The Bet Enthusiast Report – The Flat Season So Far…
We are just about midway through the Flat season in Britain so now seems a good time to assess the horses of the year to date in the context of the championship races that are staged during the rest of the summer and autumn. The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is the most prestigious race in Europe and Al Kazeem is vying for favouritism after three Group 1 wins over middle distances.
On ratings Al Kazemm looks a worthy favourite for the climax of the European Flat season. The Arc is run at Longchamp just outside Paris in October. The distance of the race is 12 furlongs, the classic distance over which the Derby and King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes are also contested. The winner of the race is often declared the champion horse at that distance.
Al Kazeem won the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown but the race was not without controversy. With the race seemingly won Al Kazeem drifted and caused interference to Mukhadram which cost that horse second place. The beneficiary was Declaration Of War, earning his connections prize money for second place though clearly not the second best horse in the race.
James Doyle, Al Kazeem’s jockey, was given a five day ban for careless riding. The horse was not disqualified as the stewards felt the interference did not affect the outcome of the race. However, the owners of Mukhadram lost a serious amount of prize money through no fault of their own.
The fairest solution in cases when interference by the winner does not affect the result but a horse is clearly disadvantaged is to compensate connections of the horse placed third by taking some of the prize money from the horse that was second. It is fair to say we are dealing with wealthy owners in this instance so any prize money deficit will not have much affect on their finances but a similar situation could occur when it involves horses representing less wealthy owners.
Al Kazeem is trained by Roger Charlton who believes that it is the best horse that has been in his care. He won the Derby with Quest For Fame in 1990, the first year in which he had a training licence. Al Kazeem had an injury affected season in 2012 but is now looking like the most likely winner of the Arc. The Bet Enthusiast service has tipped him each time he has won this year and we won’t be deserting him for the big race in France.
Dawn Approach was the champion two year old in Britain and Ireland in 2012. That promise was confirmed with a win in the 2000 Guineas which led to a tilt at the Derby, run over four furlongs more. Dawn Approach was lit up from the start of the Derby and was never a factor so Godolphin continues to strive for that elusive first win in the Blue Riband race on the Flat.
Ruler Of The World won the Derby, ridden by Ryan Moore, to give the Ballydoyle Irish syndicate their fifth win in the race. Libertarian was a fast finishing second with Galileo Rock in third. Only that horse confirmed the form in the Irish Derby and now looks a leading contender for the final Classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster in September.
Toronado was a disappointing fourth behind Dawn Approach in the Guineas. However that horse ran up to it’s best form when finishing a close second to Dawn Approach at Royal Ascot. The Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood at the end of the month appears to be the most likely race for the third head-to-head of the season.
If Dawn Approach wins at Goodwood the horse will have claims to be the season’s outstanding three-year-old miler. However, the Jim Bolger trained and part owned animal has had a busy schedule since racing in the first Flat race of the 2012 season in Ireland and connections may be going to the well just once too often.
Richard Hughes thought Toronado would win the 2000 Guineas and was desperately disappointed when the horse could manage just fourth place. Toronado looked back to his best at Royal Ascot and Goodwood may suit the animal slightly more than Dawn Approach. In any case the race should determine the horse that is the champion of the generation at the distance of one mile.
Sky Lantern could also claim to be the best miler of the year, despite finishing second to Elusive Kate at Newmarket last week. The winning distance was just a neck but clearly Elusive Kate ran towards Sky Lantern in the final furlong but the stewards decided to leave the placings unaltered.
Richard Hanon Junior, who often represents his father at the races, initially said they will accept the decision and move on. Apparently, they have received many messages of support from racegoers who felt Sky Lantern was an unlucky loser and have decided to appeal against the decision. Bookmakers make Elusive Kate long odds on to keep the race and a change in the result is a rarity, mainly because that would undermine the findings of the local stewards.
The favourite for the King George is St Nicholas Abbey, the horse that has won three Coronation Cups at the Epsom Derby meeting. St Nicholas Abbey won on Breeder’s Cup night in 2011 and is clearly a high class animal. The bookies believe Cirrus Des Aigles is the second most likely winner despite a moderate seasonal reappearance last month.
In theory Cirrus Des Aigles is the best horse in training in Europe, The horse got within less than two lengths of Frankel when that horse had its last race at Ascot last October. Trading Leather has been touted as the best three year old of the season after an impressive win in the Irish Derby. Mount Athos looks an interesting contender at a bigger price but Battle Of Marengo and Mars have shown decent form for Coolmore this season.
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Recommended Horse Racing Advisory Service…
Power Naps is currently Number One on the BetFan Leaderboard for July 2103 with a very healthy +70 Points Profit. With some great flat racing on the horizon including Glorious Goodwood at the end of the month this might just be the service to follow!