Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Juddmonte


The Juddmonte

By Stephen Dwyer


Strictly speaking it is not The Juddmonte but rather the International Stakes. Held at York over a distance of 1 mile, 2 furlongs and 88 yards the race has been sponsored by Juddmonte Farms since 1989. Wednesdays renewal of the International Stakes is the fortieth since the race was inaugurated in 1972. The very first running of the International Stakes was won by Roberto. It was a terrific upset. Roberto, although a Derby winner, beat the great Brigadier Gerard who started at odds of 1/3 for the race. It was to be the only defeat in eighteen starts for Brigadier Gerard, who it must be said was giving the winner 12lb and was unwell after the race.

This year however, there should be no upset. The equine superhero that is Frankel lines up as the unopposable 1/8 favourite and should have little trouble in dealing with racing over an extended trip. But just how good is Frankel ? We all know his is unbeaten, but many good horses were unbeaten throughout their career. Frankel however is simply a class apart.

 The facts tell all. In the world of black type he is the only horse in to win the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood twice. In doing so Frankel equalled the record for consecutive wins in European Group 1 races (seven in a row) set by Rock Of Gibraltar. The only time Frankel started at odds against (7/4) was on his racecourse debut in 2010, a middle class Newmarket maiden that was just a little bit hot. The race contained and unearthed a host of future stars including the Group One Coral Eclipse winner Nathaniel and Ascot Gold Cup Group One winner Colour Vision. His Racing Post rating of 142 is the highest recorded. His Timeform rating of 147 awarded after his Queen Anne Stakes victory is the highest in Timeform's history.

Frankel is also owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah of the House of Saud, the Prince also owns Juddmonte Farms, where the colt was foaled in 2008. By champion sire Galileo, Frankel Frankel is bred on the Galileo-Danehill cross which also features in the pedigrees of Group 1 winners Teofilo, Golden Lilac and Maybe. Successful as this cross is, it seems Frankel is still improving. His three starts this year have resulted in wins totalling twenty two lengths and it seems there is more to come. Trainer Henry Cecil is on record as stating: "I think it's a facetious thing to say, but he's the best I've ever seen”

The main opposition to Frankel will be the Ballydoyle colt St Nicholas Abbey. Aidan O’ Brien has won two of the last four renewals of the Juddmonte, including posting a new race record with Duke of Marmalade in 2008. Last year’s runner Await The Dawn finished a disappointing third in the race for Ballydoyle, he was the 8/13 favourite that day but could not pass the Henry Cecil duo of Midday and Twice Over.

Twice Over bids to retain the race this year but his current odds of 14/1 reflect his chances against his stablemate. St Nicholas Abbey though will be no pushover, he races well over the distance and his trainer notes “We've always thought the world of him -- he is a very exciting horse. And we still think he is on the upgrade. We're looking forward to seeing him run at York”. A winner of four Group One races including repeat wins in the Coronation Cup at Epsom he still may have to settle for second best behind Frankel but he will stretch the unbeaten colt to the limits of his stamina.

Many will think Frankel has questions to answer over his stamina. The best miler in the world he may be, but how will he cope with the extra two furlongs on the Knavesmire ?

He will laugh at it.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Ladbrokes St. Leger


The Ladbrokes St. Leger

By Stephen Dwyer

It is the oldest of the classics. First run in 1776, the same year that The United States declared their independence, the St. Leger  is also the longest of Britain’s five classic races. Sponsored by Ladbrokes since 2005, the St. Leger is run at Doncaster over a distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 132 yards.
The 2012 renewal of the St. Leger takes place on Saturday September 15th. .This year’s race is centred around a rare event, a bid for the Triple Crown. The unbeaten Ballydoyle colt, Camelot is attempting to become the first horse since Nijinsky to win the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St. Leger. The Triple Crown has eluded many top class racehorses since it was last won in 1970 and it has become a rare occurrence for a horse to attempt it nowadays. Almost out of fashion, there is a tendency from top yards to target other races.
Most recently Sea The Stars, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2009 opted for the Juddmonte International, the Irish Champion Stakes, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe instead of the St. Leger route. Remember Sea The Stars is only the second horse since Nashwan in 1988 to have won the Guineas-Derby double so this in itself is a rarity. Expect the hype machine to kick into overdrive as Camelot attempts to make history by becoming the first colt to win the triple crown this century.
Currently available at a best priced 1/2 for the St. Leger, Camelot was always that bit special. He was bred by Sheik Abdulla Bin Isa Al-Khalifa from the Sheik’s own mare Tarfah. By Montjeu, Camelot was sold for 525,000 guineas at the Tattersalls October sales in 2010. Demi O’Byrne, bloodstock agent for Coolmore acquired the colt and he is now unbeaten in all five starts. Already a winner over a mile and 1m 4f, Camelot has plenty of stamina on his dam’s side. Tarfah won the Snowdrop stakes and the Group 3 Dahlia stakes and the colt is fully expected to stay the extended 1m 6f trip at Doncaster.
It was only after the Derby win that Camelot’s connections copper-fastened an assault on the Triple Crown. John Magnier noted “ We’re all getting older and somehow these things start to mean a little more”. Yet for all the confidence behind Camelot, the race is still a classic and one that is never easily won. Shergar was beaten in the St. Leger, and although Nijinsky won it comfortably, the race settled from two furlongs out , Camelot is out of the same top drawer. After his heavy ground win in the Irish Derby, Hayley O'Connor of St. Leger sponsor Ladbrokes said: "Conditions were far from ideal yet Camelot still managed to impress us and on better ground his St Leger performance could be even more spectacular.”
The St. Leger can be a gruelling test of stamina and Aidan O’ Brien has given Camelot a break since his Irish Derby win and will run fresh at Doncaster. As short as 1/4 in places at one point, Camelot’s price has improved in recent weeks but he is still very cramped odds for the final classic of the season.
Those vying to upset the Coolmore champion include Great Heavens, Shantaram and Main Sequence. Owned by Lady Rothschild, Great Heavens is a sister to Nathaniel and is a well-finished daughter of Galileo. A winner of four of her five starts she suffered her sole defeat on her racecourse debut when running green. Great Heavens then made all the running to win cosily in the Listed Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes at Newbury in June before employing similar tactics in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks, a race she won by 8 lengths as favourite. Her latest run on heavy ground at the Curragh saw her stay on strongly in the final furlong to win the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks, beating all local challengers including Epsom Oaks heroine Was. Great Sequence is hovering around the 7/1 mark for the St. Leger and with William Buick on board and a valuable 3lb fillies allowance, she is likely to race prominently and provide Camelot with plenty to think about.
Trained by John Gosden, who is going for a third St. Leger win in a row, Shantaram is stablemate to Great Heavens. By Galielo and out of All’s Fogotten, a Darshaan mare, Shantaram is a full brother to Gan Amhras. The colts most notable win was in July at Newmarket when staying on well in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket. Run over 1m 5f, Shantaram handled the soft ground just fine and will appreciate any cut in the ground at Doncaster where he has been supported into 9/1 from 12/1.
By Aldebaran a former champion sprinter, Main Sequence has already run against Camelot. Following a narrow win in the Group 3 Derby Trial at Lingfield, Main Sequence finished second to Camelot in the Investec Derby at Epsom. He quickened well enough but could not live with the eventual winner. Trained by David Lanigan in Lambourn, Main Sequence            will get the green light for the St. Leger if he runs well in the Great Voltigeur. After finishing fourth in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, his trainer was asked about his St. Leger hopes and replied "You never know if they will get that sort of trip [1m6½f] but he relaxes well and would give himself every chance. All he did in France last time was stay". Before last year’s St. Leger, 4 of 10 winners of the St. Leger ran in the Derby, finishing 0274 at Epsom, Camelot though has much more in reserve than these contenders. Of interest too is that there have been only 2 winners of the race priced above 8/1 in past 15 years. Time will tell but Camelot seems unstoppable in his bid for the Triple Crown. The first Triple Crown in forty two years may become one of the most memorable.

 Copyright - Betview Magazine - September issue 2012.

References:

  1. Details of Labdroke’s sponsorship


  1. Odds comparison to ascertain the best odds for entries.


  1. Quote : Hayley O’ Connor – Ladbrokes.


  1. List of British Triple Crown Winners:


  1. Camelot’s pedigree


  1. Nijinsky’s St. Leger win- 1970


  1. Aldebran – Sire Details



Snippets from the world of horse racing



Snippets from the world of horse racing

By Stephen Dwyer




Champion Jockey Title Race Heats Up

Richard Hughes, after knocking on the door for so many years is now the odds on favourite to be crowned Champion Jockey in the UK. Available at odds of 7/1 at one point in the season, Hughes is now as short as 1/3 to claim his first ever champion jockey title. The top flat earner last season with over £2.6 million in prize money, Hughes has been in scintillating form recently. A native of Kildare, Hughes recently won a four-timer at Bath and is now currently level with his rival Ryan Moore. Son of National Hunt trainer, Dessie Hughes, Richard rides mainly for Richard Hannon in the UK. Hughes has a strong book of rides to finish out the season, he rode his first winner in 1996 and has since become one of the best jockeys Ireland has ever produced.

Kauto Star Plans Still Undecided

Connections of Kauto Star, the greatest steeplechaser since Arkle, are still undecided on the future of the 12 year old. After Kauto Star was pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, his owner admitted he was almost certainly retiring the horse. Yet a decision has not been made whether to keep him in training for the forthcoming season. Trainer Paul Nicholls noted “Nicholls explained. "He's out in the field at the moment. He'll probably come into the yard in the next week to 10 days and he'll be paraded at the owners' open-day early next month.” Kauto Star is a history maker on so many fronts, he is the first National Hunt horse to win more than £2 million in prize money. Additionally  was the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup and is the only horse to have won the King George VI Chase five times. Whether he jumps a fence in public again remains to be seen but he is a horse with nothing to prove.

Ruby aims for Listowel return

Following a fall at the fourth hurdle aboard the former Howard Johnson-trained novice hurdler Drive Time at Galway, jockey Ruby Walsh is hoping to return to the saddle in time for the Listowel festival. Trained by Willie Mullins, Drive Time was the 4/1 favourite for the Guinness Galway Hurdle but fell awkwardly in front of the stands at Ballybrit. Walsh was briefly knocked unconscious as he was trampled on by Donald McCain's Lexi's Boy, who was brought down in the incident. Suffering a small break in his ankle, Walsh was ruled out of action for six weeks following the fall.  All is not lost however with Ruby noting: “I've bruised my shoulder and have a cast around my ankle, but I've been enjoying a lot of the Olympics on TV.”. With the first day of the Listowel Festival on September 17th and Walsh feels that date is a realistic target for his comeback, "We're looking at around six weeks, so Listowel would be a good target”. Ruby, who turned 33 in May was also injured at this time last year when he crushed a vertebra in his neck and tore a ligament after falling in a handicap hurdle at Killarney. He returned in time for the Listowel festival, admitting “It was a lot easier to be hurting during the summer than the winter. Being injured is part and parcel of being a jumps jockey. I guess I’ve learned to cope with it”. There is every chance he will make the trip to Kerry and resume his winnings ways.

GAA and Horse Racing Superstars clash at Saint Conleth’s Park

A celebrity hurling match takes place on Tuesday, August 14th in Saint Conleth’s Park Newbridge in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. The event has been organised by trainer Jim Bolger & Champion Jockey Davy Russell. The teams will feature a mixture of GAA and horse racing stars and include; former All Ireland winners Mark Landers, T.J. Ryan , Pat Fox, Joe Deane, Dave Bernie, Kieran Purcell, Damien Fitzhenry and Charlie Carter and  D.J. Carey; Wexford all Ireland winning manager Liam Griffin; Aidan O’Brien; Kilkenny Manager Brian Cody; Derby winning Jockey Kevin Manning; Colm O’Rourke; GrĂ¡inne Seoige; Micheal O’Leary; Ronnie Delaney; Sile Seoige; Irish Sports Woman of the year, top lady jockey Katie Walsh; Niall Quinn; Nicky English; with Cork legend Jimmy Barry Murphy as Referee for the day. Entertainment on the day will include the Artane Band and Internationally renowned tenor Anthony Kearns. Tickets are €10 for adults and €15 for families.