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stodge

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A busy weekend just gone so plenty to look back on.

The Newmarket Future Champions Weekend took place on Friday and Saturday – the ground was officially Soft but the times suggested it wasn’t that bad but there was the complication of a significant tailwind on the Friday and a crosswind on the Saturday. The way some of the runners came home suggested it was sticky and holding ground.

Friday featured the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile over 1600m.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmnk7k15hoA

A convincing win for PRETTY GORGEOUS who established herself as the favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas though on faster ground you’d think INDIGO GIRL would have a real say. The second was only having her third run and put up a fine performance in defeat.

The winner might yet go to America for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Controversy after the race came when, following a report on Twitter, Aidan O’Brien contacted the Newmarket stewards to report that basically his two fillies, SNOWBALL and MOTHER EARTH, had been given the wrong saddles, cloths and basically had run as each other. The horse carrying the number for SNOWBALL came in third but was in fact MOTHER EARTH.

Needless to say, this was all very embarrassing for Aidan O’Brien and raises some questions as to security and integrity – the whole matter has been referred by the Newmarket stewards to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and I suspect O’Brien will get a hefty fine and SNOWBALL will be disqualified. No one is suggesting this is anything more than an honest mistake, but it doesn’t look good.

The Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 1400m saw an emphatic win for HAPPY POWER capping off a great afternoon for the King Power ownership group whose juvenile filly WINTER POWER had won the Group 3 Cornwallis earlier on the card. HAPPY POWER has mixed it with the likes of SPACE BLUES ad LIMATO earlier in the season and been found out but soft ground clearly suits and he’s found his way back up the ladder and he looks like he could go 1600m next season.

I’m not sure this was that strong a Group 2 and one or two disappointed but ZAKOUSKI ran an eye-catching fourth and I wonder if he’ll be off to Meydan again this winter.

Saturday saw the Dewhurst, the credential championship race for the juvenile colts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT42jwR5QWg

The Irish swept the board with the home colts put to the sword in no uncertain terms. The first three in the National Stakes at The Curragh were the first three home here but instead of 1-2-3 they finished 3-2-1. ST MARK’S BASILICA had been due to run in the Lagardere last Sunday and was re-routed here and it may have been a shrewd move in more ways than one as the Longchamp ground was desperate and this was nowhere near as bad.

THUNDER MOON came into the race strongly but didn’t see out the final 100m and while he may yet go to America, I don’t see him as a Guineas horse next year. The second, WEMBLEY, is the one I took out of the National and he ran a huge race again here. He’s a full brother to Johannes Vermeer who was second to Rekindling in the 2017 Melbourne Cup and with another full brother having stayed 2800m I’ve no concerns about WEMBLEY being a Derby horse next year though whether he can win a Guineas first remains to be seen.

I do think Dettori got the run of the race while Ryan Moore, on WEMBLEY, had to go round the field to challenge but the winner held on well and he won’t have a problem with the 1600m next year.

The best of the home team in fourth was the 100/1 outsider DEVILWALA who was in front of CADILLAC in fifth. I didn’t think ALBASHEER did too badly on ground he clearly hated but CHINDIT, ETONIAN and ALKUMAIT all disappointed and it throws a big doubt over the quality of the English juvenile colts.

The Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte at Chantilly (heavy ground) went to the favourite PLAINCHANT who was always in command but tired close home despite never looking like she was going to lose. Her second to FEV ROVER in the Calvados has been franked and she’s clearly a useful type.

Belmont’s big autumn card is nowadays a trial for the Breeders Cup in a month’s time. JACKIE’S WARRIOR was an easy winner of the Champagne for the colts and DAYOUTOFTHEOFFICE kept her unbeaten record intact in the Frizette and I expect both winners to be prominent in the respective colt and filly juvenile races on the Dirt.

Belmont is a big track by American standards and the 2000m is a one-turn rather than two-turn race so the Jockey Club Gold Cup isn’t like the Breeders Cup Classic will be. That should have helped TACITUS as should a soft lead but he couldn’t take advantage and was collared 200m out by HAPPY SAVER who moved up from allowance to Group 1 and I don’t see TACITUS as being a factor in the Classic on this evidence.

At Keeneland, morning rain turned the turf track against MAGIC ATTITUDE and she was well held in third behind HARVEY’S LIL GOIL in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

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Big news up here today has been the news that ENABLE, the dual Arc winner, has been retired. As I said in my previous, I was against "a final run" at Ascot and it perhaps Prince Khalid is of a similar mind and ENABLE will go (presumably) to Banstead Manor Stud as a broodmare and it's fair to say there will be plenty of options to be considered.

ENABLE was a magnificent race mare, winning 15 of her 19 races and just short of £11 million in win and place money. Apart from the two Arc wins, she won the King George at Ascot three times and the Yorkshire Oaks twice.

In her 3-y-o career, back in 2017, she won the English Oaks, the Irish Oaks, the King George, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Arc. An injury meant a long spell off the track but she returned in September 2018 to win the September Stakes before a narrow Arc win over SEA OF CLASS and, for me, her finest hour when winning the Breeders Cup Turf beating MAGICAL.

As a 5-y-o, she won the Eclipse, King George an Yorkshire Oaks before her narrow defeat at the hands of WALDGEIST in the Arc.

This season has perhaps shown her to be on the downgrade - true, she won the King George again but was well held by GHAIYYATH in the Eclipse and found the heavy ground in Paris too much.

Of her 15 wins, 11 were at Group 1 level which says a huge amount about the mare and the way she has been handled by trainer John Gosden and it's no surprise to see the admiration she has from jockey Frankie Dettori whose career she was revived.

Another to sign off last week was champion juvenile in 2019, PINATUBO, who will join the Darley stallion roster while a human calling it a day is John Oxx, trainer of SEA THE STARS among many others.

There are always plenty of farewells at this time of year but the racing carries on and Ascot this Saturday sees Champions Day. Despite all the recent rain, the ground at the Berkshire venue is Soft and there are no conditions to switch to the inside jumps track at this stage.

The entries are through and the card opens with the 3200m Stayers which remains a Group 2 (I believe the French don't want a Group 1 rival to the Cadran or the Royal Oak). STRADIVARIUS is likely to run and is 4/6 favourite but faces SEARCH FOR A SONG and FUJAIRA PRINCE, who were first and second in the Irish Leger and SPANISH MISSION, who won the Doncaster Cup.

The first of the Group 1 races is the Sprint over 1200m. Three Group 1 winners are in opposition - July Cup winner OXTED, three-time Foret winner ONE MASTER and Haydock Sprint Trophy winner DREAM OF DREAMS dominate the field.

The Fillies and Mares over 2400m has MAGICAL entered but it remains to be seen if that's where she ends up. She faces the likes of DAME MAILLOT and WONDERFUL TONIGHT as well as proven soft ground specialist ANTONIA DE VEGA, 

18 have been entered for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over the straight mile and PALACE PIER is 4/6 after his wins in the St James's Palace and the Marois. In opposition are the likes of KAMEKO, THE REVENANT, BENBATL, CENTURY DREAM, CIRCUS MAXIMUS and NAZEEF so this looks a really fitting conclusion to the mile championship.

The feature Champion Stakes over 2000m has 16 entries and I think MAGICAL will run in this but she faces the Jockey Club winner MISHRIFF, Grand Prix de Paris winner MOGUL, dual Australian Group 1 winner ADDEYBB, Prince of Wales's Stakes winner LORD NORTH and the French raider SKALLETI, who, last time out, beat a certain SOTTSASS at Deauville.

More as the week goes on.

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Amazing how the best or dominant horses seem to be mares in recent times. Makybe Diva, Sunline, Black Caviar, WINX, Enable, and mainly in NZ - Melody Belle. Who is going to be the next big one? Verry Elleegant, Probabeel come to mind. 

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2 hours ago, Trump said:

Amazing how the best or dominant horses seem to be mares in recent times. Makybe Diva, Sunline, Black Caviar, WINX, Enable, and mainly in NZ - Melody Belle. Who is going to be the next big one? Verry Elleegant, Probabeel come to mind. 

There was Zenyatta as well stateside , Mike Smith murdering her in BC Classic on her last run a shame , 20 runs 19 wins one second 13 wins at group 1 . Like Winx by Street Cry .

Enable''s unraced half sister Birdsong went through Tatts Dec mares for 150000 Guineas in Dec 16 , after Enables 2017 season she was put back in same sale and went for 1.1 million . Not bad business . Her half brother Centroid going through HIT sale end of month , lot 1137 , rated 44 pounds inferior so might end up over the jumps .

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17 hours ago, Red Rum said:

There was Zenyatta as well stateside , Mike Smith murdering her in BC Classic on her last run a shame , 20 runs 19 wins one second 13 wins at group 1 . Like Winx by Street Cry .

Enable''s unraced half sister Birdsong went through Tatts Dec mares for 150000 Guineas in Dec 16 , after Enables 2017 season she was put back in same sale and went for 1.1 million . Not bad business . Her half brother Centroid going through HIT sale end of month , lot 1137 , rated 44 pounds inferior so might end up over the jumps .

There are no full brothers or sisters to ENABLE. The dam threw two by Dansili, CENTROID and ENTITLE, the latter was second in last year's Musidora before being beaten a long way in the Diane and hasn't run this season.

A half-brother by Sea the Stars, DERAB, made a very encouraging debut over 1400m at Ascot in early September, running second and he's in the notebook for next season.

The dam's first foal, by Oasis Dream, was a moderate handicapper.

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1 hour ago, stodge said:

There are no full brothers or sisters to ENABLE. The dam threw two by Dansili, CENTROID and ENTITLE, the latter was second in last year's Musidora before being beaten a long way in the Diane and hasn't run this season.

A half-brother by Sea the Stars, DERAB, made a very encouraging debut over 1400m at Ascot in early September, running second and he's in the notebook for next season.

The dam's first foal, by Oasis Dream, was a moderate handicapper.

Bay colt full  brother to Enable born 27/2/19 as yet unnamed , I assume he will be out of the Gosden yard , theres Portrush by Frankel also . 

Birdwood was the unraced half sister not Birdsong  , I think I read Entitle was sent stateside but cannot find where I read it .

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23 hours ago, Red Rum said:

Bay colt full  brother to Enable born 27/2/19 as yet unnamed , I assume he will be out of the Gosden yard , theres Portrush by Frankel also . 

Birdwood was the unraced half sister not Birdsong  , I think I read Entitle was sent stateside but cannot find where I read it .

I look forward to Enable's full brother next season - you never know.

Couple of quick snippets - WICHITA has suffered a serious leg injury at Werribee and it's unclear whether it means the end of his racing career at this time.

KAMEKO will swerve the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and wait for the Breeders Cup Mile. The ground at Ascot is now Soft to Heavy.

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30 minutes ago, stodge said:

I look forward to Enable's full brother next season - you never know.

Couple of quick snippets - WICHITA has suffered a serious leg injury at Werribee and it's unclear whether it means the end of his racing career at this time.

KAMEKO will swerve the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and wait for the Breeders Cup Mile. The ground at Ascot is now Soft to Heavy.

Aiden O'Brien bit unlucky lately Stodge , feed issue , wrong horse saddled  , Wichita injury and AVD drawn the car park Saturday .

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Time to preview the big Champions Day card at Ascot on Saturday.

The ground at the Berkshire venue remains Soft to Heavy with the round course as usual the deepest ground.

The opening Stayers over 3200m has 13 runners. STRADIVARIUS is naturally favourite and on the evidence of his Gold Cup win will take all the beating. He was coltish in the Longchamp paddock and that just makes me wonder if his mind is on the racing game. His attention may be drawn to SEARCH FOR A SONG who defeated FUJAIRA PRINCE to win the Irish St Leger last time. She looked to be on the way back in the summer behind MAGICAL. SPANISH MISSION won the Doncaster Cup last time but is unproven on this ground. DAWN PATROL represents the 3-y-o and Aidan O'Brien. He was sixth in the English St Leger and won a Group 3 over 3200m last time but this is a big step up.

I can't back STRADIVARIUS  at 5/6 and I'm on SEARCH FOR A SONG each away at 6s.

So to the Group 1 events and we start with the Sprint over 1200m. 17 go and it's a decent field as you'd expect. DREAM OF DREAMS was second in the Diamond Jubilee but looked very good at both Newbury over 1400m and Haydock last time when he won on soft ground despite not having performed on it earlier in his career. ONE MASTER was a superb winner of her third Foret a fortnight ago but her record at 1200m is less inspiring although she was second in this (on heavy ground) last year. I have serious concerns over OXTED on the ground and the unbeaten STARMAN doesn't look good enough. ART POWER was well held by DREAM OF DREAMS at Haydock last time 

MY idea of a winner at a big price is GLEN SHIEL, who was second to DREAM OF DREAMS at Haydock but has run well at Ascot on slow ground. 12/1 looks a big price and I'm on each way.

The Fillies and Mares over 2400m has 13 runners and this looks a really trappy heat. WONDERFUL TONIGHT is the obvious place to start having won the Royallieu a fortnight ago over 400m further - the ground will be no issue and provided her exertions in Paris haven't left their mark, she's an obvious place to start. DAME MAILLOT ran a fine third in the Vermeille and that puts her right in this and on the Vermeille form holds Irish Oaks winner EVEN SO. Frankie Dettori rides MEHDAAYIH and she comes here fresh having only run once this year when sixth in the Prince of Wales. The tripon this ground is a slight worry.

Not a race to play in, I think, but DAME MAILLOT would be my idea of the winner.

The Queen Elizabeth II over 1600m is the final big mile championship of the season. 14 go to post but the obvious first option is the 3-y-o PALACE PIER who won the Marois last time on heavy ground at Deauville. THE REVENANT was second in this last year after winning the Daniel Wildenstein and he duly won the same race on his re-appearance. He's a serious threat. CIRCUS MAXIMUS is one of the bravest horses in training and he's right in this on his Queen Anne second while the filly NAZEEF may not find life so easy among the boys after her Sun Chariot success. CENTURY DREAM was seventh in this last year and has always performed well on soft ground but this looks very hot. 

It's hard to look beyond PALACE PIER who would be confirmed the mile champion if he wins this.

The Champion Stakes has 11 runners. In some years, this hasn't been the strongest of renewals but this is a quality field headed by a champion filly in MAGICAL who may follow her old nemesis Enable into retirement after this race. MISHRIFF won the Jockey Club and followed up well at Deauville but this is a tougher test. LORD NORTH won the Prince of Wales but was well held in the Juddmonte - to be fair, he has plenty of form on slow ground but can I fancy him against MAGICAL? LORD NORTH easily beat ADDEYBB in June and for all the latter performs on this ground he was held in this last year and I just don't think he can cut it in a strong European Group 1.

SKALLETI is interesting having beaten subsequent Arc winner Sottsass last time while JAPAN has been re-routed here from the Arc. He has it to prove on the ground and to be blunt Derby winner SERPENTINE and Leger third PYLEDRIVER have plenty to do at this exalted level. 

MAGICAL is the obvious choice and if she brings her best form she'll probably win. LORD NORTH is my idea of one to oppose her and I've had a small bet on the nose at 7s.

 

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The climax to the British Flat season took place at Ascot on Saturday. The ground was Soft for the straight course but Soft to Heavy on the Round Course and they were taking plenty off the top on the round course suggesting it was deep ground.

The card opened with the Stayers over 3200m and for all he has been the dominant force in the division in the past three or four seasons, this is a race STRADIVARIUS has only won once though his narrow defeat at the hands of KEW GARDENS last year was no disgrace.

To be honest, I couldn’t fancy him after is coltish exploits at Longchamp before the Arc and he ran very flat here trailing home well behind the impressive winner TRUESHAN who rewarded late each way support from 16s to 11s. Hollie Doyle had the horse in mid-division but he was the only one who quickened in the straight and won by seven and a half lengths.

In truth, he’s better known as a jumper and is thought a Champion Hurdle prospect, but he relished the winter-like ground and in these conditions he’s clearly very good and his flat record reads seven wins from eleven starts so he’s no mug. SEARCH FOR A SONG was held up out the back and came into the race well enough but she was no match for the winner albeit she ran down the early pacesetters to take second in the final 100m – a creditable effort.

Both FUJAIRA PRINCE and MORANDO are solid performers at this level on their day and both ran decent races to finish third and fourth and as geldings we will doubtless see them back next year and while it’s possible the latter is on the downgrade, FUJAIRA PRINCE remains lightly raced and there could still be a serious race in him.

The O’Brien challengers were well beaten – DAWN PATROL ran the best of them, and I could see him being a Cup horse as a 4-y-o, but the likes of BROOME and SOVEREIGN were well held.

As for STRADIVARIUS, I’d retire him – he wants to be a stallion and while I understand the allure of a fourth Gold Cup win, I just think he’s lost the plot on the track.

The Sprint over 1200m looked a seriously good race with the winners of the July Cup and the Haydock Sprint Trophy in the forms of DREAM OF DREAMS and OXTED facing the triple Foret winner in ONE MASTER and the unbeaten STARMAN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXhFy68YHnI

 

Another win for Hollie Doyle and that was a 203/1 double. I think the race was won at the start as GLEN SHIEL got a flyer and in a sport where decisions can rest on inches (or millimetres if you prefer), that precious advantage was decisive. I didn’t think however it would be possible to do this from the front and to be fair the outsider BRANDO was the last challenger and got so close.

Both DREAM OF DREAMS and OXTED travelled strongly enough in the ground and while I thought OXTED ran a decent race, neither really got home. As might have been expected, the 1400m specialist ONE MASTER was enough to finish really well but as is so often the case it was a little too late for her and it seems likely she will end her career at the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

ART POWER was fourth and ran well and I’m looking forward to seeing him as a 4-y-o. Neither STARMAN nor LOPE Y FERNANDEZ ever got involved.

The winner had run second to DREAM OF DREAMS at Haydock but this was an improved effort and it may well be in a division which has had no star this year he will be vying with DREAM OF DREAMS next year.

On then to the Fillies and Mares over 2400m and for a race which looked very trappy on paper, in the end very few got involved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRxVZsKQc24

William Buick knew WONDERFUL TONIGHT, having won the Royallieu over 400m further, would see out the trip and he committed fully 600m down, but it was a decisive move and she was never in any real danger. I thought DAME MAILLOT did plenty in the race, but she ran on very bravely though that’s the last of her on a racecourse and she will be a valuable broodmare for the Oppenheimer family.

PASSION got a lot closer to WONDERFUL TONIGHT here than she had at Longchamp and was staying on well at the end. As for MEDHDAAYIH, she did everything right in the prelims but I just wonder if Dettori got too far back – he did plenty to bring her into the race starting her run when Buick kicked on the winner and she moved up with some menace 300m down but the run flattened and it may be 2400m on the ground was too far.

Not much show from the likes of EVEN SO and FRANKLY DARLING while ANTONIA DE VEGA led but was readily headed and faded in the straight. The winner is a classy filly and it’ll be interesting to see if she comes back next season as she could be a serious contender in a staying division which will, I suspect, be in some degree of transition. All her best form has been on slow ground and the Vermeille showed she probably doesn’t have the pace to be a Group 1 contender at 2400m but an additional 800m and some wet ground would be a very different story.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is the mile championship race. PALACE PIER came in to this unbeaten having won the St James’s Palace and the Marois. He faced THE REVENANT who had returned from a long break after running second in the 2019 version of the race to win the Daniel Wildenstein and if this was a plot then full credit to trainer Francois Graffard as it worked out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdfnVapAVyc

 

It was a curious race and if you wanted a French-run race in England that was it – no early gallop and basically a 400m sprint. Pierre-Charles Boudot rides these all day and had THE REVENANT close to the pace while Frankie Dettori was, I thought, a long way out of his ground on PALACE PIER and had to do a lot to get to the front which he did.

In the final 200m, Dettori was looking down as if there was something amiss and it turned out PALACE PIER had lost a shoe and racing on three “wheels” in that ground wouldn’t have been easy. ROSEMAN ran a screamer in second as an unconsidered outsider for all he had run fourth in the Queen Anne over course and distance in June. Jockey Andrea Atzeni was up the front throughout which was the place to be. Another outsider who out-ran his odds was SIR BUSKER who might have finished third had he kept straight. In truth, very few got into this and I suspect the combination of the slow ground and the slow early pace didn’t help a number such as CIRCUS MAXIMUS and NAZEEF who would prefer better ground and a more traditional English style race.

THE REVENANT is a gelding and a 5-y-o and that rules him out of several French Group 1 races so perhaps connections might be tempted to come over to the UK more, but he clearly prefers the mud and his record of nine wins from twelve races tells you how well campaigned he has been.

ROSEMAN might be top of the older mile division after this and perhaps another tilt at the Queen Anne will be on the cards – as for PALACE PIER, who knows? He remains a very good horse on decent ground and if they keep him in training as a 4-y-o he’s going to be a real benchmark for next year’s classic performers to aim at in the Sussex and other races.

On then to the big race of the afternoon, the Champion Stakes over 2000m which at £425,325 was worth about a ninth of the Everest which says a lot about the British and Australian racing scenes currently.

MAGICAL was bidding to follow up her win in this last year but faced strong opposition from Jockey Club winner MISHRIFF, Prince of Wales winner LORD NORTH and dual Australian Group 1 winner and second in this last year, ADDEYBB.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sppUEhMGXTU

 

Just like THE REVENANT in the previous race, it was a case of second to first for ADDEYBB and again you sense this was a plan which worked. He had been second (well beaten in all honesty) to LORD NORTH in the Prince of Wales and had enjoyed a pipe opener at Ayr in September in much lower grade but this was another race won and lost early.

I suspect the plan had been for Derby winner SERPENTINE to jump and run but he fluffed the start, and this gave jockey Tom Marquand on ADDEYBB a chance to come over form the outside draw and get a position.

SKALLETI was always close to the pace and ran a blinder in second and the run with SOTTSASS at Deauville now looks some of the strongest form in Europe this season.

I never thought Ryan Moore looked comfortable on MAGICAL and it speaks volumes for her class she was able to plug on and grab third. I did wonder if the early pace problems put her on the back foot but she was well held and it may just be we’ve seen the best of her – she’s a 6-y-o like Enable and if connections think she’s done enough no one will object and she will be a huge addition to the Coolmore broodmare roster.

SERPENTINE redeemed his reputation a little with this effort though if I’m being honest the Derby win still looks a fluke and with the Jockey Club winner in fifth, it’s fair to say the 3-y-o have been put in their place by the older horses throughout the autumn and with the exception of LOVE, it’s probably fair comment the classic generation of 2020 has been average.

LORD NORTH and JAPAN never got involved.

ADDEYBB started his rise winning the Lincoln at Doncaster three seasons ago and his exploits in Australia have been well documented and I suppose an autumn campaign Down Under might be on the agenda once again. SKALLETI is also a gelding and perhaps like CIRRUS DES AIGLES back in the day, he’ll be back next year for another try as he can’t run in several French Group 1 races including the Arc.

That’s basically the British season done though we have a final Group 1 at Doncaster this weekend of which more elsewhere.

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The fallout from Champion Day continues with news KAMEKO will be retired after the Breeders Cup Mile and will stand at Cambridge Stud replacing the late lamented Roaring Lion.

Coronation Cup, Eclipse and Juddmonte winner GHAIYYATH has also been retired and will join the Darley stud roster in Ireland.

It's that time of year up here when we transition from Flat to Jump racing and this weekend sees the opening meeting of the year at Cheltenham.

For Flat fans, there are decent cards on offer at Doncaster and Newbury and 18 have been entered for the final Group 1 of the British season, the Vertem Futurity, at Doncaster. The ground in South Yorkshire is currently Good to Soft.

WEMBLEY ran a blinder in the Dewhurst and this is the obvious next step but he faces ONE RULER who was an impressive winner over 1600m at Newmarket albeit in Group 3 company. Into the mix we can throw another Godolphin contender in LA BAROSSA who is unbeaten in two and won a Group 3 over 1400m at Newmarket last time.

I'm also interested in MEGALLAN who got no run behind ONE RULER last time but should be a lot closer.

 

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More interest in the coming weekend with some interesting end of season races in France.

At Saint-Cloud on Saturday, we have the Criterium International and the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Both are for the juveniles with the former over 1600m and the latter over 2000m so with the ground currently Heavy it's going to be all about stamina. In a sense, the International is the French equivalent of the Futurity at Doncaster and Godolphin have entered both LA BARROSSA and ONE RULER who are also both in at Doncaster. Aidan O'Brien has also left VAN GOGH in both races but the most interesting UK raider is JADOOMI from the Crisford stable. Last time he won a valuable sales race at Longchamp by seven lengths and while those kind of races are more about quantity than quality it was still a taking effort. The best of the locals looks to be POLICY OF TRUTH who won a Group 3 at Longchamp in September over the distance.

Eight go in the Criterium de Saint Cloud and they are headed by Marcel Boussac winner TIGER TANAKA for whom you'd think the ground and trip would hold no fears. The unbeaten MAKALOUN has also worked through the French juvenile ranks and won a Group 3 last time. The British and Irish raiders include BOLSHOI BALLET from Aidan O'Brien and the unbeaten BELLOCCIO but I'm more interested in the German raider BEST OF LIPS who won a Group 3 at Cologne last time and could well be up to this class.

Sunday sees the final significant meeting at Longchamp which features the Group 2 Conseil de Paris but also the Group 1 Royal Oak (known generally as the French St Leger). I was very taken with the filly VALIA in the Chaudenay and she could well be good enough in what looks a weak renewal.

These races mark the end of the French season in terms of quality.

 

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Saturday's final declarations are through for the three Group 1 races in Britain and France.

Nine stand for Saturday's Vertem Futurity at Doncaster where the ground remains Good to Soft.

The main withdrawal is LA BAROSSA who heads for Saint-Cloud of which more anon. WEMBLEY is 15/8 favourite and ONE RULER 5/2 and if you think placed Group 1 form is better than winning Group 3 form you'll be lumping on the favourite and I have to day WEMBLEY's runs in both the National and the Dewhurst entitle him to be head of the market. KING VEGA represents last year's winning team of Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding but while KAMEKO had won the Solario, KING VEGA was second to ETONIAN and with the latter disappointing in the Dewhurst there's a question mark over the form.

The same is true of STATE OF REST who ran a fine third to CHINDIT and ALBASHEER but the latter pair were both well held in the Dewhurst as well.

I like MEGALLAN and I'm on at 10s each way. He got no run behind ONE RULER last time and while he shouldn't be good enough to beat WEMBLEY, at the price it's a nice return if he finishes in the first three.

At Saint Cloud, seven stand in the Criterium International over 1600m. LA BAROSSA comes here and I suppose it's a question of whether the ground will be against him. We know the ground will be no issue to JADOOMI and he'd be my pick. All eight stand in the Criterium de Saint Cloud which will be a right slog over 2000m.  TIGER TANAKA brings the Marcel Boussac form and is probably the best of the locals on the form we've seen but the Irish raider BOLSHOI BALLET has every chance as does the German challenger BEST OF LIPS.

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4 hours ago, stodge said:

Saturday's final declarations are through for the three Group 1 races in Britain and France.

Nine stand for Saturday's Vertem Futurity at Doncaster where the ground remains Good to Soft.

The main withdrawal is LA BAROSSA who heads for Saint-Cloud of which more anon. WEMBLEY is 15/8 favourite and ONE RULER 5/2 and if you think placed Group 1 form is better than winning Group 3 form you'll be lumping on the favourite and I have to day WEMBLEY's runs in both the National and the Dewhurst entitle him to be head of the market. KING VEGA represents last year's winning team of Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding but while KAMEKO had won the Solario, KING VEGA was second to ETONIAN and with the latter disappointing in the Dewhurst there's a question mark over the form.

The same is true of STATE OF REST who ran a fine third to CHINDIT and ALBASHEER but the latter pair were both well held in the Dewhurst as well.

I like MEGALLAN and I'm on at 10s each way. He got no run behind ONE RULER last time and while he shouldn't be good enough to beat WEMBLEY, at the price it's a nice return if he finishes in the first three.

At Saint Cloud, seven stand in the Criterium International over 1600m. LA BAROSSA comes here and I suppose it's a question of whether the ground will be against him. We know the ground will be no issue to JADOOMI and he'd be my pick. All eight stand in the Criterium de Saint Cloud which will be a right slog over 2000m.  TIGER TANAKA brings the Marcel Boussac form and is probably the best of the locals on the form we've seen but the Irish raider BOLSHOI BALLET has every chance as does the German challenger BEST OF LIPS.

Criterion St Cloud produces good horses , Hartnell and Cloth of Stars a couple placed in it last 10 years amoung others but 2016 must be best juvenile group 1 in many many years .

Walgeist Arc winner 

Best Solution Caulfield Cup winner 

Capri Irish Derby Doncaster St Leger winner 

Wings of Eagles Epsom Derby winner 

Rekindling ran last , Melbourne Cup winner ,

Some other also rans like D'Bai a solid Listed/ GRP 3 Horse still rattling round,  Even Frankuus still rattling around Dundalk last week. 

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20 hours ago, Red Rum said:

Criterion St Cloud produces good horses , Hartnell and Cloth of Stars a couple placed in it last 10 years amoung others but 2016 must be best juvenile group 1 in many many years .

Walgeist Arc winner 

Best Solution Caulfield Cup winner 

Capri Irish Derby Doncaster St Leger winner 

Wings of Eagles Epsom Derby winner 

Rekindling ran last , Melbourne Cup winner ,

Some other also rans like D'Bai a solid Listed/ GRP 3 Horse still rattling round,  Even Frankuus still rattling around Dundalk last week. 

TAJ MAHAL ran fifth in 2016 and BEST SOLUTION finished fifth in his final race in Germany behind ASPETAR who is in tomorrow's Cox Plate field.

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All eight stand in Sunday's Royal Oak at Longchamp where the ground is Heavy.

PRINCESS ZOE won the 4000m Cadran on Arc weekend and that was a brutal slog so this 3000m race will seem like a sprint. I reckon she's improved 40 lbs since winning a handicap back in June and she may well go in again but I prefer Chaudenay winner VALIA whose second to WONDERFUL TONIGHT in the Minerve at Deauville now looks top class form.

The Group 2 Conseil de Paris over 2200m is an interesting end of season race. NAGANO GOLD is probably the best horse in Eastern Europe - in 2019 he ran second in the Hardwicke at Ascot and he started this campaign with a fine second in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud. He was third to ANTHONY VAN DYCK in the Foy and last time won at Sluzewiec which as we all know is Poland's foremost racecourse. The race he won is Poland's biggest race known in English as the Great Warsaw Race over 2600m.

BARON SAMEDI represents Joseph O'Brien but he's won handicaps so far and I like SOFT LIGHT who was sixth in last year's Arc and MARE AUSTRALIS, a lightly raced type from the Fabre yard.

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1 hour ago, stodge said:

TAJ MAHAL ran fifth in 2016 and BEST SOLUTION finished fifth in his final race in Germany behind ASPETAR who is in tomorrow's Cox Plate field.

Yes , forgot Taj Mahal , won a bit off him over the years in Australia.  Won few grp 2s there.At stud now , he was up for it in paddock at Valley one night so I am guessing he's doing well .

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A busy weekend up here with the final Group 1 races of the English and French seasons. Autumn usually means rain and heavy ground and this year is no exception.

Heavy rain soon after the start of racing on the Town Moor turned the ground heavy and made the 1600m of the Vertem Futurity as much of a stamina test as ever for the juveniles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBwqheH66Zk

With WEMBLEY a late scratching, this probably wasn’t the strongest renewal of this race. MAC SWINEY (named after a Lord Mayor of Cork) toughed it out to hold off ONE RULER and the promising BARADAR.

The winner had beaten CADILLAC in the Futurity but had run poorly on quicker ground in the National and for those looking at long-range bets, it really does seem MAC SWINEY needs soft turf if not to help him then to slow the others down.

ONE RULER ran perfectly well in defeat and is likely to be the Godolphin standard bearer in the early 3-y-o races. I was also taken with BARADAR in third – he’s son of Muharrar out of a Pivotal mare so again you’d think slow ground would be a big help. I see him as a 1400m horse next season.

Of the others, MEGALLAN couldn’t cope with the ground and both Champagne third STATE OF REST and maiden KING VEGA were likewise well held.

Saint Cloud staged the last two French juvenile Group 1 races and rather like the Vertem Futurity, they have proved surprising helpful pointers for the classic season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RYy6B_8qa0

VAN GOGH became yet another Ballydoyle winner in this race, but I think the fact he got a dream run up the rail was a huge help. It was vital throughout the afternoon to be right up against the stands side fence and Pierre-Charles Boudot took full advantage of the way the race developed.

The winner has shown useful form in Group 2 events so this was a decent step forward and in a year with no real outstanding colt (or filly), he goes into winter quarters with every prospect of being a classic contender next year.

Of the others, JADOOMI raced prominently but this was a big step up from a sales race and he didn’t run too badly but LA BAROSSA got caught out wide and never looked happy in the ground.

The Criterium de Saint Cloud is over 2000m and has also had a strong roll of honour including, more recently, future Arc winner Waldgeist. This year’s renewal looked a notch or two below that quality in all honesty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8dbSN29D9c

That was as gutsy a performance as you could wish to see from GEAR UP who was prominent every step of the way and toughed it out to hold the late challenge of BOTANIK.

Mark Johnston’s horses are renowned for their strength and stamina and GEAR UP showed it here in spades. He had run fourth in the Royal Lodge staying on and the 2000m looked ideal and you’d think he could be a really useful staying type next year.

It was interesting to see the jockeys come off the well chewed-up turf on the rail and come more towards the centre of the course. MAKALOUN and TIGER TANAKA both ran okay but didn’t seem to quite see out the trip. I was hopeful for BEST OF LIPS on the home turn, but he got into a barging match with the winner and came off much the worse.

More heavy ground at Longchamp on Sunday for the Prix Royal Oak over 3000m but it was a case of plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuozFIGw4A0

Another Mark Johnston horse making almost all and toughing it out in front. This time it was SUBJECTIVIST who capped off a memorable weekend for the Yorkshire trainer.

He won the March Stakes at Goodwood on soft ground by 15 lengths but had been well held in both the Voltigeur and the St Leger on much quicker ground. He’s clearly another for whom it can’t be too deep.

VALIA ran creditably in second and HOLDTHAISGREEN was third. Oddly enough, despite the heavy ground, it all happened too quick for PRINCESS ZOE who ran on for fourth without ever threatening.

The supporting Grand Conseil de Paris, a Group 2, showed once again how foolish it is to underestimate Joseph O’Brien as BARON SAMEDI was backed into favourite and just held off the late challenge of MARE AUSTRALIS.

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Sad to hear of the death of WICHITA in Australia following complications from surgery to repair a broken leg. 

WICHITA had been placed in the 2000 Guineas and the St James's Palace and came back to his best when beating ONE MASTER in the Park at Doncaster on what would be his last racecourse appearance.

The Flat season on grass is almost done in Europe so attention shifts to the global racing scene with the Melbourne Cup next week and the Breeders Cup on the 6th and 7th November followed by the Japan Cup ad finally the Hong Kong International races.

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Just to report the globetrotting mare MAGIC WAND has been retired. Won nearly £4 million but most of it in place money. Her finest hour would have been the 2019 MacKinnon when she beat MELODY BELLE.

She was placed in races like the Pretty Polly, the Irish Champion and the Pegasus Invitational Turf so a really good mare and well up to Group 1 class.

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2 hours ago, stodge said:

Just to report the globetrotting mare MAGIC WAND has been retired. Won nearly £4 million but most of it in place money. Her finest hour would have been the 2019 MacKinnon when she beat MELODY BELLE.

She was placed in races like the Pretty Polly, the Irish Champion and the Pegasus Invitational Turf so a really good mare and well up to Group 1 class.

That stretch from Cox Plate to Saudi last year incredible, not sure I've seen a formine like it . She was very unlucky in Hong Kong . Australia Nov , HK Dec , USA Jan and Saudi Feb , she didn't disgrace herself 10th in Saudi on dirt , Mckenzie,  North America , Gronkowski and Cappadanno behind her all experience high class  dirt horses. 

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Very sad news this afternoon - seven horses purchased from the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale were killed in a fire in Normandy en route to their new stables in Spain:

https://www.racingpost.com/bloodstock/bloodstock-latest/seven-horses-bought-at-tattersalls-reported-to-have-died-in-tragic-road-accident/456917

Dreadful - WISE COUNSEL won three times, was placed in a Listed at Goodwood in June and ran in some warm handicaps off a rating of 98. 

I don't normally report the jumping scene but if there's any interest on here, I'll do a weekly update. ENVOI ALLEN, last season's top novice hurdler, made an impressive start over fences at Down Royal this afternoon.

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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 the 4/1 favourite but CADILLAC is also entered along with NEW MANDATE and THE LIR JET.

Five European entries in the Juvenile Fillies Turf over 1600m and Aidan O'Brien will be hoping MOTHER EARTH and SNOWBALL don't get mixed up again as happened at Newmarket. MISS AMULET and OODNADATTA also run for Ireland while Roger Varian has entered NAZUNA.

On to Saturday, GLASS SLIPPERS and EQUILATERAL have been entered for the Turf Sprint over 1100m.

As might be expected, a strong European challenge in the Filly & Mare Turf headed by Vermeille winner TARNAWA but also CAYENNE PEPPER, PEACEFUL and TEREBELLUM among others in a race the Europeans have often won.

The Turf Mile is another race in which the Europeans usually do very well and with the likes of KAMEKO, SISKIN and CIRCUS MAXIMUS entered, there will be another strong challenge.

The Turf over 2400m is the race the Europeans win most often and some years it has been the only European win. With MAGICAL and LORD NORTH coming here off the Champion Stakes and MOGUL coming off the Grand Prix de Paris , it looks another powerful entry.

The Classic is worth about the same as the Melbourne Cup and again the parallel is with the Arc as it's the meeting of champions of the generations. The top 4-y-o MAXIMUM SECURITY and IMPROBABLE clash with the 3-y-o SWISS SKYDIVER and AUTHENTIC.

More later in the week.

 

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