Good morning all,
Monday’s selection Harvest Day managed to get into the places at Thirsk. You can find out what I fancy at Redcar inside the main piece.
Before that, I am going to continue my look back at Irish Champions Weekend and I also have three horses for the tracker from last week.
Murtagh saddles first Group 1 winner
Its not often top jockey’s make great trainers. However, I think Johnny Murtagh could well prove the exception to the rule. Not only was he one of the best jockeys of recent years. He’s now looking like he could turn out to be a great trainer to.
On Saturday he saddled his first Group 1 winner when the improving Champers Elysees landed the Matron Stakes.
Murtagh has had a good flat season so far with 36 winners from 215 runners 17% but his first Group 1 success as a trainer is the icing on the cake.
Champers on matron
Champers Elysees started the season winning a Curragh handicap off 86 (she was a good thing that day). After Saturday’s success she’s likely to be rated around 115 or 116. The 3-year-old beat an a strong field of fillies, including Irish 1000 Guineas winner Peaceful and double Group 1 winner in Fancy Blue to win the Matron Stakes.
It was a puzzling race from the two Coolmore runners. Peaceful was ridden prominently and didn’t come from off the pace which seems to suit her best. However, she was having her first start since the beginning of July and should be spot on for a successful autumn campaign.
Meanwhile the double 1m 2f winner, Fancy Blue was held up. You would have thought the roles would have been reversed. Not surprisingly Fancy Blue was doing her best work at the finish and the favourite just got caught out by the drop back to a mile.
Let’s take nothing away from the winner though who has come up through the ranks to win at the highest level.
Tiger Moth could be an aeroplane
There hasn’t been a standout middle-distance colt this year. Aidan O’Brien might have won both the Epsom and Irish Derby’s with Serpentine and Santiago and Sunday’s Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris with Mogul. However, the best of the lot could well turn out to be Saturday’s Leopardstown Group 3 winner Tiger Moth. The Galileo colt won a hot Leopardstown maiden on his seasonal return before improving to run Santiago to a head in the Irish Derby.
They went a frantic pace on Saturday and despite racing closer to the pace than his jockey intended, Tiger Moth took it up between the final two furlongs and still stayed on too strongly for his 11 rivals, to win by an easy looking four lengths. It was only his fourth career start so he remains open to plenty of improvement.
Where next? Well he’s got an entry in the Arc but it looks more likely he will be heading to Australia for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup for which he’s a best priced 20/1 with Sky Bet. I have to say those odds are tempting for a horse that looks Group 1 level to me.
Last week’s eyecatchers
Plenty caught the eye at both Doncaster and Irish Champions Weekend. Here are three of them.
National League – Richard Fahey
National League didn’t get the best of passages when 9th of 14 at York on his previous start. He bounced back to form when 3rd of 13 in the Doncaster 7f handicap on the Thursday. His effort can be slightly marked up as he didn’t get the clearest of runs when making his effort inside the final furlong. The 3-year-old has several entries for Ayr this week and would be of interest if stepped up to a mile.
King Ottokar – Charlie Fellowes
King Ottokar has been running in better company without much success since beating Dashing Willoughby at Newbury (soft) on his seasonal reappearance last April. Making his handicap debut in the mile handicap that opened Doncaster’s Saturday card, it was the 4-year-old’s first run on going quicker than good to soft. Despite a slow start he travelled like the quicker ground wasn’t an issue. Looking like the most likely winner coming to the furlong mark, he didn’t get a clear run and lost any chance he had. His 5th of 10 can be marked up and given his trainer has been struggling for winners of late it was a good effort.
Mirann – Johnny Murtagh
Mirann made a winning stable debut at Gowran Park in June. Before finishing 2nd of 10 when stepping up to 1m 6f at the Curragh and was doing his best work at the finish when 3rd of 14 at Dundalk back at 1m 2 ½ f. Back up in trip to 1m 5f in Saturday's ‘Petingo’ Handicap at Leopardstown. He could only finish 7th of 18 but ran better than his final position suggests. Held up at the back in a race where it suited to be ridden more prominently. He was doing his best work at the finish and won’t be inconvenienced by a return to easier underfoot conditions. This was just his seventh career start and remains on a workable mark.
I have two couple of selections from Redcar.
2:50 – Turntable looked a handicapper worth following when winning at Doncaster and Newmarket in July. Slowly away at Newbury last time and although his sire is Pivotal I don’t think he liked the soft ground at Newbury. The return to a sounder surface will suit and we should see a better performance from the 4-year-old today. Trainer Chris Wall is 4-12 (+1.08) with his runners in the past 14-days and 2-4 (+3.25) with his runners at Redcar in the past 5-years.
Turntable – 8/1 @ Bet365 (paying 3 places 1/5 odds)
4:50 – Chris Wall saddles The Fiddler in this 1m 6f handicap. The 5-year-old landed a pair of pair of C&D handicaps last August/Sept, including this race, off 2lb lower. Not at that level on his three starts this season, but the return to this venue and a sound surface should see him get competitive.
Jan De Heem has reached the veteran stage but the 10-year-old has dropped 3lb below his last winning mark. A former C&D winner he was swinging on the bridle coming to two out at Ripon 14-days ago before weakening out of contention. Drop back in trip will be in his favour and I could see him getting into the places.
Jan De Heem – 25/1 @ Bet365 (paying 3 places ¼ odds)
The Fiddler – 5/1 @ Bet365
Good luck with your bets