to win the GG's.
FERGUSON STILL HOLDS ONE TITLE
Aidan O'Brien enjoyed a marvellous 1-2 in the Sagitta 2000 Guineas on Saturday as favourite Hawk Wing chased home the Sir Alex Ferguson-owned Rock Of Gibraltar, but just how much of an effect did the draw have in the first classic of the season? Too much. In any normal circumstances, taking into account where the best ground is and where you want to be drawn is part and parcel of racing and backing horses, but surely in a classic where all weights are even it has got to be about the best horse on the day. And the best horse on the day was the runner-up. Clear by miles on the near side, Hawk Wing could not fly fast enough to catch the 9/1 victor, who raced up the far rail on the much more favoured ground. Interesting too, that the official handicapper still rates Hawk Wing two pounds better than Rock Of Gibraltar despite going down by a neck. He is now a best priced 9/4 favourite for the Derby in June. Too little too late on Sunday when the powers that be decided to move the far rail in a few yards, thus meaning all the horses were racing on lush ground and none should have an advantage. How come if former jockey and TV pundit Walter Swinburn can point out the unfair advantage out to all of us on Channel 4, the course officials can not see it themselves and take appropriate action?
Anyway, with all things equal on the Sabbath day, the mighty Godolphin team won their first British classic for two seasons when Kazzia got up to win the 1000 Guineas under Frankie Dettori. In the leading few all the way, she fought bravely to beat Snowfire by a neck and retain her unbeaten status. My strong fancy, and long time favourite for the race Queens Logic, was reported lame on Saturday morning and could not take part. Connections were naturally devastated (as was I) and although the vets and the farriers did all they could, she still could not walk soundly on her near fore and will now be aimed instead at the Irish 1000 in a few weeks.
The success of Aidan O'Brien's colts on Saturday in England could not be matched on the other side of the pond, as his two entries in the Kentucky Derby Johannesburg and Castle Gandolfo were sunk without trace behind War Emblem at Churchill Downs. War Emblem, an all the way winner for peerless trainer Bob Baffert, fought off all comers to win going away in the final half furlong.
On to this weeks racing now, and Chester's May meeting kicks off on Tuesday with more possible Derby clues in the Chester Vase. Researched is an interesting contender for Sir Micheal Stoute and Kieron Fallon, and the Mark Johnston team will be hoping that Fight Your Corner can bounce back to form. On Wednesday it's the ever popular Tote Chester Cup, with the Barry Hills inmate Rainbow High bidding for a hat-trick of wins in this race. In his way this year is the very interesting Cover Up, second in the Northumberland Plate last year, Archduke Ferdinand the winner of that race, and Darasim, once again for Middleham trainer Mark Johnston. On Thursday the Godolphin team will hope to
have strengthened their Derby team after a good performance from Mamool, and in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes Daliapour will bid to give the Stoute team a unique double in this race after winning it two years ago, he has been trained in Hong Kong in between.
Article by Gary Christie