Monday 6.00pm After all my whingeing over Epsom and it’s far from level playing field the Derby itself was excellent and clean. The only hard luck story to my eyes would have been the winner had he not got up! The boys on the clock say the winner was worthy with the right horses in the places! Wings of Desire will have to repeat the dose against Cracksman in the Irish Derby whilst Cliffs of Moher and Eminent look destined for the 10F Eclipse at Sandown.
The Derby winner finished behind my selection at Chester which was a bit galling but it’s all about improvement on the day with these 3yo’s. However chuffed to say I did put up one winning 3yo on Saturday in Afaak at a cracking 12/1 with bigger prices available earlier!!
“Doncaster 5.40 AFAAK Unraced as a 2yo on 3yo debut he was everybodys eye-catcher in the 7F Alex Scott maiden at the Craven meeting when a running on fourth behind Jewel House and that race has thrown up plenty of winners. A month later he came out and won a C5 8F in Thirsk at odds on. Simples. Not quite, he missed the break, had to be pushed hard to get an early position, hung in the straight, put his head in the air and still won. Bound to improve, Hamdan al Maktoums homebred son of Oasis Dream, Afaak oozes class and like Valcartier I think he’s destined for Group success. This is a Class 4 handicap up Doncaster’s straight 8F on Good ground and he goes handicapping off OR86. Has to be backed. Now I expected 3/1 as a top price and I’m flabbergasted that Paddy Power on line as put him in at 16/1. I am now en route to see if the shops match, normally do. (They did.Ed)”
Tuesdays Lucky 15
We’ll stick with the 3yo theme and see if we can unearth a few more butterflies!
Chepstow 3.00 TIS WONDERFUL 14/1 PP 12/1 general
Chepstow 5.30 KNIGHT DESTROYER 2/1 general
Wetherby 3.10 SNOOKERED 3/1 general
Wetherby 4.40 DAN TROOP 9/2 Ladbrokes + Coral
and here’s why
Chepstow 3.00 TIS WONDERFUL This is all about what could be! Clive Cox ran this son of Casamento thrice as a 2yo with the horse showing hints of ability but also weakness and immaturity. Gelded over the winter he gets to go 8F handicapping off just OR65 and his trainer couldn’t have found him any worse a race which to me looks a seller in all but name with a field of exposed “trees”! The only other one I could consider was John Flint’s Love and be Loved with William Cox (Georgia’s brother?) taking 7lbs off, guaranteed to stay and a modicum of depth to the form of this Lawman filly.
Chepstow 5.30 KNIGHT DESTROYER With 3yo’s receiving a generous 15lbs in this low grade C5 handicap over 12F it has to be a toss-up between Jonjo O’Neill’s Knight Destroyer and Ed Walkers Kings Coinage, both finishing solid second’s last time out. Neither horse according to their sires, Dark Angel and Holy Roman Emperor, should stay this trip without a horsebox but they are both stoutly bred on the dam’s side, Galileo and Halling! Having looked at the replays I’m going for the mediocre big’un over the mediocre littl’un! Knights Destroyer was caught in a box when Mirzam kicked on 2F out over C&D but stayed on strongly. Kings Coinage may well have bumped into one in Canberra Cliffs, now rated a stone higher, but showed terrier like tenacity in grabbing second.
Wetherby 3.10 SNOOKERED This is hardly a handicap with just six pounds from top to bottom in this C6 3yo 8F contest but competitive all the same. I think the winner comes from the top six with little scope amongst the exposed bottom four. Mark Johnston’s Pennington looks a rogue so we’ll cross him off and I’m not sure England Expects will see the trip out even in a first time hood. Casaclare has the classic 3yo profile with three runs at 6F, staying on, gelded over the winter and goes handicapping over a mile off just OR60, more Sir Mark Prescott than Jonjo O’Neill! However not seen for nine months and may well need the run. I’m not sure that Brother McConagall will do any better stepping up fron six to eight furlongs though it’s possible. Treagus had the run of the race last time at Wolverhampton and still didn’t get home. Charlie Fellowes colt may well come on for that but it won’t be easy from Stall 11 although as a son of Mayson he should enjoy the easing ground. Surprise, surprise I’ve gone for the Fahey horse. I just think Paul Hanagan can take this race by the scruff of the neck, jump Snookered out of stall 4, grab the rail before the bend, stack them up then gradually increase the pace up Wetherby’s punishing straight as Snookered will stay. If anything goes by, well done them. Going left handed will help and I can see an issue with a drop of rain.
Wetherby 4.40 DAN TROOP Definitely saved the best until last, C4 7F 61-80, with a 90 degree left hand bend at halfway! You could make a case for half the field here but I’m going for the Fahey/Hanagan double. Dan Troop has been on my radar from his 2yo days and now he has been gelded and stepped up in trip he should climb the handicap ladder. I can’t see the ground being an issue, he’s well boxed in stall 3 and Paul Hanagan rides him for the first time. Dan Troop is a long, rangy type and when he got himself organised on seasonal debut over this trip at Musselburgh he powered home. Put up just three pounds he gets weight from all of his rivals and he can win again.
Fridays Lucky 15
Neither Brorocco or Spring Offensive got a run, the former was murdered! Enable hacked up in the style of a class filly and Zamjar wasn’t good enough! Still £19 back for £15.
Epsom 2.35 SPRING OFFENSIVE 6th 7/1 (10/1WH 9/1 general)
Partly Atzeni’s fault as he had got himself in a position where he had to take the inside route. BHA STEWARDS “they found that in the first incident, FORECFUL APPEAL (USA), placed fourth, ridden by David Egan, had interfered with SPRING OFFENSIVE (IRE), placed sixth, ridden by Andrea Atzeni. Being a 7lb claimer, Egan was offered a representative in the enquiry but declined. It was found that this interference was accidental as FOREFUL APPEAL (USA) had shifted quickly left-handed away from the whip before being corrected by Egan, causing Atzeni to have to take a check.” Eased near finish. Line through form!
Epsom 3.45 BROROCCO 5th 11/4F (9/2 general)
Came from the back went down the camber but just couldn’t get back up it with it being really messy up front, until too late when he finished strongly.
Epsom 4.30 ENABLE 1st 6/1 (7/1 PP 6/1 general)
Saw the trip out better than Rhododendron but two classy fillies.
Epsom 5.50 ZAMJAR 9th 20/1 (10/1 general)
Prominent on inside but weakened final furlong.
Master trainer Andre Fabre is likely to have a small but select team of three for Royal Ascot – headed by Cloth Of Stars. The Godolphin-owned four-year-old has been in rude health this season, winning a Group Three at Saint-Cloud, a Group Two at Chantilly and the Group One Prix Ganay back at Saint-Cloud. Fabre has done a great job rebuilding Cloth Of Stars’ confidence since he finished eighth behind Harzand in last year’s Derby and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes now beckons.
“Cloth Of Stars will be going to Ascot,” said Fabre. “I won’t have many runners there. It’s possible Usherette will be supplemented for the Duke of Cambridge. I’ll also take Le Brivido for the Jersey Stakes. He was only just caught by (subsequent Prix du Jockey Club winner) Brametot in the Guineas and seven furlongs should suit.”
One horse not on the Ascot team is Al Wukair, third to Churchill in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He was forced to miss the Prix du Jockey Club with a late setback. “He’s not too bad and will resume work on Tuesday,” said Fabre. “It was the equivalent of a twisted ankle, I suppose – not serious, but just bad timing. He won’t go to Ascot but he could go for the Prix Jean Prat in July.”
Le Brivido was narrowly denied in the French Guineas by Brametot and the same fate befell Fabre in the French Derby on Sunday as Waldgeist was caught in the dying strides. Fabre said: “I would think the Irish Derby is a good option for him. He took a big step forward from his first run of the year.”