on a high as monopoly game continues...
Irish strangle-hold I wrote about last week eventually materialized
in Saturday's Derby when the Aidan O'Brien-trained duo of
High Chaparral and Hawk Wing demolished the field to pick up
over £1.1million between them, and truly confirm the
Ballydoyle maestro's domination of the three-year-old colt's
races so far this term.
We learned on Saturday that Hawk Wing, so unlucky in
the 2000 Guineas, proved again without winning that he is a
'proper' top class animal, he was beaten not because of a
lack of ability, but because he didn't stay the
mile-and-a-half trip and he is going to be some prospect
over a mile-and-a-quarter.
The winner, ridden by the 2000 Derby winning jockey
Johnny Murtagh, may now be prepared for a mouth-watering
clash with French Derby winner Sulamani at the Curragh in a
few weeks. The
last two Irish Derbies have been won by the victor at Epsom
so he will go off favorite on his own turf, but Sulamani is
no slouch and it is not to be forgotten that his
half-brother Dream Well won the race four years ago for the
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned pair of Esloob and Bandari,
who I thought had strong chances in the Oaks and Derby
respectively were bitter disappointments over the weekend.
Esloob just didn't seem to handle the rain softened
ground in Friday's fillies classic, won by Kazzia for
Frankie Dettori, while trainer Mark Johnston was obviously
gutted at his horse's showing in the premier classic and is
not sure what caused such a poor run.
What made it even worse though, is the fact that his
other runner in the race Fight Your Corner who finished
fifth, actually picked up an injury in the race and won't be
seen out again for at least another year.
But that is a blessing considering what happened to
Michael Jarvis' runner Coshocton.
About to finish in the top four or five, the chestnut
colt collapsed just yards before the line and unseated his
rider Philip Robinson, who was just badly winded in the end
and was taken away by medical staff to recover.
Coshocton on the other hand was not so lucky, he
snapped a leg when falling and had to be destroyed.
Rumours are circulating
about what caused his untimely death in the first
place, his trainer reckons a heart attack was responsible
but we will not know for sure until the post-mortem is
carried out in the next few days.
to happier things then and it's only now less than two weeks
until Royal Ascot starts again, and I am looking forward to
the possible reappearance of some smart individuals there.
Nayef, the 2001 Champion Stakes winner may come out
for the Prince of Wales' Stakes or the Hardwicke Stakes and
will surely take alot of beating.
I have not lost any confidence in him despite his
odds-on defeat in Ireland the other day, where the ground
was far too soft for him.
If he runs in the Prince of Wales', then I would like
to see Mark Johnston's smart 4yo Desert Deer run in the
Queene Anne instead, as I would not like to see them run
together and have to make a choice.
Desert Deer impressed me massively at Newmarket the
other day and I believe he can be a top-class animal over a
mile or a mile-and-a-quarter.
Another potential 'superstar' to look out for is
Aidan O'Brien's Kentucky Derby failure Johannesburg.
After his disappointing run on the other side of the
pond in the 'Run for the roses' it is thought he will revert
to sprinting, and his next port of call may be the Group 1
Golden Jubilee Stakes (formerly the Cork and Orrery),
renamed for this year and promoted from Group 2 status.
Of course I would rather he waited for another
opportunity, as his presence may ruin the chances of my
horse-to-follow Invincible Spirit gaining a deserved Group 1
horse who beat Johannesburg and co in the Kentucky Derby in
May was the Thoroughbred Corporation-owned War Emblem, who
went on to win the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico last month.
As a result he had two thirds of the prestigious and
somewhat illusive American 'Triple Crown' in his back
pocket, and just needed to win the Belmont Stakes on
Saturday night to book his place in history.
However, he virtually fell to his knees after leaving
the starting stalls and finished nearer last than first, but
there was a very interesting and surprising winner.
Sarava, who raced unplaced three times in very
ordinary races in this country last year for Brian Meehan,
came up trumps on his US debut at the very rewarding odds of
70-1. He was
bought for $190,000 to race on the dirt over there, and
after picking up over $500,000 in his first race, it looks
like a very good bit of business to me.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me
about the sport, please feel free to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Gary Christie
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