Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frankel atop freshman division in England: Hughes in striking range of Hanaghan in English jockeys' race

Here is an update on the jockeys’ title race in England. Richard Hughes rode at Salisbury on Wednesday. He had a book of excellent rides and was able to connect with three winners. One of the winners came in a match race. It was a 23-1 treble and Hughes now trails Paul Hanaghan by 10 winners, 151-161.

Jockey Hughes is getting a large number of live horses and there’s every reason to think he can catch Paul Hanaghan. Hughes has to serve a day’s ban on October 12. The English flat season runs until Saturday, November 6, 2010. The last meeting will be held at Doncaster.

“I would have been gutted if I had not ridden three winners as I came to the course with some really good rides. It is obviously important to keep myself rolling in the right direction and a treble helps to do that,” said Hughes referring to the title race.

Stan James, a bookmaking outfit, offers 8/15 on Paul Hanaghan, 11/8 on Richard Hughes and 13/8 on Ryan Moore.

We will turn our attention to Frankel who is all the rage in the ante post market for the 2011 English Guineas and the Epsom Derby. Frankel hails from Sir Henry Cecil’s yard and is the property of Khalid Abdullah who won the 2010 Epsom showpiece with Workforce. A Galileo colt out of Kind by Danehill, Frankel made a winning debut on August 13 in a 1600-metre race at Newmarket. The going was soft and Frankel was the 7/4 favorite. With only two adversaries next time out at Doncaster on September 10, Frankel made no mistake as the half money choice. The going was good and the race was over 1400 metres. The third race was the Group II 1600-metre Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot last Saturday. Only five freshmen answered the starter’s call and the Henry Cecil trainee, ridden by Tom Queally, was the 3/10 favorite. Jockey Queally had Frankel held up and let the colt loose with about 400 metres out. Frankel swept into the lead and the winning margin was 10 lengths. The time was 1 41.73 seconds.

Sir Cecil spoke, “he was very impressive. He has been ticking all the right boxes. In the last two months, he has started to improve, improve and improve. He has a lot of talent. I do not think I’ve had a better two year-old since Wollow and that is nearly 40 years ago.”

Benny The Dip was the last horse to win the Royal Lodge and the Epsom Derby. Reaction from the bookmakers was swift. William Hill made a 2/1 offer on Frankel for the 2000 Guineas and gave a 5/2 quote for the Derby. The Guineas is seven months away and the Derby is eight months down the line. Is Frankel that good?

The peerless Cecil responded. “I do not believe in ante post and do not encourage it. A lot of things can happen between now and then. I’m not sure if Frankel will stay the Derby distance. Kind, Frankel’s dam, is a fast mare and you know, female is the dominant sex. He has class and he is, I have no doubt, a Guineas horse.”

The Dewhurst Stakes and/or the Racing Post Trophy are two options that are being considered for Frankel’s last start as a freshman. Let me point out that Frankel refers to Robert Frankel, the California training icon who passed away recently. Bobby Frankel trained for Khalid Abdullah in America. Mr Abdullah named his colt after Bobby Frankel.

A colt I fell in love with but could not cash a ticket on during some of my trips to Europe has been retired. Now five, Tartan Bearer, a son of Spectrum and a pupil of Sir Michael Stoute, will be sent to the breeding shed. Tartan Bearer was owned by Ballymacoll Stud. He had lifetime earnings of 843,787 pounds. A full brother to Golan who was second to Galileo in the 2001 Epsom Derby after winning the 2000 Guineas, Tartan Bearer was also the bridesmaid to New Approach in the 2008 Derby.

The 11/10 favorite in the Irish Derby at the Curragh, Tartan Bearer, Ryan Moore up, was seriously interfered with by a trio from Aidan O’Brien’s yard and took third. Tartan Bearer was the last part in my three-horse parlay. The other two won. In 2009, Tartan Bearer was my strong choice in the Prince of Wales Stakes. Moore rallied but could not catch the Olivier Peslier-ridden Vision d’Etat. Tartan Bearer was second to Conduit in the 2009 King George.

We will take a look at a filly who won the Group II John Guest Diadem Stakes over 1200 metres at Ascot last Sunday. The Brian Meehan-trained sophomore was, at one time, a prominent prospect for the English 2000 Guineas after showing promise in her freshman campaign. Lady of the Desert won the Diadem Stakes going away. The margin was two and one quarter lengths. And the time was 1 14.13 on good to soft going. Sunday was a cold, damp day at Berkshire. Richard Hughes was aboard the Rahy filly who is out of Queen’s Logic by Grand Lodge. I must point out that it was the first time jockey Hughes rode the filly. Lady of the Desert was coming off a second place effort in Haydock’s Betfred Sprint Cup on September 4. Her last win came on August 20, 2009, in the Group II Lowther Stakes at York.

Trainer Meehan expressed delight. “I’m really pleased with her. She is a wonderful filly and has been throughout. We thought she had a big chance in the spring races. Things did not quite work out and she has come back as good as ever.”

Kieren Fallon received a two-day ban for his ride on Klammer in the Royal Lodge. The Irish reinsman is having an extremely productive season in England.

A paragraph on the Grade II (one million dollars) Pennsylvania Derby run last Saturday at Philadelphia Park. Morning Line, a 38/10 chance, beat First Dude in a tight finish. A close up third was A Little Warm. John Velasquez rode the Nick Zito-trained Morning Line. The Pennsylvania Derby was over 1800 metres on the main dirt track. Morning Line is by Tiznow out of Indian Snow who’s by A P Indy.

Trainer Zito said, “It is gratifying. I was so close in many of these big races. I’m human. This makes up for several losses.”

Blind Luck heads a five-filly field in Philadelphia Park’s $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion. It is a 1700-metre race to be run on Saturday. Joel Rosario rides Blind Luck whose key foe is Havre De Grace. Jeremy Rose will be on Havre De Grace who has lost two photo verdicts to Blind Luck this year.

Blame heads the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Saturday. It is a 2000-metre race. There are other Grade I races on that day at Belmont Park.

Newmarket hosts the Bahrain Sun Chariot stakes on Saturday. Traditionally, the Sun Chariot is simulcast in France and bets taken. The Cesarewitch is also scheduled on the same day at the Cambridge venue.

Longchamp has four Group II races on Saturday. There are seven Group I contests, including the Arc de Triomphe, on Sunday. Post time for the Arc is 4 05 PM (Paris time) and 7 35 PM Indian standard time. Sunday’s last race is the Prix de l’Abbaye which will be run on a straight 1000-metre course.

I have received several messages about my illness. I am grateful. The treatment is on-going. I am feeling better.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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