Here is what was not reported in the previous blog. There are additional items today. It is like rolling over unused minutes in a mobile phone plan from one period to the next. In the US and in Europe, there are several meetings and there is so much happening that it is difficult to determine what is newsworthy and what is not. I am looking at items that are of special interest to fans in India although some of the emails I have received are from readers from the US, the UK, Ireland and other countries.
The Czech Derby was run on Sunday at Velka Chuchle (name of the track) and it was a 2400-metre race. Talgado, ridden by Maria Magdalena Rossak, won the race. The name of the winning trainer is F Neuberg. The time was 2 minutes 28.46 seconds. The race was worth 33,500 (English) pounds to the winner. Until I saw this item in the Racing Post website, I did not know that there was racing in the Czech Republic.
The big race at the Curragh on Sunday was the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has, it is reasonable to state, a long term lease on the Irish Classic. The Ballydoyle ace saddled the first three finishers and won his fifth consecutive Irish Derby. Cape Blanco, a 7-2 chance and the second favorite, gave O’Brien his eighth win in the Irish Derby. John Murtagh, Ballymoyle’s retained jockey, was aboard Cape Blanco. Colm O’Donoghue-ridden Midas Touch took the runner-up berth. Jan Vermeer ran third despite a spot of trouble midway up the stretch.
Blue Horizon set the pace and Midas Touch lay second. Cape Blanco was fourth and third. Monterosso followed Cape Blanco. Midas Touch drew first blood and Cape Blanco moved quickly into the mix. Monterosso, in the clear and asked for an effort, was unable to find more. Jan Vermeer, Seamus Heffernan up, was coming through on the inside. There was a brief duel and Cape Blanco was getting the better of Midas Touch. Jan Vermeer, forced to switch lanes, ran on to be third. Cape Blanco ran the 2400-metre Derby in 2 28.68 seconds and won by one half length. A length and a half separated the second and the third. A length away in fourth was Monterosso. Ten sophomores ran. The winner’s share of the purse was 725,000 euros.
Jockey Murtagh had a strip of plaster on his nose. He had come away unscathed after a fall in the first race. It was Murtagh’s fourth win in the Irish Derby. In 2009, Fame And Glory won with Murtagh. The other two Murtagh wins came on Aga Khan-owned and John Oxx-trained Alamshar and Sinndar. Murtagh had finished first and Colm O’Donoghue had run second in 2009 as well.
Cape Blanco has now won five races from six starts. He is by Galileo out of Laurel Delight by Presidium. Derrick Smith owns Cape Blanco whose earnings stand at 843,994 pounds. Cape Blanco’s only loss came in the French Derby at Chantilly when the colt ran 10th after getting a bump in the lane.
“I had a lovely run. He (Cape Blanco) travelled well. I am happy I took the right one but the credit should go to Aidan, who all along, wanted me to ride Cape Blanco, “ jockey Murtagh explained.
Trainer O’Brien spoke about Cape Blanco. “I am just delighted. His last run in France was the only blot on his copybook. May be, the travel or a hot day, something upset him. My son, Joseph, rides him at home and we knew he was in good form. He showed the class and courage we know he has. It was a tough decision for Johnny. The other two ran stormers but Johnny gave him (Cape Blanco) a brilliant ride.”
A rematch with Workforce became a distinct possibility when trainer O’Brien indicated that the King George is on the table for Cape Blanco. In the Dante at York in May, Cape Blanco beat the somewhat green Workforce who, in the next start, ran away with the Epsom Derby on June 5. Workforce was made the 4/9 favorite and Cape Blanco got a 13/8 quote.
In the first race, John Murtagh was aboard Petronius Maximus, the 5-4 favorite, and disputing the lead. Petronius Maximus hit the rail and Murtagh fell. He had a cut nose and a grazed elbow and received medical attention only to return for a ride in the second race. Murtagh thought aloud about the fall. “My horse ran green. He jinked, slipped, hit the rail and fell. I was able to get up and walk. The doctors did a great job patching me up. Thank God nothing serious happened.”
Mark Johnston, Monterosso’s trainer, commented. “We did not come here to run fourth. There were no excuses. Frankie (Dettori) said it was either a bridge too far or hopefully it just came a little bit too soon and there’s more to come later in the year.”
However, trainer Johnston did not leave the Curragh empty handed. Sunday’s last race ( 5 50 PM) went to Bay Willow, a 3-1 chance, trained by Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning.
There was a setback for Aidan O’Brien and John Murtagh in the Railway Stakes. Samuel Morse, the 5-2 favorite, had the lead close home only to be caught in the waning yards by Formosina. The Jeremy Noseda-trained Formosina was given a great ride by Ryan Moore. If Samuel Morse had won, that would have been the 12th win in the Railway Stakes for trainer O’Brien. Formosina was a 7-2 proposition.
Trainer Noseda explained his thinking. “Formosina was beaten by Strong Suit first time out. He has improved since. I did not want to take Strong Suit on again at Royal Ascot. My colt will appreciate a step up to seven and the Vintage at Goodwood is the target. I watched Irish horses at Royal Ascot and although they ran well, they were not winning. I thought here was my chance and thank goodness that thought process has led us to the right place.”
The Ballydoyle team rebounded quickly. Murtagh teamed up with the O’Brien-trained Emperor Claudius, the 2-1 favorite, to win the 4 30 PM race, the Celebration Stakes. That set the table for the Irish Derby 1-2-3 sweep.
At Klampenborg racecourse in Denmark, the Dansk Derby was run on Sunday. The 2400-metre race was won by Diamool, ridden by Jacob Johansen and trained by Lennart Reuterskiold Jr. Thirteen ran and the winner was 8-1 in the Danish tote. The time was 2 28.10 seconds. The winner’s purse was 47,732 (English) pounds.
Finally, a paragraph on a race run at Saint Cloud in Paris on Sunday. It was another heart-breaking loss for Youmzain, the Mick Channon-trained money-making machine. Youmzain has not won a race since 2008 but has a huge bankroll. Plumania and Olivier Peslier beat Youmzain and Richard Hughes by a nose in the 2400-metre Grand Prix de Saint Cloud. It was a dry warm day in Paris. A head away in third was Daryakana, the even money favorite. Seven ran and the time was 2 34.4 seconds. Plumania was a 61/10 chance in the French mutuel system. In 2008, Youmzain won the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud. An inquiry was held and the result stood.
In my next blog, we will look at Danny Nikolic being cleared of charges. Let us see what happened in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Jockey Paul Hanaghan is leading in the English jockey’s race. Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes are serving suspensions.