What a dilemma! My head hurts after considering the chances of Masterofthehorse in todays G3 1 and a half mile contest at Goodwood.
The dilemma is this. Here is a horse who has form in the book a clear stone ahead of anything the others have shown. Yet it is vying for second favouritism, surely this is fantastic value and both guns should be loaded, primed and aimed?
Lets have a look at the evidence. MOTH ran a superb third in the UK derby, a very respectable distance behind superhorse Sea the Stars (who the Major proudly tipped up for the 2,000 Guineas!). STS has gone on to demonstrate he is the superb animal we thought he might be (although I foolishly abandoned him for the Derby!) That derby third looked incredibly strong, even if they did quicken off an very slow early pace, is head and shoulders ahead of any form the rest of the field have.
You can also look favourably at the form from his Chester defeat by Golden Sword. That day, Murtagh in my view had a very poor ride (It is no secret that hold up horses around Chester fare poorly!) and finished second to front running Golden Sword. Look back at third and Debussy franks the run nicely. Debussy won a Group 2 on Sunday in France beating some very nice types. Maybe Murtagh rode at Chester to beat Debussy thinking it was enough? Whatever way you look at it the formline boosts MOTHs chances when comparing to this company. Phillip Robinson gets the ride.
So surely this horse would be a worthy favourite?
Not so fast. The horse subsequently ran about a stone below the Derby performance when turned out as 9/2 J2F for the Irish Derby. 4th was not a disgrace but 16 lengths was a big step backwards.
Then the horse is sold out of Aidan O’Briens camp into Miss D Mountain. She has had 2 winners in the last 120 odd runners. Simply put, if the horse was still with O’Brien, 5/1 might be 7/4.
He has looked a bit quirky at times and he may well be a handful but he has class even if he is a bit coltish.
It would be a surprise to see Coolmore sell a potential class horse even if the new owner, Mr Hassan, paid through the nose for him. The owner has several horses in the middle east and maybe the plan is to take him to Dubai – All the same, it is suspect that Aidan let the horse go. MOTH is not the only horse to leave Coolmore, Black Bear Island has also gone.
The opposition in todays race, Harbinger, has well over a stone to find with MOTH. While the horse is well regarded and Sir Michael Stoute received a timely boost at the weekend from Conduit, it is a bloody big step up from class 4 racing, no matter how good connections think you are. He does have all the right entries though and is a likely Ledger runner, possibly favourite if winning this.
Urban Poet, another leading fancy, won a class 5 at Hamilton (well) – How can this be vying for 2F with MOTH??
So, form in the book (with a huge well being question mark) versus reputations.
I would not be surprised to see the 5/1 drift (although I took 6s on BF last night and 5/1 with Ladbrookes today and both have shortened). The ‘well being’ question is key. Surely though the new owners would not have parted with their cash if it was not well? However, we don’t know how much cash was parted with. Maybe the change of scene will do the horse well.
One last factor. Why has Aidan got no runners himself? It is not like he does not have a raft of classy middle distance 3yos he could throw in. He had half the runners in the derby field! Should we read much into that – Was it part of the deal? Does he think MOTH will romp this?
In my view, to quote Richard Baerlein on Shergar, now is time to bet like men. The horse cannot have lost that much ability. I can forgive a poorer run in the Irish Derby – I think this horse is completely worth the gamble at this price.
I am not going to get bogged down in the agenda of wealthy arab buyers and why they have selected such a small unaccomplished yard to do their buying. I am also not going to over concern myself with why Coolmore would sell a classic form horse.
Instead, I am going to look at the bare form, nothing in the field has posted anything like MOTHs running. If they can step up, fair play, it is possible. It is also possible that the horse is sick.
All considered though, if he hacks up, I won’t let it happen without my money down.
I also fancy JJ the Jet Plane to win the 3.25 stepped up to 7f. K Shea is a superb jockey and it would be nice to see this star win. In the same race, 55s on Express Wish?? It has course form and has won a G3, OK you have to forgive this seasons poor runs but 55s seems big.
Advice: Masterofthehorse – £25 win 5/1, JJ the Jet Plane 3/1 £10 and a £10 double. £4 Express Wish win 55s and £4 place 7.8
Shame my competition funds are wiped out!