At time of writing, the York Dante meeting is in full flight and all the Derby pointers are in.

They finished in a heap in the Dante with more disappointments than successes.  The race’s biggest success was Ballydoyle who finished first and second with Black Bear Island (a full brother to High Chaparral who came from last to first for an impressive win and is sure to stay a mile and a half) and Freemantle who made a brave bid to make all just losing out well inside the final furlong.  Aidan O’Brien now has a stranglehold on the Derby like never before but it’s important to note that FAME AND GLORY took the Ballysax Stakes/ Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial route which is the path previously trod by all Ballydoyle Derby winners and a sure sign that he is at the top of the stable’s pecking order.  In addition to this, he is unbeaten in four lifetime starts; he brushed aside Mourayan (John Oxx’s second string to Guineas winner Sea The Stars who only beat him by ½ length in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes as 2 year olds) by 5 lengths in the Derrinstown in the most professional manner; by Montjeu out of a Shirley Heights mare, he is sure to get the Derby trip; and is a racing certainty come June 6 once he acts on the track.

Like every son of Montjeu, he has his quirks and swished his tail at Leopardstown when given the one and only smack he got from the jockey.  But there is absolutely no reason why he should have a problem with Epsom (having won twice at the tight Irish track Leopardstown) and it will take an Act of God to beat him on the day.  He is currently best priced at around 5/2 but will be odds-on come June 6 so Get in early and often in the ante-post market.

Friday’s York programme does have one excellent bet as the word from the Richard Fahey camp is that the 4:20 is the early season target for HARRISON GEORGE (nap) who has a couple of these big handicaps with his name on them this season and made a very encouraging reappearance six weeks ago.  He has been laid out for this and is an BIG BET.

The second leg of the American Triple Crown The Preakness will be run off at Pimlico on Saturday afternoon.  This is another dirt track but there will be no repeat of the sloppy surface that so obviously suited shock Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.  The owners of the Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra have decided to start her in the Preakness and Calvin Borel, who won both the Kentucky Oaks and Derby, has sensibly opted for the filly who is now the ante post favourite.  She could not have been more impressive winning the Oaks by 20 lengths but she did not beat much and her time (1:48.4) for the nine furlong trip on a fast track was over a second slower than the track average while the Derby time (2:02.3) for a furlong longer on a sloppy track was 1:22 slower than average.

I doubt very much that she will enjoy the hustle and bustle of racing against Grade 1 colts at this trip and so she is by-passed at short odds in favour of the pre-Derby favourite FRIESAN FIRE who suffered minor cuts and bruises in the Derby (finished second to last) which have reportedly healed nicely since that time and he is once again fit and well.  He is going to start at a nice, overlay price on Saturday and now that his pipes have been opened by the Derby run (was off seven weeks prior to the Derby) and gets a slightly shorter trip which he will relish, he is very much the value bet of the race.

Good Luck!



  1. pj Says:

    does anyone know what price was paid for Rachel Alexandra? I think she will win the Preakness.

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