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The Flat Comes Alive

Morning all,

You get the sense that the flat season has really come alive in the past week. We saw the return of racing at York last week and impressive winners of the respective Derby & Oaks Trials.

Stradivarius returned to action looking as good as ever in winning the Yorkshire Cup on Friday and another Ascot Gold Cup could be in reach. Across the Irish Sea on the same day Kyprios brushed aside three rivals in good style in a Group 3 at Leopardstown. I said that he had the potential to be a Cup horse this season after his win at Navan after a long absence. We’ll the 4-year-old is now the 7/2 second favourite with Stradivarius for the Royal Ascot showpiece. Given he has age on his side I think he will take some beating there.

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On Saturday it was all about the return of Baaeed in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. More on him and Derby favourite Desert Crown in the main piece. Plus, you'll find my preview of today's Killarney National and a selection from the Irish venue.

The Speed Of Baaeed

Saturday’s Lockinge Stakes was the first domestic Group 1 for the older horses of the new turf season. Baaeed last year's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner came into the race unbeaten on his six career starts. Faced several good rivals in Group 1 winning fillies Alcohol Free and Mother Earth and the talented Real World. That didn’t stop the 4-year-old from going off the 4/9 favourite. It also didn’t stop him from brushing aside some very good horse in the style of a superstar.

He settled beautifully just behind the leaders and when jockey Jim Crowley asked him to go and win the race, he produced an impressive change of gear to go quickly clear of his field. He won by 3 ½ lengths from Real World in second and the front running Chindit holding off Alcohol Free for third.

When you pick up like the winner did. You know you are watching a very special racehorse in action.

The Queen Anne at Royal Ascot is next up for the winner and the rest might as well stay at home. He could also face Coroebus in the Sussex Stakes. There’s also the exciting possibility of the colt stepping up to 1m 2f in the Juddmonte International at York in August. He’s bred for that distance and could be even better than at mile. Now that is something to get excited about

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Without Baaeed in the field Real World would have run out a decisive winner. The 5-year-old may have lost his unbeaten record on turf but lost nothing defeat. He will surely win a Group 1 this season.

Baaeed’s win is what elite sport is all about. We have been waiting for a new Frankel and we have likely found him.

Desert Seeks Derby Crown

Desert Crown stamped his mark on the season with a sparkling success in Thursday’s Dante Stakes at York. The colt’s win gave his trainer Sir Michael Stoute a seventh win the race and it’s good to see the veteran trainer who is in the twilight of his career having a genuine Derby contender.

Desert Crown a winner of his sole juvenile start at Nottingham (soft) at the end of last season. He travelled noticeably well through the race on much better ground. Making eye-catching headway to get the front 2f out he quickened clear of runner-up Royal Patronage with the Aidan O’Brien colt Bluegrass staying on well to take third. You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the way the son of Nathaniel made his ground up so easily.  Yes, there were signs if inexperience as he strayed toward the stand side 1f out before straightening close to the line. Despite that he still had 3 ¼ lengths in hand of the runner-up at the finish.

It was a good stamina over an extended 1m 2f and he should stay the Derby distance. He’s an exciting 3-year-old and there should be more to come. He’s now a best priced 2/1 for the Derby and a worthy favourite.

Royal Patronage likely improved for the step up to 1m 2f.  He should stay further and will go the Derby but I don’t see him reversing placings with the winner there. Bluegrass would have 5 ¾ lengths to find with the winner should he go to Epsom. However, he’s going the right way and should improve for a further the step up in trip.

A disappointing effort from El Bodegon

His juvenile Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winning form has been given a big boost by Stone Age and Buckeroo this season. He was a beaten horse 2f from home and could only finish 7th of 8. It’s possible that he needed the run. Although his market support, returned 4/1, suggested he didn’t. However. it’s more likely he just wasn’t as effective on good ground as he is on soft/heavy.

Monday Racing

It’s Day two of Killarney’s May meeting. The highlights of a eight race card being the Grade 3 BoyleSports An Riocht Chase (7:00) and the Tote Killarney National Handicap Chase (7:30). There’s jumps action at Ffos Las. On the flat there are fixtures at Carlisle & Redcar this afternoon and Leicester & Windsor this evening.  Given the best of today’s action is at Killarney, it’s the Irish track that provides today’s selection.


If there’s a more picturesque track in Britain & Ireland than Killarney then I have yet to see it. What a fantastic backdrop to what’s normally some cracking action. There are three competitive races on the Killarney card.

7:30 – Tote Killarney National Handicap Chase

Enda Bolger is 12 from 38 with his chasers at Killarney, including the winner of this race three times, in the past five years. He’s got two here in Shady Operator & Champagne Platinum. The first named won this race 12 months ago off 3lb lower. If the rain stays away, he must have a good chance of back-to-back win in the race. Champagne Platinum has been running respectably in staying handicap chasers and wasn’t disgraced when a 9 ¼ length 8th of 27 in the Irish Grand National two starts back. Shane Fitzgerald takes off a handy 5lb and his chance would be enhanced if the rain arrives.

Inform trainer John Ryan saddled the winner in 2018 and he’s got a contender in Waitnsee. The mare was a disappointing 4/1 joint favourite in last year’s race before going onto to finish a ¾ length 2nd of 13 in the Midland National at Kilbeggan in July. She bounced back to her Kilbeggan form when a 13-length 3rd of 15 at the Punchestown Festival, despite being badly hampered three out.

Recite A Prayer put in a personal best over the larger obstacles when 1 ½ length 2nd of 14 to Donkey Years at Punchestown last time. But for a bad mistake at the last he may well have gone to win that day. Wa Wa ran better than his 30-length 5th of 14 in the same race suggests.  Twice a winner in the autumn here and at Naas he’s only has seven starts over fences and the application of the first time cheekpieces are an interesting addition.

Fox Watch and Presenting Point are both seeking hat tricks and must be respected, albeit they are up in class here.

Monday Selection:


6:30 – Metersandmasks returned from a winter break with a much-improved performance to win a Cork 9-days ago.  A 10lb rise in the weights shouldn’t stop the 6-year-old if in the same form as last time.

Metersandmasks – 5/2 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

Good luck with your Monday bets.


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