The Epsom Derby was a great spectacle once again with huge crowds and drama unfolding from the start to the finish. Unfortunately, for favourite backers Dawn Approach ran no race failing to settle and pulling hard until getting to the front down the hill. It was very uncharacteristic of him and extremely disappointing or connections. The chance to find out if he stays a mile and a half is gone and we will never find out as he will be dropped back in trip to a mile.

Ruler of the World won the race comprehensively but is taking a battering from the racing media as a result of the British Handicapper allocating a rating of 120 for the victory. Yes the rating is low and one of the lowest over the last ten years but the handicapper was quick to mention that the pace of the race is what forced him to rate the winner so lowly. Ruler of the World has only raced three times and as the only horse to have won over 1m4f before the Derby was not helped by the slow middle section of the race. He won well and is not to be dismissed lightly.

Libertarian did not handle the track as bad as expected and powered up the straight to grab second spot. The word is that he will be supplemented to run on the more galloping track in the Irish Derby. That is easy to justify but I will be very surprised if he wins the Irish Derby. A horse with more speed is sure to get the better of him. Libertarian is one for the Leger in the autumn, where he can really show off his stamina and galloping qualities.

Mars is the horse that I picked out of the Derby. I am not the only one to have noticed how well he finished following a checkered path up the home straight. Following unlucky losers is a quick way to the poor house but this lightly raced horse was too far back and would have placed with a better run. I can see him been a value each way bet if running in the Irish Derby.

Yes, so back to my question did the best horse win the Derby? On the day there is no doubt the best horse won and won snugly. I can see him confirming this victory over the coming races but will he be value is the real question? Hopefully, the public and bookies may underestimate him if lining up in the Irish Derby.

 

A very busy week of racing just gone and I have several eye catchers below which are worth adding to your horse tracker. The flat season is into full swing now and Royal Ascot is less than two weeks away.

Eye Catchers for the previous week including Monday 3rd June

 

Secret Gesture – Trainer Ralph Beckett – Jockey – Jim Crowley

 

The preferred mount of Jim Crowley from the Ralph Beckett pair but only managed to finish second in the Oaks to the less fancied Talent. According to the Trainer she works much better than Talent at home and looked sure to win the Oaks when bursting through to lead up the rail. She showed a good turn of foot on the good/soft conditions but had nothing left up the finishing climb. I believe she will be seen at her best on good or better ground and under a more patient ride. Ralph Beckett claimed following the race “‘I have no doubt that Secret Gesture is a Group One filly and they (Talent) could meet again in the Irish Oaks.’

Talent – Trainer Ralph Beckett – Jockey – Richard Hughes

Talent pulled quite hard early in the Epsom Oaks running very free. She can be seen looking for her head coming down the hill to tattenham Corner with Jockey Richard Hughes trying to keep her from seeing daylight and hidden behind horses. Amazingly, she still had loads left in tank to come with a sustained challenge up the final straight sweeping to lead and running clear during the final climb to the line. There is no doubt that Talent was the only true stayer in the Oaks race as it panned out on the day. If settling better she can play a huge part in the remaining Oaks and even Leger races. Richard Hughes said in his post race interview that I knew five furlongs out I was going to win”. Talent should not be underestimated and is a filly that can follow up over a mile and a half for sure.

Smoothtalkinrascasl – Trainer David O’Meara – Jockey – David Tudhope

He was very unlucky not to win the Epsom Dash over a quick five furlongs. Drawn in stall one was his first obstacle on a course that favours high draws. Secondly, he was bumped after the break and lost a bit of ground. Jockey David Tudhope made his away towards the stands rail which cost him ground and coming to the final furlong he was so far back you could not pick him out on the Tele. He finished very fast squeezing through up the rail and just failed to reel in the other fast finisher Duke of Firenze who was four lengths ahead of him coming to the final furlong. There is no doubt in my mind he was the best horse on the day and was unfortunate not to have won. The handicapper has raised him 6 pounds which is tough to a new career best of 106. He is sure to win a Listed or Group 3 race before the end of this season.

Mars – Trainer Aidan O’Brien – Jockey – Richard Hughes

Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Mars and he still finished just 3.62 lengths behind the Derby winner Ruler of the World. He was settled out the back of the field and that was not the place to be as the time expects say the pace slowed considerably during the mid section of the race. Next he was caught in a pocket and had trouble getting a run twice coming up the straight. When he saw daylight he picked up very well and was finishing quicker than the second Libertarian to my eyes. Mars is the horse to take from the race and should be a nice price if running in the Irish Derby. This was his third run and he has huge scope for improvement.

Ruler of the World – Trainer Aidan O’Brien – Jockey Ryan Moore

Contrary to Mars Ruler of the World got the run of the race and won the Derby on merit on the day. He has been slammed in the racing press as a poor winner and given a very low rating of 120 for a Derby winner. The press picked up on the rating but did not mention that the handicapper also mentioned that he was forced to give him a low rating due to the slow mid section pace which resulted in a bunch finish. Personally, I think it would be foolish to under estimate him at this point. Similarly to Mars this was only his third run and he is unbeaten. Ryan Moore mentioned that he did not have a very hard race and probably was in front for too long.  Let’s see if the bookies rate him a lucky winner the next time he is priced up possibly in the Irish Derby later this Month.

Spring Hawk – Trainer Tom McCourt – Jockey – David Splaine

Spring Hawk was stopped twice in her tracks when trying to go and win a good Mares hurdle race in Kilbeggan last weekend. She travelled the best in the race despite an untidy jump at the fourth last hurdle. The excellent and in form claiming jockey David Splaine was determined to get up the inner but learned a lesson from professional jockey Davy Condon who twice shut the door on him. Spring Hawk was all dressed up but with no where to go! She is small but I can see her winning on good or better ground on a tight track. She is one to follow over the summer Months.

Friendship – Trainer Aidan O’Brien – Jockey – Joseph O’Brien

Friendship was given a nice introduction to racing in a good maiden at Listowel. The Galileo colt is sure to improve a lot as he as not giving a hard ride when passed but still kept well to finish just three lengths behind the more experience winner Glory Boy.  Friendship is bred to stay further and can win a maiden on a more galloping track or when upped in trip.

Tobann – Trainer – Jim Bolger – Jockey – Kevin Manning

Reply won the Naas Listed 7 furlong race easily but was chased home by a closing Tobann. Tobann was settled out the back whilst the winner Reply was up with the pace. He made a huge move down the outside and stayed on very well to finish a good second. The winner was giving her weight but I think Tobann is underestimated by the handicapper off a rating of 90. She can win at listed level on good or better ground. Keep an eye for her out next at Leopardstown most likely.

Stubbs – Trainer Aidan O’Brien – Jockey Joseph O’Brien

Joseph said this was a joke of a race with no pace and just a 3 furlong sprint. Well despite this not suiting Stubbs he quickened up very well showing a good turn of foot. Stubbs is a son of Irish Oaks winner Moonshine so he will appreciate a step up in trip. This race was won by Dawn Approach last year and Stubbs is to try and replicate him by heading to Royal Ascot next.

Sandiva – Trainer Richard Fahey – Jockey Pat Smullen

Sandiva won this listed fillies race comfortably and is a filly of high quality. Naas is a stiff track and she stayed on well like a filly that is sure to appreciate 7 furlongs. However, the plan is the Albany stakes over 6 furlongs at Ascot and she will be flying home in that race. Jockey Pat Smullen was quoted as saying ““She’s very smart. She’s learning all the time. In the last furlong she changed her legs on the faster ground.”

 

Enjoy the good Weather and have a lucky week,

Nicky

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