Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend digest

Sky Sports reports that Aidan O'Brien will run six in the Derby - Fame And Glory, Rip Van Winkle, Age Of Aquarius, Black Bear Island, Masterofthehorse and Golden Sword. Johnny Murtagh has first choice but it won't be an easy decision; on The Morning Line John Francome seemed convinced the stable jockey would opt for Rip Van Winkle.

We can expect plenty of media coverage in the build-up to Saturday's big race. Last Friday a colleague who should have known better asked me for an each-way longhsot - I came up with Mick Channon's Montaff on the back of the comments the trainer made at the 'Breakfast with the Stars' event the previous day. To paraphrase a report in the Racing Post, Channon thinks Montaff is as good as Youmzain; that's some compliment as Youmzain has finished second in the last two runnings of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, beaten by Dylan Thomas in 2007 and wonder filly Zarkava last year. If Channon is anywhere near right, Montaff looks worth an each-way dabble at the 50/1 offered by Coral, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

In a bid to put last season's disappointments behind him, Sam Thomas has taken the stable jockey position at Tom George's yard.

Saturday's Times ran an article entitled 'The armchair fan's guide to getting cheaper sport on TV'. I bring this quotation to your attention: "The BBC screens live coverage of the Open Championship, Wimbledon and a good deal of horse racing..." A good deal of horse racing? I must be missing something... Having said that, best wishes go to BBC presenter Clare Balding who has recently received treatment for thyroid cancer.

The big shock today has been at the French Open where Swede Robin Soderling beat Nadal by three sets to one. On Friday Andy Murray was generally a 20/1 shot to win the title; this evening he's 5/1.

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