There’s some exciting prospects for Saturday’s racing including a stellar mixed card at Sandown featuring the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (Grade 3 Handicap Chase; 3m5f110yds; 9.10am; UBA Race 10); the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes (4yo+; 10f; 9.45 a.m.; UBA Race 14); and the Group 3 Classic Trial (3yo; 10f; 10:15 a.m.; not on the UBA programme).

Back home at the Caymanas Ranch, it’s Oaks day.

Racing at Sandown is likely to be dominated by the ground which is currently soft on the jumps course and heavy on the flat with more rain forecast so it will be a slog in which lightly weighted mud larks will have a distinct advantage.  The Gold Cup favourite, Le Beau Bai is a standout on form and relishes it as heavy as it can get.  But he’s a short price for one who has developed into somewhat of a Chepstow specialist (three of his last four wins have come at that Welsh track on heavy ground) and whose 36 races under rules have come mainly on left handed tracks.  It’s interesting to note that, he won his first two races around Towcester and Exeter (both stiff right handed tracks like Sandown) then raced 4 of his next 6 runs right handed (0 for 4 including on heavy at Folkstone).  Of his next 28 races, only 3 were around right handed tracks yet his form figures in those races were 12P.  He is sure to be allright around Sandown but whether he’ll be at his very best on this his first ever race at the track we’ll only know tomorrow.

He’s plenty short enough in the betting – too short to take on that particular query – so savvy punters should oppose him with another mud lark WEST END ROCKER another who doesn’t go right-handed very often but who loves the mud and is still fresh after an early exit in the Grand National.  Highly fancied Major Mularky, 2nd in the Midlands National, should find the ground too testing for his liking but can come into his own in the summer.



At this time of year on the flat, those with a run under their belt have a marked advantage and, in the Grade 3 Gordon Richards Stakes, the booking of Ryan Moore on lightly raced 7yo POET gives this one even more appeal.  He’ll love all the conditions and is a cracking good bet.

Only four go to post in the Classic Trial but it’s still a head-scratcher.  Thought Worthy may have been lucky to beat a poorly ridden Gold Ream (5th; used up in very soft conditions and weakened out of the frame) on debut.  Gold Ream is 0 for 7 starts; but 2nd to 4th all won next time out.  Both Rougemont and Stipulate proved their stamina when making winning reappearances.  Of the two, Stipulate, who has won twice on a sound surface but whose action suggests he’ll improve for some cut in the ground is preferred.  However, it’s Aidan O’Brien’s IMPERIAL MONARCH, so impressive when making all at the Curragh on debut and who is best suited by what is sure to be a tactical race, that is the selection.


SELECTIONS:  UBA Race 14, #5        POET

                        CLASSIC TRIAL #1 IMPERIAL MONARCH


It’s Oaks Day at Caymanas Park and the absence of Trinithetutor has devalued the race somewhat.  Fourteen are entered but it’s important to note that 9 of the 14 have only ever beaten maidens (or are themselves maidens).  The five fillies with the distinction of winning a race that included winners all ran in the 1,000 Guineas and are #14 Exotic Gold (5th); #13 She’s Traditional (1st); #10 Pleasure Train (12th); #7  Classic Princess (10th) and #5 Philistia (6th).  Also worthy of consideration from the same race is #8 Star Flyer (2nd; now with first time Lasix); and #11 Antoinette (4th).

A lot has been made about the change of jockey on the Guineas winner but I doubt there’s anything exciting about it.  Omar Walker has always had first call in Fitzroy Glispie’s stable but no doubt preferred Trinithetutor for the Guineas as a result of which Glispie had to look for a replacement jockey.  Now that Walker is available, he takes over from Trevor Simpson.

The problem with the Guineas is that it wasn’t a very good race.  The first 3 finished in a heap; the final time, as corrected by the day’s track variant (1:40.3) is just about good enough for high claiming ($600,000) and definitely below Overnight Allowance level; and the two ante post favourites performed below par.  To make matters worse, Exotic Gold, who is starting to have an exposed look about her, and She’s Traditional, are both drawn in the car park and, accordingly, have major obstacles to overcome.  So, my first shocking assertion is that I’ll be very surprised to see any of Exotic Gold or the Guineas 1st and 2nd winning this race.  We must look elsewhere for the likely winner.  The short list of three is:

Special Clearance                A late foal so it’s no surprise that she didn’t see the racecourse before October 2011 or that she has improved very recently.  Her trainer has used most of her 7 lifetime starts to experiment with headgear but the first time she raced with tomorrow’s equipment (Tongue Strap; Lasix; no headgear) was her fourth and last run as a 2yo when she ran a cracker to be 7 1/4l 3rd behind the smart My Friend Lucy who clocked an eye-opening 1:27.3 on a slow track.

She has only used this equipment combination twice this year after, without the tongue strap, she ran a most creditable 2nd to the gelding Prince Andrew who clocked 1:34.1 for 1500 metres that day on a track riding 3/5ths of a second slow at that trip (actual time 1:33.3!).  This was at least as good as her 3rd to My Friend Lucy despite the absence of the tongue strap.  With her favourite equipment returned, she proved that stamina was her game with a staying on 1/2l 2nd to the smart Merovingian Queen in 1:41.3 for a mile.  Then she adjusted well to a step back in trip to get up on the line to defeat Hotstreak but was subsequently disqualified.

One thing for sure:  Special Clearance will stay every inch of this trip; is likely to show significant improvement for this her first two turn race; and will be finishing with a flourish when all else is gasping for air.  Big chance.

Antoinette                   This unexposed, progressive filly has raced only three times and impressed on each occasion not the least being in the 1000 Guineas which she threw a fright into all and sundry despite her inexperience.  The most impressive part of that run was that she was mixing it up in the earlies yet still keeping on very well inside the final furlong (on the far rail) and ran all the way to the line.

Since then, she has looked an improved sort at exercise and will be coming to run tomorrow.  I for one will be very, very surprised if her more fancied stable companion finishes in front of her

PHILISTIA               already proven to be the best of the fillies, she clearly needed the run in the Guineas (her first for over 3 months) and will be another one improving out of that race.  Her 2nd in the Jamaica 2yo Stakes, under an atrocious ride, in 1:40.1, with a 26.0 final quarter, is by far the best form on offer here.

And let me assure readers that there should be no stamina issues.  Apart from her seeing out the 1600 metres of the 2yo Stakes well enough, her dam, Comegowithme is out of the top class producer Midnight Angel which makes Comegowithme a half sister to Triple Crown winner and Horse of The Year I’M SATISFIED; Grade 1 winner Satisfier (both by The Medic); 2000 Guineas winner Steel Dawn (by French Champagne); multiple winners in Jamaica and Trinidad Supremely Satisfied(by Law of the Sea), who won the Grade 3 Prince Consort Stakes and Leonidas (by Royal Minister) who was 2nd in the Prince Consort; and, finally to Muchacha Favourita, the dam of Superstakes winner HOMBRE and of Hermoso Amigo.

If her jockey, who is famous for throwing away Grade 1 races, keeps his head, she is a very good thing indeed


Good Luck!




  1. tony gambrill Says:

    Yes, thats all very well…but what about Galactus? Soup or sardnes, in the words of Dr Wright. TG

  2. Rog Says:

    Star Flyer, 1st time lasix! May just be the ante-post fav. for the Derby after this race.


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