Good morning all,
What a weekend of racing. The final Classic of the British Flat Season and not forgetting the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Then four Group 1’s on Sunday as the Irish Champions Weekend roadshow headed to the Curragh yesterday.
Inside the main piece you’ll find my three highlights from the weekend. Plus, I have a tip from Thirsk.
Here's my plans for the next few days. Tomorrow I will continue my look back at the weekend with a few horses for the tracker. On Wednesday I will be focusing on Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup and on Thursday I revisit some more hot races.
However, before all that. It's my Monday look back at the weekend's big race action.
Joseph’s Leger Joy
What a weekend it was for Joseph O’Brien as he landed the St Leger on Saturday and then went on saddle the winner of the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
Galileo Chrome provided Joseph with the first leg of a notable double when winning the St Leger. The horse also provided jockey Tom Marquand with a first Classic success.
Just ½ length separated the first four home in the St Leger. And it was stamina that won the day. The winner wasn’t as going as well as some three out but he was strong at the finish and just prevailed over Berkshire Rocco in an exciting finish to the final British Classic.
Pyledriver so impressive when winning the Great Voltigeur at York on previous start. Was a little keen in the early stages in the race but looked to becoming with a winning run two out. However, he hung badly to his left. Given he only finished 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner. If he had run in a straight line for the final two furlongs, he would have gone very close. It’s hard to say he didn’t stay as he did seem to keep on to deprive Santiago of third in the final few strides.
Irish Derby winner Santiago who had his limitations exposed when third to Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup. Lost third in the shadow of the post. Softer ground would have helped and after the race that was confirmed by jockey Frankie Dettori.
Hukum so impressive when winning at Royal Ascot and Newbury had every chance coming to two out but his stamina seemed to ebb away and he could only finish 5th.
Galileo Chrome is a real stayer and will sure improve further when stepped up to 2m and should be a force in Cup races next season. The same applies to runner-up Berkshire Rocco. Pyledriver who has notable turn of foot over 1m 4f will surely be dropped back in trip now and could yet add a Group 1 to his CV before the season is out. Santiago probably needs softer and will be dangerous when he gets it again.
It's not been a vintage season for the three-year-old middle distance colts has it?
Magical Reigns Supreme
Ghaiyyath was a hot favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes. So impressive when making all to win the International Stakes at York on his previous start. The 5-year-old was bidding for his fourth Group 1 success of this season. However, he couldn’t dominate as he had done previously with last year’s winner Magic eyeballing form the start. Ghaiyyath couldn’t shake the mare off and just inside the final furlong she nosed a head to run out a ¾ length winner at the line.
Magical who had been beaten fair and square in the International Stakes was suited to being ridden further forward than at York and those tactics worked. She’s clearly a got a good constitution and is as ‘tough as old boots'. It will be interesting to see if she heads to the Arc or the Breeders Cup.
Ghaiyyath just lacked a bit of spark on Saturday. Maybe he was just feeling the effects of a long season. His running style means he doesn’t hold anything back in his races. Possibly it was a race too far for the 5-year-old and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see him again this year.
Last year’s Arc third Sottsass could never land a blow on the first two. He stayed on well enough to almost snatch third from Armory who put in a career best effort here.
Thunder strikes in National Stakes
On paper it looked a hot renewal of the National Stakes. However, the late defection of the Aidan O’Brien trained Battleground did rob the race of a little glitter.
Ultimately the race had an unsatisfactory feel to it although it did produce a good winner in Thunder Moon. A winner a maiden over C&D on his racecourse debut. He would have been a unlucky loser, as it looked like he wouldn’t get a run a furlong out. However, a gap came and the colt showed a great turn of foot well to cut down his rivals to win by 1 ½ lengths. He looks a high-class prospect who should stay a mile as a 3-year-old. It will be interesting if the son of Zoffany comes over for next months Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
Master Of The Sea didn’t settle in the early stages of the race and had to settle for fourth behind the Aidan O’Brien pair of Wembley and St Mark’s Basilica. He needs to settle better if he’s to prosper in Group 1 company.
Wembley a winner of a Roscommon maiden on his previous start outran big odds to finish second. He just couldn’t match the acceleration of the winner in the final stages. However, it was a career best from the son of Galileo who’s clearly improving with racing.
Lucky Vega who had shown a bright turn of foot to win the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes on his previous start. Like Thunder Moon he didn't get a run a furlong out but unlike the winner, a gap didn’t come and he had to settle for a never nearer fifth at the finish. I'm sure there will be other days for the colt.
All that remains is for me to give you Monday’s Selection.
2:05 – Harvest Day isn’t the most consistent of horses but she did win this race 12 months ago, off 2lb higher. The 5-year-old had shaped with encouragement when 3rd of 9 at Pontefract two starts back. However, not for the first time this season she blew the start at Beverley 41-days ago and beat only one home. Has been slowly away on all three starts this season but if she can break on level terms is handicapped to go close.
Selection: Harvest Day – 12/1 @ Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook (paying 4 places 1/5 odds)
Good luck with your bets
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk