It’s Monday again and my weekly look back at the best of last week’s action.
On Saturday it was Lockinge Day at Newbury, and whilst there was some high-class racing at the Berkshire track, the rest of weekend’s racing was only moderate.
That being the case, I thought it was a good time to look back at last week’s York Dante Festival and how results there have affected the Derby & Oaks’ pictures.
The Dante Festival was a profitable meeting for the Race Advisor Festival Guide, with three nice priced winners and a handful placed at double figures odds.
It’s less than two weeks to the Investec Derby Festival, and all the important trials have now been run. So, what did York tell us about the forthcoming Epsom Classics?
Telecaster is too Hot for Dante Rivals
The real winner from Thursday’s Dante Stakes was Aidan O’Brien, whose grip on the Derby strengthened.
Telecaster was a good winner of the Dante, beating the odds-on favourite, Too Darn Hot, by a length. It must be said he did get the run of the race, as he tracked the strong pace set by Turgenev.
The well touted Japan and Surfman were too far off the speed and had no chance of catching him. Line of Duty was never in the race, and probably found the ground too quick, and Too Darn Hot’s stamina ran out inside the final furlong.
The winner should be supplemented for the Derby and, although connections mentioned the French & Irish Derby’s as possible races, I would be surprised if they don’t supplement the colt for the race.
How hard a race did the colt have? Will the quick turnaround to Epsom be a negative? How good will the Dante form prove to be? These are some of the questions that need to be answered.
Of those that finished behind him, Too Darn Hot drops back to the mile of the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Aidan O’Brien trained Japan was weak in the betting and ran like he needed the run badly. He’s a more a St Leger horse, and the trainer has stronger Derby contenders than him.
Surfman Needs Further
Probably the one to take out of the race, other than the winner, was the third home Surfman. The Roger Varian colt was subject to strong support in the market in the days leading up to the Dante.
The son of Kingman had made all to win at Newcastle on his previous start, and had been prominent when winning at Nottingham on his seasonal return. The hold-up tactics utilised at York didn’t suit him at all. He was too keen in the early stages, but it’s to his credit that he was still able to stay on into third beaten five lengths behind the winner.
He could still go to Epsom, and the extra distance and a more prominent ride could see him go well there. He has the look of the trainer’s Kingston Hill, who placed in a Derby in 2014 and then went onto win the St Leger.
Telecaster’s clearly the best of the English challengers on ratings, but surely with the likes of Sir Dragonet (if he runs), Anthony Van Dyke, Broome and Circus Maximus, Aidan O’Brien once again holds the key to this year’s Derby.
I will come back to the Derby and the main contenders next week’s post.
Musidora Favourite Fails To Sparkle
Since the Musidora was first run in 1961, six winners have gone onto to win the Oaks, the first was Noblesse in 1963, but you have to go back a decade to find the last filly to do the double when Sariska went onto win at Epsom in 2009. I don’t think we have seen the Oaks winner in this year’s Musidora.
Just a neck separated the first three home, as the Roger Varian trained filly Nausha, just held off Entitle and Frankellina in a driving finish. The winner had race-fitness on her side, which probably won her the race. She will presumably now head for the Oaks.
John Gosden’s saddled the runner-up Entitle, Enable’s half-sister, and she ran well, given this was just her third career start. However, the trainer looks to have a stronger hand of Oaks’ Fillies in Mehdaayih & Anapurna, and it likely the slowly improving Entitle will head to the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot rather than the Oaks.
Frankellina was even less experienced than Entitle. Just the one race prior to Wednesday. The daughter of Frankel lost 4 lengths at the start which arguably cost her the race. She shaped like a filly who needs further than 1m 2 ½ f. I could see her placing in an Oaks but it’s possible that she could miss Epsom and head for the Ribblesdale.
Fresnel ran well to take 4th, beaten just 1¾ lengths behind the winner. The Irish raider did the best of those ridden with pace, and paid a good compliment to Oaks’ favourite Pink Dogwood, who had beaten her comfortably at Navan on her previous start.
Another Gosden filly, Sparkle Roll, was sent-off the 7/4 favourite. The filly had impressed when winning at Sandown on her previous start. However, she didn’t seem comfortable on the quick ground at Sandown and, in this better race, she seemed to struggle on the going and eventually finished 7 th of 10.
On the face of it, this was a disappointing performance from the daughter of Kingman, but an easier surface will see her in a better light and she isn’t one to give-up on just yet.
As with the Derby I will come back to the Oaks in next Monday’s post.
“Royal” Windsor Racecourse Stats
Racing on Monday’s wouldn’t be the same without Windsor’s summer evening meetings. Located in the county of Berkshire, almost in the shadow of Windsor Castle. Windsor is the only racecourse set on its own island, and one of only two figure-of-eight racecourse courses in the United Kingdom. It’s also the only racecourse in the UK where you can travel to the course on boat from the centre of Windsor.
There are 27 racing fixtures between April and October, many of them on Monday evenings and there’s one today!
As a new weekly feature, I will be looking at some interesting trainer and jockey stats that could be worth noting.
Starting this week with Windsor, I have two trainer stats at the course and one jockey stat.
1. Ed Walker
8 winners from 19 runners 42% +20.5 A/E 2.16 11 placed 58%
2. Clive Cox
Race Distance: 1m & 1m ½
Runs at Track = 0
7 winners from 19 runners 37% +14.75 A/E 1.96 9 placed 47%
3. Jamie Spencer
Race Distance: 1m 3 & 1m 3 ½ f
9 winners from 23 rides 39% +33.48 A/E 1,68 12 placed 52%
Until next week.