what AUGUSTE RODIN did last year) and it looks an open and weak race currently. The ground is Soft but could dry out a lot.

AMBIENTE FRIENDLY could be real value each way at 6s if you think the ground will dry out. He's one of the few proven over the trip and on an undulating track. I might have a play this morning and do whatever the equivalent of an anti-raindance is.

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The final declarations are through for the first day of the Epsom Derby Meeting on Friday.

The ground on the Downs remains Soft, Good to Soft in places - it's been a dry day in London but more showers are forecast tomorrow and Friday.

Just five go in the Coronation Cup for the older horses over the iconic 2400m trip. EMILY UPJOHN won this on much quicker ground last year - she won the 2022 Fillies and Mares on Champions Day on slow ground but I'm not convinced she wants really soft turf. Her fifth to REBEL'S ROMANCE in the Sheema Classic got a real boost when the latter won the Champions & Chater Cup in Hong Kong last weekend. 

LUXEMBOURG is arguably better known as a 2000m type despite having been favourite for the 2022 Derby at one time. He was runner up in the Prince of Wales, the Irish Champion and the Hong Kong Cup, all fast run 2000m events and this more tactical 2400m doesn't look as it will suit so well.

FEED THE FLAME is a fascinating French contender - eighth in last year's Arc having run fourth in the Jockey Club (on both occasional about six lengths behind ACE IMPACT) and won the Grand Prix de Paris. He was third in the Ganay last time but I think drying ground would be a big help which he may not get.

HAMISH will love the ease in the ground but he doesn't often run in Group 1 races - the last time was when second in the Irish Leger in September 2022. I'd be surprised if he were good enough for this. TIME LOCK is a solid Group 2 performer but also has questions to answer.

I come back to EMILY UPJOHN only because I can't one up against her - FEED THE FLAME would be my danger and especially if the ground dries. If it got really wet HAMISH would have a golden opportunity at this level.

Twelve go in the Oaks for the 3-y-o fillies. Clear top rated and favourite is YLANG YLANG from the Aidan O'Brien stable. She won the Fillies Mile on Soft ground last autumn and ran a decent Oaks trail when fifth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. It's 800m further than she has ever been and that has to be a concern for all connections seem confident she'll stay. Second in the market is EZELIYA from the Dermot Weld yard who won the Salsabil at Naas last time, Her dam was third in both the Irish and the Yorkshire Oaks so she has the pedigree to be a serious contender.

RUBIES ARE RED may be the Ballydoyle second string but she ran a huge race in the Lingfield Oaks Trial getting well behinf before rattling home to finish a close second. I'm not sure Epsom will play so well to that style of running - I could see it working at The Curragh for example.

SECRET SATIRE won the Musidora and that form was boosted by the runner up who won well at Goodwood last weekend. FOREST FAIRY won the Cheshire Oaks but that leaves her with plenty to find at this level. 

Ralph Beckett has three runners - YOU GOT TO ME beat RUBIES ARE RED at Lingfield and for all many think the second will reverse places, I'm not convinced. TREASURE is owned by the King and Queen and finished fourth at Lingfield so it's hard to see why she should come out on top though I think sjhe could be a nice type later in the season.

DANCE SEQUENCE was well fancied for the 1000 Guineas but finished mid division - on breeding I can't see her getting beyond 2000m and her full sister didn't stay much beyond 1600m.

I quite like SECRET SATIRE as a solid option and I've had a play each way at 10s this evening.

15 have been entered for Sunday's Jockey Club at Chantilly where the ground is also Soft. ALCANTOR, DIEGO VELAZQUEZ and RAMADAN were third, fourth and fifth respectively in the Poulains while GHOSTWRITER was fourth in the English 2000 Guineas (from which the second and sixth have already followed up).

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Time to review last weekend's Irish Guineas Festival at The Curragh.

Saturday's racing took place on ground described as Good, Good to Firm in places and the feature Irish 2000 Guineas saw the second and third from Newmarket, ROSALLION and HAATEM, renew rivalry. They had finished behind NOTABLE SPEECH in the English classic and both were trained by Richard Hannon, bidding to win his first Irish classic. Aidan O'Brien had his usual strong hand arguably led by RIVER TIBER but he was on his seasonal debut.

Amost everything that could go wrong went wrong fro Sean Levey on ROSALLION but he still got the job done. The horse broke too well and took a hold forcing Levey to take back and sit back a lot further off the gallop than he probably intended - the alternative would have been to try and go forward and sit out wide but that would likely have caused the horse to pull away his chance.

Full marks to Levey for a brave man's ride but you need the horse as well. HAATEM ran another game race in defeat and I'm sure he'll get his Group 1 at some point on this evidence. He got closer than at Newmarket on a track where stamina is arguably more important.

RIVER TIBER ran a huge race in third - first time up against two race fit types and he wasn't beaten far just getting tired in the final 100m.

He looks tempting at 20s for the St James's Palace and I can't quite figure out why he is so far down the market with ROSALLION at 2s and HAATEM at 7s. This already looks an intriguing race for the opening day of the royal meeting.

Jamie Spencer just lost out on HAATEM in the feature but he got one back in the Group 2 Greenlands over 1200m producing a classic late finish on MITBAAHY to win in the final 100m in a bunch finish which saw the first four home split by a length. The winner found the 1000m too sharp in the Palace House last time and on this form he will no doubt take in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes for which he is 8s. REGIONAL ran well in second while ANO SYRA out ran his 50/1 odds in third. ART POWER was arguably unlucky getting a bump in the final 200m and was a close fourth.

Worth noting while the Irish have been humbling the English over the jumps this year, on the flat it's a very different story with English raiders dominating on the first day of the Guineas meeting.

The weather was much less friendly on the Sunday and the ground deteriorated from Good to Yielding by the time of the Irish 1000 Guineas. 

This looked an open race with the Newmarket form represented by FALLEN ANGEL, returning to the scene of her Moyglare success but she had disappointed on the quick ground at Newmarket. Nonetheless, she narrowly went off favourite against the Aidan O'Brien runner OPERA SINGER and VESPERTILIO.

A thoroughly impressive performance from the filly - whether she didn't like the undulations at Newmarket or the ground had gone a bit too quick I don't know but this was much more like her juvenile form and she looks a very good type. She's 7/2 for the Coronation at Ascot and given some decent ground she'll be a big player.

OPERA SINGER looked a bit one paced to this observer and I just wonder if 2000m might be her trip - she's 3s favourite for the Coronation. The Newmarket Guineas winner ELMALKA is 9/2 third best. A LILAC ROLLA had beaten OPERA SINGER last August when they met as juveniles and reproduced that form almost to the ounce. The second had won a Group 3 on seasonal debut and I also think she could be suited by further.

One further down the field who caught my eye was SKELLET who got bumped and hampered in the race but came home strongly from an impossible position.

The other Group 1 on the Sunday card was the Tattersalls Gold Cup over 2000m for the older horses. Favourite was the enigmatic AUGUSTE RODIN who had won the English and Irish Derbies, the Irish Champion and the Breeders Cup turf around complete blowouts in the English 2000 Guineas,  the King George and the Sheema Classic in the spring. It seems he either runs first or last. His main opponent was last year's English Derby third WHITE BIRCH.who had looked good in the Mooresbridge last time.

A new experience for AUGUSTE RODIN as he finished second but he was decisively outpointed by WHITE BIRCH who won his third of the campaign so far and looks a very good prospect. I'm sure the rain helped a lot but it may just be he is finally reacbing his peak. It was a winner for John Joseph Murphy who has always shown he can produce the goods if he is given the right horses.

The first two were eight lengths ahead of the others and the Tattersalls Gold Cup was the only race on the card run below standard - WHITE BIRCH clocked 2 minutes 11.6 seconds for the 2100m. That to me makes the performance even more worthy of merit. AUGUSTE RODIN is 4s for the Prince of Wales at Ascot and 8s for the Eclipse while WHITE BIRCH is the same price for both races. On quick ground I could see AUGUSTE RODIN getting a lot closer but if we continue to see rain WHITE BIRCH looks a serious contender for the Prince of Wales on this evidence.

OCEAN JEWEL won the supporting Group 2 Lanwades over 1600m in a race which saw favourite ROGUE MILLENNIUM find every hit of in-running trouble going. I'm sure she'll be a big player in the Duke of Cambridge at Ascot.

On the same afternoon, the Ispahan was run on Soft ground at Longchamp.

A typical French race with a typical French finish.

MQSE DE SEVIGNE won the Rothschild and the Jean Romanet last season but was decisively beaten by INSPIRAL at Newmarket. She beat SKALLETI on her seasonal reappearance and is clearly still a very good filly. HORIZON DORE and HAYA YAK, the Ganay winner, were close behind in the minor places. BLUE ROSE CEN didn't enjoy the best of runs and arguably got tired in the final 100m so I'd give her another chance. 

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