Friday, June 03, 2011

Derby Day 2011

The jockeys have been making the news today... There were two stand-out rides at Epsom earlier, from Ryan Moore aboard Saint Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup and from Johnny Murtagh who pinched the Oaks from the front on Dancing Rain. Frankie Dettori found himself in trouble with the stewards after the Oaks, having been found guilty of dropping his hands and losing third place; he has been hit with a ten day ban. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Kieren Fallon will be able to ride in tomorrow's Derby after the owner of Native Khan took out a High Court injunction to prevent the jockey from riding Aidan O'Brien's Recital; the judge initially ruled he would not prevent Fallon from riding but the decision has been taken to appeal - the result is due at 0900 Saturday morning.

My Derby record makes grim reading with just two wins (Authorized 2007 and Workforce 2010) in forty years of trying. Generally the market has proved a good guide to the race with Sinndar (7/1) being the biggest priced winner in recent years. Using that benchmark, the victor will come from a list that comprises Carlton House, Recital, Pour Moi and Seville. I can't have the Queen's colt, Carlton House. His victory in the Dante was over three seconds slower than Midday's time in the Middleton Stakes half an hour earlier; he isn't guaranteed to stay; he doesn't represent value while his problems in the build-up have been well-documented. Fallon originally committed to ride Native Khan but has jumped ship; the jock has written a bullish piece in the Weekender about Recital's chance but at this point we don't know if he'll be on board. Seville finished second behind Carlton House in the muddling Dante and on breeding looks the more likely to stay the trip. Pour Moi has been well backed in recent weeks but French traned horses don't have a great record in the race.

Native Khan catches my eye, although obviously Fallon's view is respected. Ed Dunlop's grey isn't guaranteed to stay but he appeared to finish the 2000 Guineas strongly. Timeform rates the principals as follows: Carlton House 136p; Native Khan 134p; Seville 133p; Recital 133; Pour Moi 129p. At 12/1 with Coral I'll chance Native Khan staying the distance and have an each-way wager. For the dreamers amongst you, one that will stay and looks overpriced at 100/1 is Pisco Sour, although the luck of the draw (stall one) hasn't been kind to Hughie Morrison and his colt.

Should Carlton House win for Her Majesty, she will become the first royal to win the Derby since King Edward VII took the race with Minoru in 1909. Should Carlton House disappoint but Sohraab win the preceding Epsom Dash, I'd imagine Her Majesty would not be particularly amused; Kate Middleton's parents own a share of Sohraab...

Up at Newcastle's evening meeting, several runners in the two mile handicap (7.30) have form over the sticks. Orsippus is one that stands out, despite top weight, having finished third in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March. Off a mark of 137 he disappointed in the Swinton Hurdle but he starts this Grade 6 handicap off 62. He would be of interest if priced around 5/1 (as he is in tonight's tissue). In the past Westlin' Winds has tended to show better form with cut underfoot; this is his third run for Brian Ellison, having moved north from Charles Egerton's yard a couple of months back. Brian Ellison's 21% strike rate in the past fortnight means an improvement on those first two runs wouldn't be a complete surprise.  


Anonymous said...

I agree, GeeDee, can't support Carlton House and have gone for Seville. But what's your take on the Fallon business (if we can speak without fear of super-injunctions)?
Some are saying he was ill-advised to put himself in possible breach of his contract with Araci. But Araci's relentless pursuit of the matter through the courts seems unsporting, to say the least.

GeeDee said...

Good to hear from you, Tom.

Haven't followed the details of the Fallon saga particularly closely.

My initial reaction - stories of Piggott pulling similar stunts are legion; nowadays it looks as though attitudes may have changed...

Araci has pursued this through with some vigour. He's entitled to do so but I can't recall seeing anything like this in British racing previously.

With hindsight, we can say Fallon might have been ill-advised but Premier League footballers appear to breach similar contractual obligations with impunity.

For me, Fallon really is driven; Alan Lee concludes his piece in today's Times:

'[Aidan] O'Brien seemed unmoved. "Plenty of jockeys will want to ride Recital," he said. For Fallon though, there is only one Derby.'

GeeDee said...

Pour Moi (4/1 jf) won what looked a rougher than usual renewal of the Derby; Carlton House (5/2f) finished third. Native Khan (8/1) ran a brave race but just couldn't quite make a place, finishing fifth, beaten two lengths.

At Newcastle Orsippus was a non-runner. Westlin' Winds went off 11/8 favourite but couldn't get to 22/1 winner Decypher, beaten a length into second.