Eminent Can Land Irish Champion Blow

Ante-post racing is somewhat dying, with seemingly very little value in long-term markets.

However, there can be times when an ante-post bet looks of interest, with particular attention on fields that are likely to cut up. With this in mind, we can take a look at the Irish Champion Stakes, where Churchill is likely to be warm order following a solid showing in the Juddmonte International.

He stayed on well down the York straight, edging out Barney Roy for second spot, with the pair seen off by Ulysses, who took advantage by sitting off a very strong early pace. This answered stamina doubts over Churchill and it looks a solid opportunity for Aidan O’Brien’s duel Guineas winner to get some black type over 10 furlongs.

However, when there is a strong O’Brien-trained favourite, races tend to cut up. Winter and Rhododendron are in behind but would either turn up if the fav takes his place? It has to be unlikely, with America potentially on the agenda and races over 12f that look likelier to suit.

Highland Reel could turn up before a crack at the Arc and Ulysses (current second fav) is likely to head to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

So, could Eminent, who is almost a guaranteed runner, be sublime value at 12/1? Quite possibly.

Martyn Meade’s stable star looked destined for big things when cosily landing the Craven before running a big race when fifth in the 2000 Guineas, despite racing keenly. A solid run in the Derby when fourth, again pulling slightly, was a positive and it alleviated doubts over stamina.

By Frankel, he seems suited to the 10f trip and this was seen to full effect in a group two at Deauville last time out. Under an enterprising Ryan Moore ride, he made every yard, showing a nice change of pace to pull clear and this was a serious, serious performance.

It’s not inconceivable that the race will cut up to five or six runners, with perhaps a pacemaker from the O’Brien yard.

This means with three places on offer, Eminent looks worth significant each way interest at 12/1 and he could be a lot shorter come the day.


2pts each way – Eminent (Irish Champion) @ 12/1 (1/5 1-2-3)

Lancaster Bomber Can Land Breeders’ Cup Success

For two days every year, European eyes are cast across the Atlantic as the US of A put on two fantastic cards of racing.

Ok, ok, Friday’s action may well be an amuse bouche for Saturday’s super-size main course, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it just as much.

Despite a rather underwhelming European challenge to this year’s Breeders’ Cup party, Friday sees a couple of major chances, including Lancaster Bomber in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Aidan O’Brien’s number one participant in the race appears to be Intelligence Cross, who has twice finished credibly behind the impressive Mehmas, before being rather tentatively handled when running on well in the Middle Park Stakes last time out.

He has the added bonus of Ryan Moore in the plate and it is obvious to see why he will undoubtedly prove popular. However the performance of his stablemate, Lancaster Bomber, last time out, mean it is hard to ignore his glaring chances from stall one.

After underperforming on softer surfaces he was given what looked to be a ‘pacemaking’ role on his last two starts. On a quick surface, he has battled on well after coming under pressure finishing nine-lengths behind Classic favourite, Churchill, before closing the gap to just one-and-a-quarter lengths at Newmarket.

He was sent off at 66/1 in the Dewhurst, after being expected to ensure a fair pace before falling back through the field. As expected, he came under pressure a fair way out as the strong-travelling Churchill moved past him. However, as he looked set to trickle back tamely, he changed gears and stayed on well to retake second and close on the eventual impressive winner, finishing eye-catchingly well.

Rivet, who was back in fifth, has since come out and franked the form by winning the Racing Post Trophy and it may well turn out to be a very strong race.

Lancaster Bomber steps up to a mile at Santa Anita and this should be perfect. Stall one could be a blessing as it now gives Seamie Heffernan added emphasis to pop him out and make the running. He will be a hard horse to pass if he can kick off the bend and at 7/1, he looks fair value to even make the frame.

Elsewhere on the opening evening, La Coronel could be worth a second look in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf. The European raiders are to the fore in the market but the manner in with the American filly picked up to win on her last two starts was very impressive.

If she hadn’t have underwhelmed during her first two starts (still not terrible runs) she could be shorter. A draw of 14 is far from ideal however, but it’s not impossible to overcome as Hit It A Bomb showed last year. Expect her to strike late and at 9/1, she could go well.


1.5pt win – Lancaster Bomber (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) @ 7/1 (Various)

0.5pt win – La Coronel (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf) @ 9/1 (Various)

Side With Rhododendron At Newmarket

Racing returns to terrestrial TV this Friday, as the Channel 4 cameras pan to Newmarket and York.

The fillies take centre stage in the Fillies’ Mile, with plenty hoping the leading protagonists can follow last year’s winner Minding in taking a leading role in next year’s Classics.

Godolphin won the race on three consecutive occasions from 2010-2012, so it’s no surprise to see sufficient interest in current market leader Sobetsu. The filly showed plenty of promise when running behind the reappearing Spatial, before going on to a wide-margin victory at HQ.

She could potentially be anything and although there is a fair level of excitement surrounding her, it may be worth taking a chance with Rhododendron. Aidan O’Brien’s filly is already a Group 2 winner, after scoring in battling fashion, edging out her repappearing stablemate, Hydrangea.

O’Brien’s got his string in fine form, as shown by his 1-2-3 in the Arc last weekend, and the fact his filly Found fared best gives an extra, albeit small, boost of confidence ahead of the Fillies’ Mile.

Rhododenron landed a mini-gamble when winning her maiden at Glorious Goodwood and after back-to-back wins, she ran a nice enough race in defeat last time in the Moyglare. This looks a logical step and given her breeding suggests she will relish the step up to a mile, the current 4/1 looks more than fair.

Ryan Moore gets back on board (he is 1/1 on her) and she can announce herself as a possible Classic type and make it three in a row for Aidan O’Brien.

Elsewhere on the card, it is a shame Mark Johnston appears to be in poor form. His runners have struggled to reach the expected heights over the past week and there may well be some small issues plaguing his animals. However, this appears to have been factored into the price of three of his runners on Friday.

He saddles Yalta in the opener and the colt looks extremely interesting. After scoring twice in fine fashion, he disappointed in hot company. He slammed rivals with ease in the Molecomb and given The Last Lion – subsequent Middle Park winner – was back in second, the form looks solid.

Two disappoint efforts have ensued, though one of these was when sent off well-fancied for the Nunthorpe, and he has now acquired something of an all-or-nothing reputation. This may be the case tomorrow, though the 8/1 could prove to be a silly price now back in Group 3 company.

Another pair of Johnston runners are Lumiere and New Caledonia. Lumiere put a poor Guineas display behind her when bolting up over 6f at Newmarket next time out. A flat effort at Deauvile was followed with a nice enough third at Doncaster and if she has her own way of things in front, she could be hard to stop on a going day in the 14.05. The 11/1 is fair, though there has to be slight reservations given MJ’s form.

The same can be applied to New Caledonia, who benefited from the step up to 10f, when winning at Ascot last month. He was a credible third to Southdown Lad on softer than ideal ground last time and could be ahead of his current mark of 95, now returning to a strongly ran 10f on better ground in the 15.45.

He’s been notably strong in the market since the prices opened, which has to be taken as a positive given the MJ factor and he is of interest at a current 9/1. Yalta, Lumiere & New Caledonia could ensure Johnston returns to form in some style, all at nice prices.


2pts win: Rhododendron (Fillies’ Mile) @ 4/1 (Various)




Forge Clear At Newmarket

Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting takes centre stage tomorrow and there looks to be plenty of interesting sorts taking to the Rowley Mile.

We begin with a Listed contest at 1.50 and although wide-open, it isn’t the strongest renewal in terms of class. However there are a number of interesting runners, including Wilamina, who looks potentially useful before a disappointing effort last time out. If you’re willing to line through that performance, then she should be bang there at a nice double figure price. However, the nod goes towards Kevin Ryan’s charge, Ashadihan.

The filly burst onto the scene with a blistering turn of foot during a Haydock maiden victory, before running a huge race to finish second in the Albany. Something was clearly amiss as she flopped in the Albany but she bounced back in style, with a smooth success in a Lingfield Group 3 on her first start of the season.

She ran solid enough raves behind Alice Springs and Qemah on her last two starts at Group 1 level and now a return to tomorrow’s level should allow to go mightily close again. At 6/1, she looks a solid proposition.

It would be a surprise to see Journey turned over in the 2.30, as a reproduction of last year’s form puts her clear of rivals and her efforts this season have suggested she’s retained plenty of ability. She won this race by eight lengths last season and should take the beating yet again.

It’s hard to back against Fair Eva in the Rockfel Stakes, as she is sure to relish the step up to 7f for the first time. Her pedigree (daughter of the mighty Frankel) suggests she will enjoy further in time and although she was turned over by the very smart Queen Kindly at York, the winner had conditions perfect and may turn out to be more suited to a sharp six at this stage.

Her odds aren’t fantastic but it could be a performance to put forward her 1000 Guineas credentials. Exmouth has the potential to be extremely useful but the more experience Fair Eva should have enough to keep her at bay in what looks a safe enough forecast.

Nathra is a worthy favourite in the Shadwell Joel Stakes but it may be worth taking a chance on Forge. Sir Michael Stoute’s charge has ran well in defeat behind Nemoralia, Thikriyaat, Ribchester and Zonderland before he managed to get his head in front at Haydock last time out. He has a similar profile to Confront, who won this race for connections back in 2009. At 5/1, he should give the favourite plenty to think about.

For the rest of the card, Alfarris is an interesting and expensive purchase, who should go well for the in form William Haggas yard. Century Dream holds a Group 1 entry and should progress plenty from his nice Ascot sixth on debut. He looks value against a favourite that was rather flat last time out and could be worth a second glance at a nice enough price, with Simon Crisford’s horses in decent order.

The strong-travelling Dal Harraild is sure to have plenty of supporters in the penultimate race but the consistent Furia Cruzada could be one to stay on best from a gentle pace and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, an extremely fine judge of pace, a chance can be taken at 5/1.

The ‘lucky last’ just to happens to be the Silver Cambridgeshire, so those who sample the ‘luck’ will be rewarded at a a healthy price. Dawn Mirage has come in for early support for Messrs Haggas and Moore but Freight Train catches the eye for Mark Johnston and Jamie Spencer.

Johnston’s charges are renowned for being extremely tough and this front-running sort could prove hard to pass if coming on for his run at Pontefract last time out. He had flirted with another big performance as he streaked clear before being collared late on, yet with Spencer now on board, he could of interest now fit from that effort.


1pt win: 1:50 – Ashadihan @ 6/1 (Various)

1pt win: 3:40 – Forge @ 5/1 (Various)

1pt ew: 5:55 – Freight Train @ 20/1 (Various)

Idaho Can Land Epsom Derby Success

Aidan O’Brien is no stranger to saddling well-fancied runners in Classics on both sides of the Irish Sea. So much so, that a lot of his 2-y-o progeny head the markets before even gracing the racecourse, such is their impeccable breeding.

It’s more of the same this year, as although things haven’t exactly gone smoothly during many Classic preparations, the well-regarded US Army Ranger arrives unbeaten and is likely to go off close to favourite along with Dante winner Wings of Desire.

The vibes have been strong about US Army Ranger and he was still rather green when just seeing off a rather carefully-ridden Port Douglas last time out. He is sure to improve for that run but he is short enough given any greenness will be punished on the unique undulations at Epsom.

O’Brien also had the option – well, he still does – of saddling recent French 2000 Guineas winner, The Gurkha. The manner in which he strode away in the French Classic was visually very impressive, yet he looks to be swerving Epsom where he will head to Royal Ascot.

On a side note, The Gurkha v Galileo Gold v Atwaad will be some race in the St James’ Palace.

Back to Epsom and O’Brien’s string. Beacon Rock landed a Group 3 last week but looks set to swerve Epsom (probably as he’s carrying my ante-post money from last year), while the consistent Deauville ran a nice enough race at York to suggest he could mount a challenge.

This in turn means Idaho may go into the race as AOB’s ‘third-string’.

There was plenty of confidence about the colt as he reappeared in the Derrinstown Derby Trial, a race in which AOB has sent out the winner on nine of the last 16 occasions, with subsequent Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral among those on the illustrious roll of honour.

Ryan Moore didn’t ride the colt at Leopardstown as connections felt Shogun would have had a better chance had the ground remained on the quicker side, yet it may have been a case of given potential Derby rider Seamie Heffernan a chance to get a feel of riding the colt.

He certainly will have learned a lot as he gave the three-year-old too much to do that day, coming round the bend five-wide before staying on eye-catchingly well close home. He finished third behind Moonlight Magic and Shogun, yet if you ran that race again, it would be fair to suggest he would have solid claims of reversing the form with the winner, who had the run of the race.

Moonlight Magic, incidently, has been given very bullish reviews by Jim Bolger at Breakfast With The Stars, saying he wouldn’t swap his Derby charge with anything. A good sign for those perhaps unlucky in behind?

Four different jockeys have ridden Idaho in his four races, so a return to the plate for Heffernan would be a boost to his chances given he knows his style of running.

He is a son of Galileo out of a Danehill mare, so stamina is no issue and he has ran well on ground ranging from good to heavy, so conditions shouldn’t affect his chances too much.

After scoring on debut, which is somewhat of a surprising rarity for many of O’Brien’s major stars, he could only manage fourth on bottomless ground in a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud. He was subsequently put away for a break and made a nice enough reappearance behind the already race-fit Harzard in the Ballysax Stakes.

It was a nice performance given how uneasy he was at the start and after picking up the running a furlong and a half out, he looked set to stay there until the stamina-proven Harzand (who reappears at Epsom but could be more of a St Leger horse) ran him down close home. The pair pulled clear of the field and it suggested Idaho had retained plenty of ability.

He will stay better than most at Epsom and although he can get a little edgy at the start, he showed signs of maturity on his last racecourse visit.

Given his form figures of 1423, he may not strike as a typical O’Brien Derby horse but at a current 28/1, he is a big enough price to appear each-way value.

He should be finishing best of all down the straight and if he finds his rhythm early enough, he may well do more than run into a place.

Top Selection – Epsom Derby:

Idaho @ 28/1 (Betway, 25/1 Various)



Glorious Goodwood – Day Three Advice

After Dawn Approach went down valiantly in defeat on Wednesday afternoon, it meant we were back to square one in trying to break this Goodwood curse.

Richard Hannon is currently flying, and anything he runs must be taken very seriously. Fortunately he does not have a runner in the Goodwood Cup, and this allows us to make a very strong selection, from overseas.

A German raider stole the show on Saturday, as Novellist romped home in the King George, and it would be no surprise to see the German’s steal the show again tomorrow with Altano.

Andreas Wohler’s 7-y-o has only ever raced over two miles on occasion, when winning a Group Three at Hoppergarten. Since then he has competed in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, finishing a very tenderly ridden and fast finishing fifth.

He looked as though he should have troubled the leaders a lot more than he did, and with the benefit of a run on these shores, and his ideal trip, he should go very close.

He is currently a top-priced 7/1, which looks exceptional each-way value. I would advise getting on as soon as possible, as I imagine he will go off around the 9/2-5/1 mark come race time tomorrow.

His main competition looks likely to come from John Gosden’s Caucus. The 6-y-o looked better than ever when getting within one and a half lengths of future Gold Cup winner Estimate, in the Sagaro Stakes. He then went on to win a listed race at Sandown a shade cosily, and comes into the race in great form.

There are no stamina doubts about William Buick’s mount, and he should be challenging all the way down the Sussex straight.

Earlier on in the card, the Richmond Stakes plays host to a bunch of very classy 2-y-o’s.

Figure of Speech looks a worthy favourite, following his brilliant second in the July Stakes, on only his second start.

Charlie Appleby has already tasted Group race success this week, and the boys in blue are looking like a force to be reckoned with once more.

However he is little value at the current 6/4, so we should look elsewhere, and no further than Saayerr.

ryan moore

William Haggas has been in fine form of late, and Ryan Moore takes over from Liam Jones in the saddle.

He was far from disgraced at Royal Ascot, and the break since will have done him the world of good. He looks much more suited to a smaller, tactical ordeal, as opposed to a big field like last time. Moore is in devilish form, and with Parbold uncertain to run (having run on Wednesday), Big Thunder looking a bit flat last time out, and Jallota seemingly on a decline, I suggest getting stuck into the 7/1 currently on offer for Saayerr.


1 point win: 3:05 Goodwood: Altano @ 7/1

0.5 reverse forecast: Altano/Caucus

1 point win: 2:30 Goodwood: Saayerr @ 7/1

0.5 e.w double: Altano & Saayerr @ 63/1