Well spring is over. We have now entered the meteorological summer and weather on Derby Day was summer-like.
This week article looks back at the Investec Derby Festival. I also have a horse that should be worth following in the coming weeks and Monday's racing tip.
Defoe Wins Coronation Cup
Besides the Oaks on Friday. There was also the Group 1 Coronation Cup. It looked a competitive race on paper. Defoe who had disappointed on his seasonal reappearance but had run better at Newmarket on his last start, managed to get his head in front at Group 1 level at the 6th attempt.
Granted everything fell right for the gelding. There was a strong pace to chase, the first two home came from the back, and the gap opened for him a furlong from home.
Runner-up Kew Gardens made his effort out wider than the winner and it looked like it was a winning run when he took the lead a furlong out. Sadly he couldn’t handle the stronger finish produced by Defoe.
Last season St Leger winner probably needs further than 1m 4f at this level and probably wasn't at home on the course. He will most likely head to Royal Ascot, with the Hardwicke Stakes or the Gold Cup as targets. I would like to see him go for the latter for which he is a best priced 10/1 with Paddy Power.
Salouen, ran another good race to finish 3rd but he would probably have preferred more ease in the ground.
Marmelo, finished 5th. He just wasn’t quick enough and needs further than 1m 4f.
Lah Ti Dar, ran poorly, she was never really travelling and will be better when returned to a galloping track.
Old Persian, who had won both his starts at Meydan was having his first start back in England but disappointed.
Anapurna Climbs To Oaks Glory
Anapurna, who had run a shade green when landing the Lingfield Oaks Trial, improved again to outstay Pink Dogwood to win the Oaks. Her win gave trainer John Gosden a third success in the race since 2014. Indeed, the last six Oaks winners have been trained by either John Gosden or Aidan O’Brien.
Hopefully we shall see runner-up Pink Dogwood drop back to 1m 2f. She showed a good change of pace two furlongs out and just lost out to a stronger stayer on the day.
No doubt she will now head for the Irish Oaks. However, you could easily see her winning a Group 1 like the Nassau Stakes over 1m 2f.
Maqsad, proved a non-stayer. The filly had been an easy winner of the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket. She stays 1m 2f but I wouldn’t mind seeing her drop back to a mile as she doesn't lack pace.
Fleeting, who had finished last in the 1,000 Guineas was doing her best work at the finish and grabbed third close home. The stiffer track at the Curragh should suit and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her reverse placings with the two who finished in front of her.
It was a rough race and favourite Mehdaayih was one of the principal suffers, as was to a lesser extent Manuela De Vega.
Ornate Dash’s To Epsom Win
The Epsom ‘Dash’, with 20 runners running downhill, over the fastest 5f in world racing can be described as ‘cavalry charge’. Ornate was a surprise winner at 33/1. Always up in a prominent position from his low draw he managed to hold off his rivals to beat Dark Shot by a neck.
For winning trainer David Griffiths, it was another notable sprint win for this small Yorkshire stable.
Luck in running is vital in races like this and the likes of Eeh Bah Gum, Duke of Firenze and Copper Knight didn't have any. Nor did my Epsom Eyecatcher (see below).
O’Brien's Magnificent Seven
The Irish dominated the finish of this year's Derby with the first six home being trained across the Irish Sea.
Aidan O’Brien trained five of the first six home, including the winner Anthony Van Dyke. The Lingfield Derby Trial winner was one of the first to be pushed along coming into the straight. But, he stayed on strongly once switched left to take the lead in the final 100yds and win by ½ length.
I had my doubts about Madhmoon staying 1m 4f, but the English 2,000 Guineas 4th has plenty of class. He was just done by a stronger stayer and had to settle for the runner-up spot. He will probably head for the Irish Derby. However, he would be a major contender should connections opt for a race like the Eclipse.
Japan, ran much better than he done in the Dante in finishing 3rd. In a few strides would have finished second. He could well finish ahead of the winner should they meet again in the Irish Derby. The St Leger already looks a possible target for the colt.
Broome, also finished his race off well, to take 4th and is another St Leger type.
Sir Dragonet, found the race came a bit early in his career. In the lead coming to two out. He was still bang there until well inside the final furlong and only lost second in the final few yards. The colt could still end the season the highest rated of the field. He handled the quicker ground well enough, but a return to an easier surface will also be in the colt’s favour.
You Need To Stay To Win A Derby
Once again, the Derby showed the winner must stay 1m 4f. It’s a true test of stamina and there’s no hiding place for a doubtful stayer.
It probably wasn’t the greatest Derby ever with just ¾ length separating the first five home. Whilst there may not be a superstar among the 3-year-old middle distance colts, we do have several useful ones.
Galileo Derby Stat
Finally, an interesting Derby Stat. Galileo has now sired three Derby winners. All three of have been chestnuts – 3 winners from 11 runners. All other runners being – 0 winners from 24 runners.
Harome, trained by Roger Fell, won twice last year and has dropped down to 2lb below his last winning mark. Beaten 1 ¾ lengths into 6th in the ‘Dash'. The 5-year-old was slightly hampered at the start and was staying on as strongly as anything at the line.
Like a lot of the trainer’s runners he tends to need a few races to find his mark but he’s a handicap sprinter running into form.
A quick surface really suits and as he showed here a big field holds no terrors. Although, it’s worth noting all his five career wins have come in single digit field sizes on good or quicker ground – 5 wins from 11 runs 45% +24.5 7 placed 64%.
He needs all the cards to fall right but there’s surely a sprint handicap in the gelding when they do.
It’s a dreadful day quality wise. I have looked at today’s cards and all I can say is good luck.
3:30 – Miss Havana – Wasn’t disgraced when a running on 3rd over C&D two starts back but wasn’t able to reproduce that effort over two furlongs further at Salisbury 9-days ago.
Not surprising that connections now opt for the first-time headgear for the 3-year-old. If the return to C&D and the cheekpieces do the trick, then she has each way claims.
For those of you who like your stats. Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is 7 winners from 19 runners 37% +18.5 14 placed 74% (+32.12) with her 3yo runners in Class 6 handicaps at the track.
Until next week