Friday, May 18, 2012
CAMELOT HEADS 24 REMAINING IN INVESTEC DERBY
There is now just a fortnight until the 2012 Investec Derby Festival gets underway and the final fields for the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks are beginning to take shape following today’s scratchings deadline.
Run at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 2 and with a prize fund of at least £1,325,000, the Investec Derby has 24 colts going forward headed by the unbeaten Camelot, who is one of five remaining entries in the Group One contest for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Camelot was the impressive winner of the first Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 and, if successful at Epsom Downs, would become the 37th colt to complete the 2000 Guineas/Derby double and the first since Sea The Stars in 2009. He is currently the 4/5 favourite for the Investec Derby with William Hill, Official Betting Partner of the 2012 Investec Derby Festival.
O’Brien, who is seeking a third Derby success following the victories of Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), could also be represented by Imperial Monarch, who was victorious in the Group Three bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park on April 28, Astrology, who was the runaway 11-length winner of the Group Three Dee Stakes at Chester on May 11, Father Of Science, an impressive maiden winner at Chester last week and Tower Rock, who was the neck runner-up in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 13. There is one other potential challenger from Ireland in the shape of the Jim Bolger-trained Parish Hall, who has not been seen out so far this season but was successful in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last season.
The strongest rival to Camelot could prove to be yesterday’s Betfred Dante Stakes victor Bonfire, who is current the 6/1 second favourite with William Hill. The son of Manduro was an impressive winner at York and represents owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing (Pocahontas Syndicate) and trainer Andrew Balding. Winners of the Dante Stakes have an impressive record in the Investec Derby in recent years with Authorized (2007), Motivator (2005) and North Light (2004) having won both races.
Other horses going forward to have won recognised trials for the Investec Derby include Chester Vase scorer Mickdaam and the unbeaten Main Sequence, who recorded his fourth and most recent victory in the Betfred Derby Trial at Lingfield Park on May 12.
Pour Moi in 2011 became the first French-trained winner of the Investec Derby since Empery in 1976 and there is one potential starter from France this season in Kesampour. Trained by Mikel Delzangles for owner the Aga Khan, Kesampour is unbeaten in four outings and was successful in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud on May 5 last time out - the same race that Pour Moi won en route to Classic glory at Epsom Downs.
Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of four winners of the Investec Derby, has three potential challengers this time around headed by Frankel’s full-brother Noble Mission, a Listed winner at Newmarket last time out who is declared to run at the same venue in a similar contest again tomorrow, plus Wrotham Heath and Thomas Chippendale.
The five-day conformation stage for the Investec Derby is on Monday, May 28, when there is also one final chance for connections to enter horses via the £75,000 supplementary entry stage.
LATEST ODDS FOR THE INVESTEC DERBY FROM WILLIAM HILL, OFFICIAL BETTING PARTNER OF THE 2012 INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL
4/5 Camelot, 6/1 Bonfire, 12/1 Main Sequence, 14/1 Imperial Monarch, 16/1 Parish Hall, 20/1 Astrology, 25/1 Noble Mission, 33/1 Mariner's Cross, Mickdaam, Wrotham Heath, 40/1 BAR (EW ¼ 1,2,3)
THE FUGUE AND MAYBE AMONG 22 GOING FORWARD FOR INVESTEC OAKS
The Investec Derby Festival gets underway on Friday, June 1 when the £350,000 Investec Oaks takes centre stage.
A total of 22 fillies remain in the fillies’ Classic, which takes place over the same mile and a half course at Epsom Downs as the Investec Derby.
Currently vying for favouritism with William Hill, Official Betting Partner of the 2012 Investec Derby Festival are The Fugue and Maybe.
The Fugue, the 100/30 favourite with William Hill, finished a fine fourth on her seasonal reappearance in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6, one place behind Maybe, but seemed to relish the step up in trip when an eye-catching winner of the Group Two Tattersalls Musidora Stakes over an extended 10 furlongs at York on May 16. She is trained by John Gosden for owner Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber.
Maybe, who is the 7/2 second favourite with William Hill, was undefeated as a juvenile, including in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes, and is one of six remaining entries for trainer Aidan O’Brien along with Cheshire Oaks runner-up Betterbetterbetter, Devotion, recent Listed scorer Kissed, Musidora Stakes runner-up Twirl and Was.
In addition to holding an excellent chance in the Investec Derby with Bonfire, the Pocahontas Syndicate of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing also has a leading Investec Oaks contender in Vow, who was an impressive winner of the Betfred Oaks Trial at Lingfield on May 12, when she was three and a quarter lengths too strong for Colima. She is trained by William Haggas, successful in the Investec Oaks 12 months ago with Dancing Rain, who was his first runner in the Classic.
Alain de Royer Dupre supplies the one remaining French-trained contender in the shape of the Aga Khan’s Dalkala. The Giant’s Causeway filly is unbeaten in three outings, most recently recording an impressive victory at Saint-Cloud on May 15.
The six-day confirmation stage for the Investec Oaks is on Saturday, May 26 when there is also a £20,000 supplementary entry stage.
LATEST ODDS FOR THE INVESTEC OAKS FROM WILLIAM HILL, OFFICIAL BETTING PARTNER OF THE 2012 INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL
100/30 The Fugue, 7/2 Maybe, 9/2 Kissed, 5/1 Vow, 8/1 Kailani (needs to be supplemented), 14/1 Colima, Twirl, Up, 20/1 Firdaws, Was, 33/1 Betterbetterbetter, Coquet, Hazel Lavery, 40/1 BAR (EW ¼ 1,2,3)
LATEST GOING AND WEATHER
Andrew Cooper, Director of Racing at Epsom Downs, said today: “If we were racing today, I would say the going description would be good, good to soft in places. The ground is a bit dead, slightly on the slow side of good
“The last appreciable amount of rain we received was on Tuesday and it has been dry since then. The outlook remains for conditions to stay dry although temperatures will remain on the cool side for the time of year.
“Both the Investec Derby and the Investec Oaks in 2012 promise to be memorable contests and it is very pleasing to see all the main contenders going forward at this stage.”
PRINCE ALZAIN AIMING TO BE KING OF THE FAIRWAY AT NEWMARKET
Trainer Gerard Butler is looking forward to seeing Prince Alzain return to turf for the 10-furlong £33,000 Listed poptelecom.co.uk Fairway Stakes (2.15pm), one of the highlights of an eight-race card on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile tomorrow, Saturday, May 19.
The progressive Street Sense colt made three eye-catching appearances on the all-weather over the winter, following up a comfortable maiden victory at Wolverhampton in November with an impressive success in a conditions race at the same course the following month.
He kicked off the current season with another pleasing display as he went down by a length to the well-regarded Talwar in the Listed International Trial Stakes on the Polytrack of Lingfield Park on April 14.
Butler revealed: “We have always aimed to return Prince Alzain to turf after he ran at Lingfield. He was declared to run in the Dee Stakes at Chester but he is a very correct, good-actioned horse and I didn’t want to compromise his chances on the ground up there. We decided to wait for this race and I am very hopeful of a good run.
“The plan was to run him in the UAE Derby but unfortunately he got an abscess in his foot, which scuppered that option. He didn’t have the best of preparations going into the Lingfield race, so his run there was more than satisfactory.
“His sire Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby, while his mother won over a mile, so he is bred for this distance. We actually entered him in the US Triple Crown but we couldn’t get enough runs into him because of his abscess.
“If everything goes well this weekend, we will look at running him in the King Edward VII Stakes or the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.”
A fascinating renewal of the poptelecom.co.uk Fairway Stakes also includes the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Noble Mission. A full-brother to the world’s greatest horse Frankel, the Galileo colt showed that he too has been blessed with at least some of his sibling’s ability with a cosy neck verdict in the Listed Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes at the QIPCO Guineas Festival earlier this month.
In-form handler John Gosden has declared Thought Worthy, who was runner-up to Imperial Monarch on his seasonal return in the Group Three Classic Trial at Sandown on April 28.
The five runners are completed by the Roger Varian-trained Farhaan, who was fifth in the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over the Rowley Mile in September, and Rugged Cross, who captured a valuable York maiden on his latest appearance in August.
A field of seven goes for Saturday’s other Listed contest, the £33,000 poptelecom.co.uk King Charles II Stakes (3.20pm) over seven furlongs, including last season’s Group One Emaar Middle Park Stakes fourth Balty Boys and 11-length maiden winner The Nile.
Saturday’s card also features the six-furlong £40,000 coralchampionsclub.co.uk Sprint Trophy (2.45pm), for which 20 horses have been declared, while a field of 14 is set to line up in the £30,000 Cheap Broadband @ poptelecom.co.uk Handicap (3.55pm) over a mile and six furlongs.
The racing starts at 1.40pm with the seven-furlong £8,000 poptelecom.co.uk Handicap (18 runners).
COQUET AIMING TO SCALE THE HEIGHTS AS MAY FESTIVAL RETURNS TO GOODWOOD
Goodwood hosts three excellent days of racing next week as the three-day May Festival returns to the course for the first time since 2006, with four Listed contests taking centre stage.
The £35,000 Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes (3.45pm) is the highlight of the first day of the May Festival, Thursday, May 24, and the contest over just short of 10 furlongs for three-year-old fillies has already established itself as a pointer to future Group success since it was introduced in 2007.
Michita (2008) went on to Group Two glory in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, while the outstanding Snow Fairy (2010) subsequently annexed both the Epsom and Irish Oaks before recording three further victories at the highest level in the Far East.
Last year’s winner Beatrice Aurore has progressed to make her mark in Pattern company, winning a Group Three at Chantilly and coming home second in Italy’s Group One Premio Lydia Tesio in October.
An entry of 11 fillies for this year’s race includes the Hughie Morrison-trained Coquet, who is set to make her seasonal return following a highly-promising juvenile campaign that culminated with a game half-length success in a mile Listed contest at Newmarket in October.
Morrison revealed: “Coquet is a likely runner in the Height Of Fashion Stakes. It has been hard work with a lot of the fillies this winter so she has taken a bit of time to come to hand.
“Ideally, I would have run her before now but she worked nicely enough this morning (Friday) and, all being well, she will head to Goodwood.
“She has a lovely temperament and you would be hopeful that she will stay a mile and a half this year. She has been left in the Oaks and it’s probably a very optimistic dream but fillies are very funny things - they can change out of all recognition both backwards and forwards.”
Other contenders for the Height Of Fashion Stakes include the Nayarra, a Group One winner in Italy last term for Mick Channon, Listed Cheshire Oaks third Cubanita, representing Ralph Beckett, and the John Gosden-trained pair of Gathering and Great Heavens.
The three-year-old colts have their opportunity in the £35,000 Casco Cocked Hat Stakes (3.45pm) on the second day of the May Festival, Friday, May 25. Run over a mile and three furlongs, the Listed contest has also proven to be a useful guide to future top-class performers since its inception in 2007.
Rewilding took the spoils in 2010 prior to finishing third in the Epsom Derby the following month and the Godolphin colt progressed to take the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011. Masked Marvel, successful in 2011, also graduated to Group One honours with a scintillating victory in Britain’s oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.
The third and final day of the May Festival, Saturday, May 26, features a pair of Listed contests for older horses - the £35,000 32Red Festival Stakes (2.45pm) over 10 furlongs, and the 12-furlong £35,000 Southern Daily Echo Tapster Stakes (4.25pm).
Adam Waterworth, Managing Director at Goodwood Racecourse, commented: “We had the opportunity to create a three-day fixture in May and we were keen to bring back the May Festival to Goodwood. It’s a meeting that we are intending to build on over the coming years.
“The St Leger winner came out of the Cocked Hat Stakes last year and Rewilding took the same race before going on to become one of the world’s top middle-distance horses.
“Snow Fairy gave the Height Of Fashion Stakes a massive boost with her exploits in Britain and abroad, so both three-year-old races have proven to be good guides to future stars, while Saturday’s contests provide a chance for the more established horses to shine.”
The going at Goodwood is currently GOOD to SOFT.
Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley commented: “The course has dried out remarkably well since last week. We have had some nice, drying days which meant that we were able to get onto the course to cut it and dry it out.
“We are all set for next week and, if the weather forecast is right, then I anticipate that we won’t be far off good ground by next Thursday. We are looking forward to three days of excellent racing and, hopefully, the weather can be kind to us for once.”
QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS SERIES UPDATE
• Red Cadeaux, who failed to win last year’s Melbourne Cup by only a whisker when runner-up to Dunaden, brought a touch of class to this afternoon’s Sportingbet Yorkshire Cup at York with a comfortable one length victory. Glen’s Diamond was a fast finishing second with Harris Tweed third in the first race in the Long Distance division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
• Red Cadeaux could run next in the first Middle Distance race of the Series, the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (sponsored by Investec) at Epsom on Saturday 2 June.
THE JLT LOCKINGE STAKES, NEWBURY, 3.40PM TOMORROW (19 MAY) - MILE
• The world’s highest-rated racehorse and miler, Frankel (rating 136), and the world’s second highest-rated miler, Excelebration (rating 126), clash in the second mile race of the QIPCO British Champions Series and the first for older horses.
• For Frankel it is his first run since beating Excelebration by four lengths in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day and since his injury scare last month which held up his Lockinge preparation by ten days, whereas Excelebration is race fit following an easy victory in the Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes on his first start for Aidan O’Brien at The Curragh last month.
• The highly regarded Strong Suit may also run as long as the going is Good, while Dubawi Gold, Ransom Note and pacemakers Bullet Train and Windsor Palace complete the seven runner line-up.
• This season, individual performance ratings supplied by the BHA handicappers for the first three finishers in each QIPCO British Champions Series race will create Series-specific rankings for each Series category. Following the first Series race, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the Mile performance table is as follows:
French Fifteen 120
The JLT Lockinge Stakes is the fourth race overall in the QIPCO British Champions Series and the second in the Mile division:
1. QIPCO 2000 Guineas (1m, 3yo), Newmarket, Saturday 5 May – won by CAMELOT
2. JLT Lockinge Stakes (1m, 4yo+), Newbury, Saturday 19 May
3. Queen Anne Stakes (1m, 4yo+), Tuesday 19 June
4. St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, 3yo), Tuesday 19 June
5. QIPCO Sussex Stakes (1m, 3yo+), Goodwood, Wednesday 1 August
6. Nayef Joel Stakes (1m, 3yo+), Newmarket, Friday 28 September
7. Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO (1m, 3yo+), Ascot, Saturday 20 October
QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS SERIES RACES TO DATE (there are 35 in total, 7 in each category):
1. QIPCO 2000 Guineas (1m, 3yo), Newmarket, Saturday 5 May (MILE)
Won by CAMELOT (Owner: Derrick Smith, Mrs Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor; Trainer: Aidan O’Brien; Jockey: Joseph O’Brien)
2. QIPCO 1000 Guineas (1m, 3yo), Newmarket, Sunday 6 May (FILLIES & MARES)
Won by HOMECOMING QUEEN (Owner: Mrs Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith; Trainer: Aidan O’Brien; Jockey: Ryan Moore)
3. Sportingbet Yorkshire Cup (1¾m, 4yo+) York, Friday 18 May (LONG DISTANCE)
Won by RED CADEAUX (Owner: R J Arculli; Trainer: Ed Dunlop; Jockey: Tom McLaughlin)
TRAINER OF THE SERIES (AFTER 3 RACES)
JOCKEY OF THE SERIES (AFTER 3 RACES)
Points are awarded on a 20-10-5 basis to the jockeys and trainers of the first three horses in each QIPCO British Champions Series race. In the event of a tie, the number of winners (and, if necessary, second places) will be taken into account. The Jockey and Trainer of the Series will be presented with a specially commissioned trophy on QIPCO British Champions at Ascot on Saturday 20 October.
The upcoming QIPCO British Champions Series races are: