A feast of international Classic racing looms with The Oaks and Derby at Epsom and the Belmont in New York.

Friday’s Oaks seems to be between two high class fillies Rainbow View, who failed to act on the good to firm going at Newmarket, and SARISKA who loved it in dismantling a good Musidora field at York.  Since Friday’s going is sure to be fast, you can depend on SARISKA (BANKER BET) to land the fillies Derby.

Saturday’s Derby is much more difficult as the fancied horses will all have question marks around them especially on good to firm.  My ante-post “certainty” Fame and Glory has never run on firmer than good and is by Montjeu so is highly unlikely to enjoy it.  Stable companion, Rip Van Winkle, the hype horse for which stable jock Johnny Murtagh will go, must be the most unlucky horse in racing having suffered two crucial training setbacks before the Guineas and another last month (pulled off a shoe; sore for days) and is suspect at the trip.  Also, he is a temperamental type who is likely to be upset by the hectic preliminaries at Epsom.  John Oxx’s Sea The Stars has the best form in the book but is by Cape Cross and so suspect at the trip although his dam, Urban Sea, won the Arc.  Also, he is a monster of a horse who will surely be hamstrung by Tattenham Corner.

What’s left?  Black Bear Island, a brother to Derby winner High Chaparral, could not have been more impressive in winning the Dante at York although the first four finished in a heap.  The winner was the backmarker throughout and only came forward inside the final furlong to win going away.  The manner of his pulling alongside these top class campaigners and blowing them away one by one will never leave me and he is very much worth a punt.  The problem is that his jockey got a whip ban after the race which means that he had a hard race and I wonder if he will be at peak for Epsom.  Regardless, he is a danger to all and should be in all exotic bets.

The one I like is the forgotten horse, CROWDED HOUSE who was once the winter book 3/1 favourite for the Derby and deservedly so based on his dismantling of a high class field in the Racing Post Trophy.  He has had one bad race (8th in the Dante on reappearance) after which he scoped badly but is now reportedly fully recovered and working well.  Suddenly he can be had at 25/1 everywhere.  NONSENSE!! This is  beautifully bred colt by Epsom Derby winner Rainbow Quest out of the Woodman mare Wiener Wald.  He is a full brother to French 11.5f winner (won at 9f as a 2yo) On Reflection and a half brother to 1 ½ mile winner Heron’s Bay (by Hernando) so I reject the “expert’s” view that he is suspect at the trip having proven his stamina at a mile as a 2yo to boot.  His trainer agrees with me because he swerved the 2000 Guineas (had Delegator in that race) for the Derby.  His 2yo accomplishments were incredible and his Timeform rating for the Racing Post win was higher than that recorded by High Chaparral, Motivator and Authorized in the same race.

One bad race (with an excuse) and he is written off as a no-hoper???  This isn’t funny.  At 25/1 this is the each way BET OF THE YEAR!!!

Later on Saturday afternoon, Mine That Bird will be all the rage for the Belmont but those of you who have followed me over the years will know that I will always oppose horses that have run with credit in both legs of the Triple Crown when they come to New York for the final leg.  The U.S. breed, weakened over the past 30 years by the proliferation of race day medication; sires who are no better than milers; and a race programme with only one 12 furlong race on it, is highly unlikely to produce a horse good enough to hold its form over 12 furlongs after having run his heart out in the Derby and the Preakness.

The one I have always loved for this race is DUNKIRK (nap) who found the Florida Derby too sharp; sensibly missed the Preakness after failing to act in the slop at Churchill downs; is unexposed and progressive and sure to get the trip.

Good Luck!


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