Good morning all,
It’s funny how things go in this game. Up until lockdown, I was struggling to make a profit on the weekend's big race action. However, the last two weeks and it's all turned around. Thanks to Caravan of Hope, Big Baby Bull and Strong Johnson, it was more profit banked by Victor Value subscribers.
Well enough of the self-congratulation here’s a slightly shortened Monday column due to some IT issues. Inside the main piece you will find my views on Santiago, the upcoming Epsom Derby and there’s a tip from Thirsk for today.
Santiago toughs it out
Santiago is one tough ‘cookie’ winning Saturday's Irish Derby after just a weeks break. Before the race plenty of pundits were bemoaning the lack of quality of this year’s Irish Derby. However, the best horse won.
I was a bit surprised to see Santiago being held up towards the back given his Royal Ascot win had come over 1m6f. We knew he would stay but he’s also got a decent turn of foot, as he showed when powering clear of his rivals a furlong from home. He seemed to idle in the final stages and the eventual runner-up Tiger Moth closed up but he still found enough to hold him off.
Santiago is now being aimed at the St Leger and he will take some stopping at Doncaster. I really like the colt’s attitude and the son of Authorised is lightly raced enough to think he can progress further.
Tiger Moth improved on his previous form to finish runner-up and the front two pulled clear of the rest of the field. It was a cracking run by the second. However. I think the winner had more in hand than the final margin of victory suggests.
Dawn Patrol who had finished runner-up to Tiger Moth on his previous start didn’t get the best of passages on the inside. But once switched left, finished his race off strongly to take third. There should be more to come from him.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien maintained his domination of the Irish Derby. It was his ninth winner since 2008 and he had the first four home on Saturday.
Follow those Queen’s Vase winners
I mentioned in last Monday’s column the great record of Queen’s Vase winners when running within 60-days of that race. Well their now 7 wins from 13 runs +29. Hopefully some of you took my advice to back Santiago on his next start.
We have a super Saturday to look forward to with both the Derby and Oaks being run on the same day. It’s going to be another surreal experience to witness these great races being run behind closed doors.
The booking of Frankie Dettori for Lingfield Derby Trial winner English King has seen that colt become clear ante post favourite for the Derby. He might well go on to win comfortably however he looks plenty short enough to me at around 2/1.
English 2000 Guineas winner Kameko has the best form by some margin, yet he’s only second favourite and can be backed at 5/1. He should be favourite given the lack of three-year-old form on offer and is a backable price although there are real doubts about his stamina for the Derby distance. If he does stay and handles the track, I know two big if's, he wins.
The O'Brien team
Aidan O’Brien could saddle recent Royal Ascot winner Russian Emperor, Mogul, who disappointed in the King Edward VII at the same meeting, Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Vatican City, Mythical and interesting maiden Amhran Na Bhfiann.
Mogul looks to have gone a bit under the radar after his underwhelming return to the track. However, he badly needed the run at Royal Ascot and will have been trained to peak at Epsom. Like stablemate Japan last season, I expect him to have come on plenty for that reapperance effort.
At a massive price I wouldn’t dismiss Amhran Na Bhfiann. He’s only had two career starts. His 2-year-old debut was no more than a nice introduction to racing at the back of the field, befitting a horse bred to be a 3-year-old for middle distances. He left that form well behind when 4th to Tiger Moth in Leopardstown maiden last month. He will improve plenty for that run and is no forlorn hope.
His sister won the Epsom Oaks in 2012 and his brother Douglas MacArthur was disgraced when 7th in the 2017 Derby. Now it may turn out he’s a just a pacemaker. However, if he’s not he could sneak into the money at 50/1.
Last Monday’s tip Cape Coast ran a cracker at Thirsk to finish second after his long absence from the track. And it’s back to the same track for today’s selection.
8:00 – Upstaging has dropped to a very winnable mark based on his sprint handicap form when trained by Paul Cole. The 8-year-old made a pleasing stable debut for Tim Easterby when 5th of 13 at Redcar 11-days ago. Granted he’s 0 wins from 8 runs when racing beyond 6f but does goes well on rain softened ground and the cheekpieces left off last time return today. He’s drawn out wide in stall 14 but if that’s no inconvenience shouldn’t be far away.
Until next week