Friday, July 03, 2009

Some thoughts on Sandown and the Lancashire Oaks

Sea The Stars, having missed the Irish Derby last Sunday on account of easy ground, bids to become the first horse since Nashwan twenty years ago to add a victory in the Eclipse to victories in the Guineas and the Derby. The ten furlong trip looks ideal and he looks likely to start odds-on favourite. Favourites don't have a good record in this; over the last ten years only Hawk Wing (8/15f) has obliged and we've seen two big-priced winners in Oratorio at 12/1 in 2005 and Compton Admiral at 20/1 in 1999. For the record, the classic generation has won four of the past ten renewals. Earlier in the week I'd lined up an each-way wager on Mike de Kock's Archipenko as my tip but the beast was found to have a swollen fetlock on Thursday morning. I think this is Rip Van Winkle's trip but he has been the subject of a slight scare story earlier today; Jimmy Fortune deputises for the suspended Johnny Murtagh. Really this is a race to watch and savour; I expect the favourtite to win but he'll be no betting proposition. If I indulge, I'll take a small each-way interest in Henry Cecil's Twice Over who on official ratings has some six pounds to find with the top-rated Conduit. Victor Chandler go 20/1 this evening.

On official ratings Gravitation is the one to beat in the Coral Marathon run over a distance of two miles at 4.20. Having said that, Gravitation ran something of a stinker last time and Willie Jarvis' yard is currently out of sorts. Judgethemoment was withdrawn from last weekend's Northumberland Plate (in which Wells Lyrical finished second) just an hour before the off on account of soft ground. There seems little likelihood those conditions will prevail tomorrow and his chance is respected. However I'm going to side with Amerigo who was well-touted for the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot. He didn't help his cause by pulling hard that day and this tough two miles should suit better; Coral offer 5/1 this evening.

No bet for me in the opening five furlong Coral Charge which looks a hot event. The three-year-old Triple Aspect is top-rated and has a good draw in stall eleven. Two Royal Ascot sprinters will make this interesting; Anglezarke, third in the King's Stand Stakes, goes from stall ten and Ialysos, unplaced in the Golden Jubilee Stakes but unbeaten prior to that, goes from stall nine. Others who performed at Royal Ascot include Duff (eighth in the Golden Jubilee), Captain Gerard (fourth in the King's Stand) and Total Gallery (fourteenth in the Jersey).

In the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock I'm inclined to oppose Barry Hills' High Heeled as I've read in a couple of places that she likes 'to get her toe in'. According to the market, her only serious challenger is Flame Of Gibraltar. For me Take The Hint is of interest. On a bare reading of the form she has it all to do to reverse recent Ribblesdale running with Flame Of Gibraltar and the extra two furlongs here isn't certain to suit. Having said that, John Gosden's yard was going through a lean spell at that time; things look much better now. I don't think there's an awful lot between the two and at the prices I'll chance Take The Hint seeing out the trip - I'll have an each-way interest at around the 8/1 mark.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

4/7 favourite Sea The Stars won the Eclipse, easily seeing off the challenege of Rip Van Winkle (11/2), although the winning margin was only a length. The front two pulled four and a half lengths clear of Conduit (9/2) in third - this trip is probably on the sharp side for Sir Michael Stoute's charge. His trineer indicated before the race he tends to get better as the season progresses so he will be of interest next time out over further. Twice Over (14/1) was outclassed, finishing a well-beaten seventh.
Gravitation may have ran a stinker last time but the selection matched that performance in the Marathon. Given Amerigo (5/1) had pulled for his head last time, it wasn't surprising to see him try to lead from the front but the game was up at halfway; he finished a distance last, weakening dramatically in the final three furlongs. The horses who were fresh were the ones who finished first and second, Desert Sea (7/2) beating Victoria Montoya (6/1); perhaps that's the lesson to take from this - a Royal Ascot run appears to have left its mark...
Ialysos (9/2) took the Charge while at Haydock Take The Hint (6/1) had every chance if good enough in the Oaks but she wasn't and didn't appear to stay the trip fully. Barshiba (12/1) won it well despite pulling hard with High Heeled (11/8f) missing the break and struggling thereafter; she dead-heated for third.