With work taking an unfortunate precedence, few posts this week and neither myself or Ade (who seems to have gone to ground since the German ousted him as taking someone elses work!) have kicked off the contest. I am changing that with some action today.
Derby Day, its raining. After getting up at 5.30 with my two young boys, I have taken the opportunity to fill my belly with coffee and found moments to read the RP and think through much of the Derby evidence. Maybe it is fatigue but I am convinced I have the winner. This is not normally a good sign – My winning bets are directly inverse to the level of confidence I have in them, which really hints that I should give the game up.
However, with May showing a tidy profit, June needs a decent start so here goes.
Current Market (Betfair)
Here are my views and selections:
Seas the Stars – John Oxx has had a fantastic season and his sole Derby representative is likely to start as favourite after many people liked his 2,000 Guineas win. I am less sure of this runner and have a few reservations. Firstly, the trip is unsure both on breeding and form. I am not saying he definitely will not get it but it is not a nice question to have in the Derby. I am also not enamered as many are with the 2,000 Guineas form. Delegator failed to frank it when expected to take the Irish version, which may not have been a damning piece of form given the heavy conditions faced but Sea The Stars (although tipped by the Major in the 2,000) is overlooked here. If anything I think he might be a place lay. O’Brien is a master of tactics – He is running half of the field! I am sure Golden Sword will be put to good use and will draw the sting from STS. Plus, 2000 Guineas winners have not had a great recent record in the Derby.
Fame and Glory – I am glad to see FAG (how unfortunate) is the favourite of the O’Brien contingent. Ultimately he has a right to be. Unbeaten in four starts and taking the same winning route many other Ballydoyle stars have on route to Derby success. Much more likely to get the trip, this is better opposition than he has ever faced but I fancy a step up in class.
Rip Van Winkle – RVW is a puzzle to me. This horse has been heavily fancied and I must admit to having some antepost action on him at 12s which I later got out of at 7s. Johnny Murtagh has picked him and as Ballydoyles number one jockey this is influential. It has been very influential in the market and I am sure that Fame and Glory would be hot property and a certain favourite if the emporers thumb had gone the other way. I am unsure this will get the trip as well and since I am not sure of the 2000 Guineas form, it’s fourth there is not great form. It would not be the first time Johnny has made the wrong selection and to be fair it is not an easy choice. I for one think he will be regretting his selection at 3.50pm today.
Gan Amhras for me has a better curve than many others at the head of the market. He is likely to appreciate the step up in trip and has great claims for a place, if not a shot at the title. More than any other 2000 Guineas rival, this one to me looked like he would be a Derby horse – In my thoughts.
Black Bear Island – This was my early Derby favourite and I must admit to having some antepost slips in his favour. A full brother to a previous Derby winner, this Dante winner will definitely favour a mile and a half. I think of the O’Brien runners this is the best closer from deep and that could be crucial. Ryan Moore picks up the ride and while I am not a big fan (I think he likes the glory of holding up far superior horses, delivering it as late as possible to have commentators cooing over his timing! Occassionally he gets this badly wrong and gets considerably and justified stick). For my criticism, I think that style will suit BBI. I dont think this one has to improve that much to feature and with tactics in this crucial, the race may be run to suit… hmmm.
Other mentions – The masterofthehorse poor run (see previous post on JMs bad week at Chester) may mask a better horse. Golden Sword held him that day after being given far too comfortable a lead. Surely Golden Sword has a tactical role today. Plus, if O’Brien needs to pressure Sea the Stars and test that stamina, Golden Sword will be put to more use and therefore more useless in the final 2f. Kite Wood requires significant improvement and I am sure some will come but not enough – outside place hope with Frankie up top especially if he settles better (was keen in the Dante). Montaff is also overpriced with Hills to help this horse – I will overrule this horse from entering the frame so I am not backing too much but essentially the second to Age of Aquarius when entitled to the run is not bad form for this. For me the right price is 25/1 not 50/1, thats all I am saying. Debussy has ground to make up on horses I dont fancy so is easy to rule through.
How will it pan out?
I fancy Golden Sword to bowl along at a generous gallop. O’Brien will want to ask Sea the Stars the crucial stamina question and I am sure the riding instructions for GS will be to make the most of him. I would be surprised if Fame and Glory was held up and I fancy Heffernan to have this one cruising in fourth at the top of the hill. Held up, Black Bear Island and Age of Aquarius will be suited by a generous pace and I expect them to be flashing home at the finish.
What a great Derby – Five Questions Answered by 3.50pm (My predictions too)
Was RVW the right choice for Johnny Murtagh?
No I think he will regret it – I think the prize will go to Ballydoyle but not with VW
Will the recent death of Vincent O’Brien mean an emotional win for his son?
No doubt his fathers death will be on Aidans mind today and noone would fail not to see a fitting tribute witha Ballydoyle winner. Vincent was the king of all trainers on the flat and over the obstacles – It is never wise to be on emtional outcomes but racing has a habit of writing its own tale and I think an O’Brien trained one two is the right result.
Does Sea the Stars have star quality?
No, I do not think his 2,000 uineas win was as impressive as many others do – Happy to be proved wrong but too many questions on this one and I would be happy to place lay at 1.6.
A surpise on the books?
To me the race has a flavour of that but history says no. You have to go back to ’98 to find a double priced winner- This leaves RVW, Gan ahmras, Sea the Stars, Black Bear Island and Fame and Glory to choose from.
What is the result then?
1. Fame and Glory 2. Black Bear Island 3. Gan Amhras 4. Sea the Stars 5. RVW 6. Age of Aquarius 7. Kite Wood 8. Masterofthehorse 9. Montaff 10. Golden Sword 11. Crowded House 12. Debussy
Advice: Fame and Glory Win £20 4/1 generally available and £10 win and place on Black Bear Island 9.4 and 2.96
Tim Versus Ade: £250 on Fame and Glory at 4/1 £200 ew on Black Bear Island 9.4 and 2.96 – Good Luck