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RoyalAcademy
29 May 16 20:05
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Date Joined: 05 Jun 08
| Topic/replies: 1,355 | Blogger: RoyalAcademy's blog
The Keeneland Phoenix Champion Stakes Group One contest run over 6f for two-year-olds at the Curragh in August is the first opportunity to judge the best juveniles in Ireland and the U.K. It costs €625 for an initial entry and an owner will have shelled out €2,500 if declared to run on 7 August next. A second entry stage in June will set you back €2,500 whilst €25,000 bags of sand are required for the final supplementary stage which is playing at odds a little north of 9/2 if you fancy your chances in early August.

For me, it offers an early and intriguing insight into stable verdicts on their young tyros and I will try to unearth a few likely sorts that hail from quarters outside the UK and Ballydoyle as I don’t follow British racing closely and Ballydoyle’s entry system is simply..............”put in everything!” and every two-year-old is a potential champion.

Running down through the list of 65 entries which closed in late April brings me to:

Binary Code (Invincible Spirit) John Murphy (Model Syndicate)

The beauty of “purple” racing pedigrees is that they can unfold a story that oftentimes is far more interesting than the four-legged subjects on the page of the General Stud Book. You buy a foal or yearling and you are often buying into a family history, both human and equine.
Kirsten Rausing has been a pre-eminent breeder for many years and Lanwades Stud in Newmarket is the flagship of an operation that has wealth to rival many of the world’s most prominent breeders if she so wished. Ms. Rausing hails from the Swedish Tetra Pak industrial dynasty and more than once I have speculated that Stieg Larrson could have styled his “Vanger Corporation” on the Rausings in his novel “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”.
Staffordstown Stud in Dunboyne has long been an intrinsic part of the Lanwades operation and last autumn they offered an Invincible Spirit yearling colt at Goffs who traced directly back to one of Ms Rausing’s best-ever home-breds – the King George winner from 1985 Petoski – with Binary Code’s grandmother (by Derby winner Slip Anchor) being a half-sister to that subsequent flop at stud. However, the dam (by another Derby winner Nashwan) was a winner as of a Yarmouth maiden when trained by Mark Prescott and she has already bred no less than 10 winners from 12 previous foals including four black-type winners albeit her earliest foals seemed to have been imparted with the best genes, so far.
Binary Code is potentially a bargain at €57,000 given that his sire, Invincible Spirit – “the strongest sire in Ireland carrying the National Stud on his shoulders for years” – was fetching €65,000 in 2013 and is currently almost double that..
His trainer John Murphy has a lower strike rate than a box of soggy matches but I do recall that when he last produced a decent winning two-year-old - Big Time in May 2013 - he lamented afterwards that he wasn’t entered for The Phoenix Stakes. The thing about these winning first-time-out two-year-olds is that we always hear afterwards that “I liked him from day one and entered him in the first available Group One for juveniles” so I am just marking your card!

John Murphy is also responsible for a once-raced colt (Confrontational) (D Mac A’Bhaird) by Footstepsinthesand who, it must be said, looks a very, very optimistic entry even at this early stage. Owner-bred, one could cruelly say that previous horses running in this same partnership have contributed to Murphy’s poor strike-rate and one has to return to the seasons of 2010 and 2011 to find Cul A Dun winning three handicaps for them. Incidentally, owner Mac A’Bhaird raced the useful jumper De Valira some ten years ago. As it costs €625 to enter the Phoenix Stakes and, presumably, one needs some encouragement at home on the gallops for Group 1 event nominations, there must be a flicker of ability in Confrontational. He may be worth keeping an eye on in future handicaps. His only start to date was behind Carravaggio in the Marble Hill and this was a stern test for him at a serious level. He’s from a decent-enough Shadwell family and his present owner has bred 6 winners from the second dam including the afore-mentioned Cul A Dun. Modest handicapping success would be my best estimate at this point unless the dam somehow manages to throw a winner far better than herself-she won a Ripon 5f maiden and was second in a one-mile Dundalk handicap off 64 for these connections.

John Oxx won’t need reminding how ruthless racing patronage can be even if he has sympathy for Sandra Hughes and Tony Martin in recent Gigginstown reshuffles. He trained 54 winners in Ireland and the UK in 2009 and collected a very handsome €4m in prizemoney. In 2015 he trained 21 winners to land just €236,000. Obviously losing the Aga Khan has been a disaster for him.
He has two early entries for the Phoenix Stakes:

Born To Be (Born To Sea colt) J Oxx (Sunderland Holdings)

Born To Sea is obviously a half-brother to both Sea The Stars and Galileo and although running respectably in top-class events at three (second behind Camelot in the 2015 5-runner Irish Derby, for example) he only managed one winning bracket in his career when he won a listed 6f event at the Curragh on his debut. Like Sea The Stars, he raced for Christopher Tsui (Sunderland Holdings) and retired to stud at Gilltown in 2013. He has his first runners this year and is yet to get off the mark in this region from a handful of runners.
Tsui bought Born To Be as a foal for €100,000 (from a €10,000 cover) and failed to offload him in Tattersalls last October when he was unsold at £98,000. Clearly, the plan to recover the initial investment failed. Putting unsold lots into training is the bane of many breeders and pinhookers lives and at least Tsui has remained loyal to Oxx by entrusting him with the training task.
His pedigree gives him a shot at being useful out of a two-time winning dam (over 6f and 12f in modest handicaps for David Evans) who is a half-sister to four other winners. The best name on the page is the second dam Love Of Silver who won a 7f Group 3 event way back in 1992. There’ll be more likely-bred winners of the race.

Sea Of Grace (Born To Sea filly) J Oxx (Sunderland Holdings)


One of 14 fillies of 65 entries for Ireland’s first juvenile Group 1 this is another Born To Sea who cost Christopher Tsui a whopping €260,000 at Arqana last August. Her 2012 half-brother Jumeirah Bay won four races including a 10f Sandown handicap (rated 84) yet he only fetched £29,000 when selling at last autumn’s horses-in-training sale at Tatts. She is out of a winning French 12f mare who is a half-sister to the Wachman-trained Cougar Bay (2003 g by Daylami) a Leopardstown maiden winner over 9f who was placed in countless middle-distance Group 3’s for Joe Joyce in 2006 and 2007, an owner whose ambitious plans for bloodstock domination were decimated by our “crash”.
There’s lots of French and Italian black-type on the page, especially under the second dam, but I’d prefer a more recognisable pedigree before I’d shell out a quarter of a million euros. They’ll be hoping to win a maiden at some stage to safeguard her possibly over-stretched valuation.
Oxx was worth following for his early juvenile runners in the past and that might be a strategy worth considering here.

Diarist (More Than Ready colt) W McCreery (Godolphin)

Willie McCreeryis enjoying a cracking season and is already short odds to beat his previous highest total of 24 Irish winners achieved in 2013 and 2015. He has attracted the patronage of both Sheikh Mohammed and the Niarchos family so it’s likely to be ever onwards and upwards from here.
Diarist is his sole entry in the Phoenix Stakes and as a well-bred son of US-based More Than Ready educated guesswork calls for a little more imagination.
His purchase price of $250,000 is a good start. He is the winning dam’s fifth foal and all previous progeny have won in North America including two who secured black-type. His mother is also related to some useful graded performers and, being by Distant View, is well capable of producing two-year-olds. Incidentally, the second dam won in France and she is by the ill-fated Golden Fleece which brings me back to the Sangster/M.V. era– remember them? More Than Ready is a successful stallion based in Kentucky (where else?) and, like Distant View, also has a reputation for producing juvenile winners.
Delving a little deeper still in the search for punting clues I can tell you that only 10 More Than Ready-sired two-year-olds have raced previously in Ireland and 6 of them managed to win a total of 9 races. Four managed to win at two and three of these collected first-time-out at odds of 11/2 (Oxx), 10/1 (Bolger) and 12/1 (Weld) so they appear capable of surprising connections based on SP. At $250,000 Diarist is, by far, the most expensive More Than Ready juvenile to appear in Ireland and he is with the right man.

More to follow....
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Report pa lapsy May 30, 2016 11:08 AM BST
They are "dark" alright, you are certainly starting at the beginning but all above seem to have potential.

I have mixed feelings with Confrontationals run.
In his favour a late foal(21st May),and very highly tried though against that
I didn't think he finished the race off well and his head was to the side in the latter part.

The only one from the race that was out since is the filly Hyzenthlay who 3L behind,she ran a fair race beaten 9L behind Cuff yesterday.

Both himself and Diarist are also entered in the Group 2 Railway Stakes (25th June),i'd imagine both will have a run before then.

You have set probably a realistic taget with Confrontational though i think that is very attainable, i think it was a "raw" performance and would like to see him finish better in an ordinary maiden.

As usual could be an interesting thread.
Report RoyalAcademy May 30, 2016 11:27 AM BST
The Railway is also an early Group 2 closer as you see pa and I will compare and contrast these entries with the Phoenix Stakes shortly. It will be interesting to see who has been relegated and promoted even at this early stage. I can't imagine Ballydoyle, for example, scratching (m)any or finding a new recruit, but you never know....

I'll try to follow them on here as they make their way in public.

Grand Coalition (Kodiac colt) J Murtagh (Michael Smurfit)

Securing exclusive deals with any owner is a risky business and Johnny Murtagh’s tie-up with Andrew Tinkler was always likely to end (prematurely) in tears. He secured a second placing for Tinkler in a mares' Group 1 event (she sold afterwards for £850,000) and won the long-distance stayers’ event at Ascot in autumn 2013 before winning the 2014 Ebor. Alas, this was not enough to secure his tenure and he fell foul of the impatience axe so beloved of newly-moneyed men. Consequently his winners didn’t hit double digits in 2015 and it was back to the drawing board for the current season in an effort to secure his future in the training ranks. I wish him well as he was always a good ambassador for the game and it’s encouraging to see his has still the support of owners such as Michael Smurfit and Al Qatar Racing.
Kodiac has been a star for Tally Ho stud and now stands at €45,000 – exactly 9 times his introductory fee in 2007. His stock is well regarded and much sought after and tend to be speedy two-year-olds. Grand Coalition cost €75,000 and is related to four winners and, coincidentally, the best of them was a 2009 full bother (Harry Trotter) who won 5 sprints for David Marnane and whose highest winning mark was 87. Tally Ho picked up the dam for just £7,500 from a Gainsborough clear out in 2005 and she is certainly paying her way now.
Grand Coalition ran a promising third on his debut in what looked a nice maiden – the soft ground wouldn’t have helped – and followed a victory for Murtagh’s first 2yo runner of the season. Things have tailed off a little since after that promising start but my strategy would be to get him handicapped for some of the decent sprint handicaps possibly eyeing the Birdcatcher later in the year given that we know already what is potentially capable of.

Hit The Bid (Exceed And Excel) Darren Bunyan (Straight To Victory Syndicate)

Hit The Bid won’t be winning this Group 1 but he may be capable of more than he has shown to date: sixth and seventh in Leopardstown and Curragh maidens respectively. There was significant money for him on his debut and he ran a nice race. In his last run was upped to Marble Hill class behind Carravaggio. Bunyan had surprised with the victory of Mister Trader at 25/1 in the very first maiden of the year so it was surely significant to see the money for Hit The Bid presuming he was showing up well against Mister Trader at home. (Mister Trader, is another relatively exposed entry for this race who ran second subsequently in the Marble Hill. Bunyan has a blog on the Tote website that is well put together). Hit The Bid has a nice pedigree with a classy, fast dam – she won 7f and 8f contests for Richard Hannon and retired rated 104 – and Bunyan has already shown he can campaign horses successfully with the multiple-winning Grey Danube. A half-brother winning maiden also won a 7f handicap for Alex Ferguson in 2013 off a mark of 75. The handicapping route looks the obvious option now.

The shrinking violet that is Ger Lyons has a trio of unraced and maiden colts entered. Lyons is a real bootstrapper and has had his eye firmly on the prize for some time now. He does really, really well with horses considered relatively inexpensive and I doubt he’s had many empty boxes over the past 5 years. Attracting the Qatari’s has been just a part of the success.

Imagine If (Dream Ahead) Ger Lyons (Vincent Gaul)

Gaul has been one of Glenburnie’s most loyal customers and enjoyed early success with An Tadh almost a decade ago. They certainly seem to seem to have a useful tool on their hands with Imagine If who was a well-fancied second on his debut at Navan in mid-May, Lyons’ local track. Sent off 5/2 with the winner he ran a very promising race and is sure to win his share of races. Out of a four-time winning sprinter (won off 83) by Holy Roman Emperor who is related to four winners including Dermot Weld’s 2014 7f Tetrarch winner Alkasser, this horse is potentially very smart. He is the dam’s second foal although her first Dark Angel colt was a relative €110,000 flop for Weld and Lambe.
My general impression is that the Lyons’ horses can be hard to get right and tend to attract a lot of market support (“I’ve no interest in betting!”) but I fancy you could support this horse at quiet a lofty level.

Lightening Fast (Frankel) Ger Lyons (Qatar Bloodstock)

What a pedigree and Lyons gets to train the first progeny from his first-ever Group 1 winner Lightening Pearl who won the 2011 Cheveley Park but failed to train on at three. There is little more to be said apart from a first season sire named Frankel! This was Lyons after the dam failed in the 2012 Ballyogan as reported in the Racing Post: Her trainer Ger Lyons believes the filly has failed to train on. He said: "Lightening Pearl has been retired. She is a Group 1 winner and owes us nothing. I'm delighted to have trained her and I hope her progeny are as good.” By far and away the best pedigree I have reviewed so far. I’ll probably now select a Ballydoyle unraced colt or two just so that I can continue drooling.

Noivado (Casamento) Ger Lyons (Sean Jones)

I suspect Jones is doing what many have tried and failed: making money from buying yearlings and selling them on as unexposed maiden winners to richer pastures. His trail of success, in tandem with Lyons the part-investor I suspect, has been impressive and many horses that raced in the blue and white Cavan GAA colours have been exported successfully to the Middle and Far East.
They’re back here again with a first season Casamento (by the peerless Shamardal) colt and as an investment of just £20,000 he already looks a potential bargain even before he struts his stuff in public. The sire has already been promoted to Dalham Hall from Kildangan and looks to have a likely type for Royal Ascot in Barrington from among his first few runners.
Noivado’s Rip Van Winkle’s half-brother has won a modest claimer for Richard Hannon whilst a 2011 gelding was rated in the 60’s. The Hawk Wing dam won 4 races from 7f-10f and was also a 60’s rated beast but she is a half-sister to Henry Cecil’s Chachamaidee who won the 2012 G1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and a 7f Group 3 winner for Brian Meehan so if Casamento can boost the mare Noivado will have a chance.

Son Of Rest (Pivotal colt) T Stack (B Parker)

I’m unfamiliar with this new owner in Thomastown but Tommy Stack is a good 2yo trainer and has a habit of hitting the net when one of them is fancied, usually at Headquarters when his renowned betting pals can get involved.
The dam won over 6f for Cheveley Park – home of the excellent Pivotal – and she’s a half-sister to 4 winners including two with black-type the best of whom was Redolent, a 2008 one-mile listed winner for Richard Hannon. Son Of Rest’s three half-siblings have been nothing to write home about to date so I think that the market will be the best indicator if Son Of Rest will improve her recent record.
Report pa lapsy June 1, 2016 11:14 AM BST
A nice list overall,most are well thought of to be entered up for one or more of Railway/Phoenix/National.

Hope you don't mind me adding in my tuppence worth,i find it an intersting thread and will at least chart either the failure or hopefully success of well thought types.

Grand Coalition is the only one with an entry this weekend.

A few of your later ones also have a run or two behind them;

Grand Coalition
Basically 3rd in a 3 horse race(5f yielding Curr) as Sebastion Bach was left,think your remark that it was "promising" is fair,though that winner had two runner up in Dundalk maidens the 2nd won a listed at Navan handily,thought on that run the extra furlong is the right choice and could well improve for that.

Imagine If
A striking looking horse i thought it was a very likeable run,agree there are races in him,slight worry though the form may not amount to much(winner not entered up and Sebastion Bach close up. Worth noting Lyons withdrew him on softer ground.

Hit The Bid
Know you playe this one down,agree they were two classy races still he was in the right place at the right time in Leopardstown,i thought it a very poor finish. The Curragh race gave us a "Dessie Special",ran no race out the back.maybe wasn't supposed to but to me has to show a bit more in future.
Report RoyalAcademy June 1, 2016 1:10 PM BST
It's good to have a second (and more) opinion pa. I usually run out of steam some time after I start these threads and have selected all that interest me at the time and come back in the autumn to tell everyone how profitable they were!

I looked at a few Bolger and Weld entries and feel that they may have some entries based on ownership expectations not necessarily ability and a few of the pedigrees didn't inspire. Weld, for example, gets any number of horses from Juddmonte every season and they are hard to predict based on past results. I'd rather have something too with a chance of being unexposed, ideally from a less fashionable yard.

What often occurs to me is that many of the Middle Eastern supporters of the industry are happy to breed, rear and race what might be regarded as comparatively "average" pedigrees and this does enormous service to the whole industry in Ireland, France, IK, USA and probably Australia. The main competition, on the other hand, are more focused.

My final thoughts on the Phoenix Stakes before moving to the Railway Stakes (G2)and National Stakes (G1):

Presidential (Invincible Spirit) Kevin Prendergast (John Tuthill)

I am intrigued by this colt as he must have had his share of issues before arriving in Prendergasts. He is a half-brother to no less than Dragon Pulse who was also bred by John Tuthill’s Owenstown Stud (from where his aunt, Averil Whitehead, bred Indian Ridge in 1985) and he was the 2011 Group 2 Futurity winner before running second to Power in that year’s National Stakes. He was packed off to stud in the Irish National Stud when he mostly failed to train on at three although he did win a French Group 3 that year. He has first crop runners this year also and has had a couple of winners from 12 representatives so far.

Presidential is out of a Croco Rouge mare, Poetical, who won over a mile and once ran second to the brilliant Alexander Goldrun in a Curragh Listed contest in 2001. She was bought as a maiden mare in 2006 by Owenstown and has produced 5 foals to date. Dragon Pulse has been the standout candidate whilst his full sister Sonnet is looking decidedly average for Charlie Hills. Two other foals never made it to the racecourse. Presidential was withdrawn from Goffs last autumn and was unsold at the late Tatts yearling sale which is very much an after-thought sale for those that either fail or don’t make the earlier, premier yearling sales. As he is by such a prolific sire we can only assume he’s had his problems. In truth, it will be remarkable if Prendergast can get something done with this colt but at least his strong pedigree gives him a chance although early thoughts of him being a serious Goffs “top lotter” from last year have long since evaporated.

Zihaam (Dutch Art colt) Kevin Prendergast (Hamdan Al Maktoum)

As everyone knows by now this owner has been remarkably loyal to KP and this loyalty paid off in spades recently with Awtaad’s win in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Prendergast has not really been a stable to follow with an average strike-rate of 9% for the previous 5 seasons and his recent Classic win comes on the back of training just this one winner from his last 17 runners! Not a bad exception to the losing rule.

Even before this success for Hamdan he had been given care of Zihaam which cost £170,000 at Tattersalls October Sale last autumn. It’s really hard to “get” this sales business at times and what makes Zihaam worth £170,000 is anyone’s guess as the dam’s first two foals by Rock Of Gibraltar and Medicean made £36,000 and £48,000 respectively and were decidedly average. Only the latter had gotten to the track prior to Zihaam’s sales date and he looked useless even as this colt came up for sale. The dam has a fair bit going for her as a full-sister to a 2004 Pretty Polly winner but the poor record of the first two foals is what catches my eye. It’s probably a good example of how international petro-dollars makes the world go around.

There wasn’t a lot of chat to my knowledge of the fact that Prendergast chose the Madrid handicap as the race to re-introduce Awtaad in 2016 and for a horse with two-stone in hand on the day the market did not scream about his chance. You’ll gather I’m not a big fan but I can see the joy the win brought to many people. I’ve written in the past about the fantastic pedigrees that have come Prendergast’s way from this ownership source in recent times but the results have been mostly disappointing given the material with which to work.

Winter (Galileo) David Wachman (Coolmore & Partners)

Wachman has won this race in 2004 with the filly Damson and three years ago with Sudirman for the same connections. Winter was well-fancied on her debut at Naas in early May and ran as if she has plenty of ability finishing a green-looking third to Ballydoyle’s Cuff who subsequently won the Rochestown Stakes back at Naas and heads for the Albany at Ascot.

The dam of this filly, Laddies Poker Two, is so uncharacteristically “Coolmore” that it reminds me of The Gurkha and how Mrs John Magnier must recoil in horror every time this very ordinary name for a blue-blood is mentioned. He doesn’t strike as a class name that would leave a mark on the breed but who knows? If he doesn’t run at Epsom next week we  will now know why!

Despite her name the dam is very interesting especially as she is by Royal Ascot winning sprinter Choisir. She threatened to be a decent mare – owned initially by the Mike Dillon organisation - in a career that saw her race only 4 times as a three-year-old winning a handicap off a mark of 91. She was then sold at the Tattersalls December Sale in 2008, presumably as a broodmare prospect and was bought by one of the Coolmore lieutenants for £100,000. However it seems an alternative plan was hatched by Mike Dillon to target the Wokingham as a long term gambling plan and it took this very delicate filly 610 days to have her next and very final outing. She landed a massive gamble in the 2010 Wokingham and was one of Jeremy Noseda’s finest training performances. Plans to run her again came to nought and she eventually retired to the paddock. She ran in the ownership of the Three Wise Men (Smith/Magnier/Tabor) although my guess is she remains in the ownership of a more assorted bunch of breeders.

Winter is the dam’s second foal – her first foal, a full-brother to Winter by Galileo, never got to the track for Roger Varian and Paul Smith – and she certainly has a good story to tell about her mother. In my experience Wachman certainly doesn’t overwork his juveniles at home and a promising debut run is usually a harbinger of good things to come. It’s interesting to see a sprinter being covered by a sire like Galileo and we’ll have to wait and see what the end result will be. It’s a coincidence that her conqueror at Naas, Cuff, is also by Galileo has started his career in sprints. I’d love to see Winter head to Ascot next as an examination of her first run is full of promise. There’s little doubt Wachman’s best successes have come from fillies and juvenile form seems to be in the ascendancy with them.
Report pa lapsy June 1, 2016 2:55 PM BST
I think i see where you are going and if done and followed through you would be along the same lines as Garry O'Gorman(if he still is) come mid September. The thread could easily be a very good guide to the juveniles of '16.

Bit daunting to reply to the calibre of your posts but the main drawback at the moment is simply lack of runs amongst the selections, quite sure once that happens it is a lot easier to debate/discuss the relative merits or otherwise with the above.
Report pa lapsy June 4, 2016 4:25 PM BST
Grin First runner,first winner.

Sadly went unbacked by myself.
Report DeargDubh June 5, 2016 11:56 AM BST
Great post RA. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy hearing someone else's thinking.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan June 5, 2016 1:36 PM BST
Grand Coalition ran a promising third on his debut in what looked a nice maiden – the soft ground wouldn’t have helped – and followed a victory for Murtagh’s first 2yo runner of the season. Things have tailed off a little since after that promising start but my strategy would be to get him handicapped for some of the decent sprint handicaps possibly eyeing the Birdcatcher later in the year given that we know already what is potentially capable of.

"I thought he was beat going past the line first time but when I had a look on the big screen I was fairly confident," said Johnny Murtagh after his once-raced Grand Coalition took the opening Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden at the Curragh. Connor King did the steering on the course third placer from early May and the 7/2 chance made all and held off Intelligence Cross by a head.
"It's a great win for him. He had a good run first time and Pat Smullen said he wanted six furlongs on fast ground. The run under his belt was a real help," added Murtagh. "We'll bring him and have a go at the Coventry now.
"He was quick out of the gates and has been a quick learner from day one. He's very professional which is typical of the sire (Kodiac) and showed battling qualities today. "Conor said he'll improve a lot from the run again. I'm delighted for the owner (Anthony Paul Smurfit, Dr Michael Smurfit & Samuel M Mencoff) and his son."
Report RoyalAcademy June 11, 2016 5:29 PM BST
Railway Stakes – Group 2
Entries for this 25 June event closed on 18 May last and there are just a handful of entries that are not already entered for the Phoenix Stakes that attract my interest in an effort to discern the trainer’s opinions and intentions. There is a supplementary stage on the 21 June costing €11,500 to compete for a first prize of €69,000.

Andy Oliver has entered two and both were unraced at the time of entry. Both have run since and have a way to go to justify a fancy Group 2 entry but my memory of a similar entry by Oliver in 2013 is firmly in my mind. He entered the Team Valor-owned Panama Hat for fancy juvenile races that year and the horse ran 5 times in his two-year-old season without looking of much account. However, off a lowly mark of 60 as a 3yo he went handicapping and won no less than five-in-a-row in summer 2014 when he was cut, upped in distance and ended his career with 7 victories in all and a career high mark of 111. This was a decent training performance in any book and some hint was given to the punting public at large early on.

Big Ego (Helmet colt) A Oliver (A Oliver ownership)

This horse has had two recent runs and is going in the right direction. He’s a first foal out of a Teofilo mare who won over 8f and 12f and was rated 82 at best and the family is decent tracing back to some American winners. He doesn’t look expensive at €15,000 and is by yet another first-season sire, Helmet (by Exceed And Excel) who is doing well so far with five winners of six races. Helmet stands at Dalham Hall where I’m hoping to visit in July for the first time for the parade of the Darley stallions when I take in the Newmarket July meeting.

Billy Big (Royal Applause colt) A Oliver (C Boyd)

Tara Stud’s Derek Iceton bought into a Lord Vestey/Stowell Hill Stud family when he gave £20,000 for the broodmare prospect Nutkin in 2009. She is a half-sister to 9 winners of 38 races including 4 black-type performers from 6f-8f. From five foals to sell so far from Nutkin at public auction Eddie Lynam bought the 2010 Kyllachy sprinting filly Gathering Power for just €20,000 and she has been performing well at Group 3 and Listed level. Billy Big was acquired by Oliver for €30,000 and one can anticipate that this colt will be best at trips of less than a mile. A 2015 Lethal Force foal made a whopping €135,000 last autumn at Goffs and one wonders if this is the usual new stallion syndrome gone mad.

Billy Big has had a first spin at Navan in late May and ran a very much progressive subsequent race behind our nomination, Grand Coalition, at the Curragh last weekend. I would like to undertake a study of how Oliver performs with his juveniles in general and this would be a necessary step to predict when they might fire. The evidence of the three horses in his care mentioned suggests they are campaigned progressively. Time permitting I’ll be crunching the data on my database before either of these races again.

Glenamoy Lad (Royal Applause) Ken Condon (Anotherhealymacs Syndicate)

A common theme in my analysis of juveniles trained by those outside the traditional leading trainers is trying to figure out how the horses are trained and when one could expect them to win. Here’s a case in point:

Ken Condon has trained just 4 winning 2yo debutants since 2003 giving a massive loss on his 98 starters as one might expect. Having spent the best part of the afternoon studying this relatively small sample all I can tell you is that if they start at a short-ish price (< 10/1 S.P.)  at a decent venue then pay the closest attention to this fact. Condon two-year-olds do not usually run better than their S.P. This could be the most valuable piece of evidence-based research I have included in my “dark horse” research so far.

Glenamoy Lad started at 5/2 to win at Tipperary and he is the shortest-priced debutant ever trained by Condon who has a 44% hit-rate with such runners. Of 4 previous shorties that failed to win at their first effort two could be discarded as they ran at Class 4 tracks the other two won on their next and second-next starts at 2/1 and9/2. His ROI at SP is a massive 200% on just 4 winners. His only previous Grade One track debutant who surprised connections with a run way above expectations was Norman Invader who eventually won a Group 3 at 14/1.

A curious fact about Glenamoy Lad is that he appears to have been pinhooked by Con Marnane – he turned a £44,000 profit on him – and Condon obviously rates him highly.

Jack Flash (Dark Angel) Ger Lyons (Qatar Racing)

This fellow also ran in Grand Coalition’s winning race and started 3/1F presumably on the basis of his fancy Railway Stakes entry. This may turn out to be a decent maiden and suggested to me Billy Big will be up to winning soon. Colin Keane was not overhard on Jack Flash when he faded one furlong from home and he’s definitely likely to win his share of races, possibly at a decent level.

This was the posting from Lyons’ blog last weekend: JACK FLASH runs in the two year old maiden and I would expect him to run well and improve as usual for one of mine having their first start. For me he's typical of his sire Dark Angel and should get better through the summer with more time.

He’s out of a cheaply-bought winning sprinter who was subsequently sold in foal to Dark Angel carrying Jack Flash for €120,000 giving a near six-time return on investment. Jack Flash himself encouraged David Redvers to part with €135,000 of Sheikh Fahd’s money. I’m not of the view that Lyons would waste anyone’s money unless the horse was showing clear signs of ability at home at the time of entry.
Report RoyalAcademy June 13, 2016 1:32 PM BST
Andy Oliver runs Billy Big in tonight's maiden at Roscommon for his third start.

Since 2008 he's had six runners at the course that were having their third start and the sequence of results was W 9/2, L 66/1, W 2/1, L 8/1, W 6/1 and L 20/1 so clearly his horses deliver here when "expected". He's 2/1 from 7/2 today.
Report pa lapsy June 25, 2016 11:44 AM BST
It looks a very tough Railway to try and solve to me and probably just best to watch.

King Electric got the run of the race at the Curragh in May and think Peace Envoy will reverse that but there ought not to be a lot in it. Lyons other runner Medicine Jack appears in the first colours,can't fault the style of his Navan win and on a line through Lundy,i don't think there is a lot between the three mentioned.
Very hard to guage the English raider though doubt it is up to Group 2 albeit not a very strong looking one.
I won,t totally dismiss Mirdif/Glenamoy Lad.
Was quite taken with the manner of War Decrees debut and if a gun was put to the head would have been an ew pick but maybe for the best that is a NR.
All in all a head spinner to me.

Very nice debut yesterday from Sea of Grace who you mentione above,i think that was a very strong race,you have to forgive Bean Feasa but no surprise if a few end up in Newmarket next year from the race.
Report pa lapsy June 25, 2016 2:58 PM BST
Not an ideal draw but 6/4 a place on Imagine If (also mentioned above) seems a better play than O' Briens fav in the opener.
Report RoyalAcademy June 28, 2016 6:28 PM BST
There's been some action from my selections in past few weeks:

Grand Coalition: won on his next start (7/2) but hasn't proven to be up to G2 level-unplaced in Coventry & Railway. From a betting perspective he's unattractive now.

Sea Of Grace: Oxx usually has his first 2yo's fairly sharp and this lad ran well on debut (10/1) in Curragh maiden. Certainly looks good enough at this stage.

Imagine If: fifth on only subsequent run in a Curragh maiden (7/1); he was only beaten narrowly at Navan earlier and the winner ran well in the Windsor Castle. Sprinting probably his game and it's possible the ground on most recent run was unsuitable. Drop back to 5?

Confrontational: John Murphy sent him to Down Royal and he was backed in the morning (12/1) and scored at 5/1. Job done presumably; I wonder what Down Royal-winning 2yo maidens are making?

Noivado: ran well enough at the weekend on only subsequent start. I loved his show of class (serious gear change) mid-race although I'm a bit concerned about the sire Casamento.

Big Ego: progressing okay and should be a run away from a winnable mark.

Billy Big: my "killer stat" as advertised above certainly killed me and he owes me. Third at Roscommon and only the unraced newcomer was really better than him. Its funny but I can't have horses trained by the pinhooker who failed to get them sold because that just doesn't add up. Slattery won't care as his €16,000 investment gives him a possible exponential tax-free gain.

Glenamoy Lad: my research suggested this Condon 2yo was well-thought of and I am pretty sure I'm right. Last place in the Railway will not daunt me if he is well placed next couple of outings when the market will probably ignore him.

Jack Flash: second (2/1) behind Confrontational at Down Royal only subsequent start. Where will Lyons dispatch him next?
Report pa lapsy June 29, 2016 11:14 AM BST
Jack Flash missed an open goal by not taking up tomorrows maiden at Bellewstown.
Very likeable run at Down Royal.
That race also unearthed a dark horse for me in Hueston,slow away,wide turning in but ran on to be not beaten far. Trainer hasn't a flat winner since time began but think this one will break it. Entered at Naas on Sunday in what looks a fair maiden,i don't know what to hope for,almost certainly a watch if it runs but a mid field run ought to give him a great mark in a poor nursery down the line.

Impressed as said above with Sea Of Grace like yourself,no surprise if she ends up very near the top if not top of you list at years end. A very hopeful one for the maligned Mr Oxx.

I backed Imagine If for a place during the weekend,it was a case of going temporary deaf when the the voice in the head was warning me, i thought the debut was enough. What happened was he joined the others on the near side,lost a bit of ground doing so and just plugged on,i don't think it was given too hard a race.
The initial thought is correct it will get a race and you may be right with the drop to 5f,i'm getting a seed of suspicion that he may travel very well but find little all the same.

Looks a very quiet week for runners.
Report RoyalAcademy July 2, 2016 7:24 PM BST
National Stakes (Group 1) 7 furlongs (11 Sept 2016)

The colts step up to 7f for this event and entries closed on 25 May last. As expected Ballydoyle have just over one-third of the 90 field of entries (31) and Joseph is responsible for 4 of which just one is currently unraced-this horse is Arcada whom I do not intend to nominate although his recent run (his second) suggested he was well-thought of at home attracting morning money. A dozen of Aidan O’Brien’s entries were entered neither in the earlier Railway nor Phoenix Stakes and these are all worth a look.

Only two colts that are presently unraced have entries in all three contests and one of these hails from Ballydoyle – Lancaster Bomber -  and the second, Noivado, was nominated amongst my earlier “dark horses”.

It costs €3,500 to run in the Irish 2yo “National” with a second entry stage costing €8,750 in August. Thereafter, between August and September if your horse has unexpectedly sprouted the wings of Pegasus it will cost €35,000 to run for a first prize of €203,000 and I imagine serious questions would be asked of one’s handler as you’re signing the cheque to HRI.

The horses entered from somewhat humbler current abodes are:

A Place Apart (Power) Ken Condon (Centennial partnership) Unraced

This foal, bred by a Coolmore satellite, made €40,000 as a pinhooker but the expected dividend from Coolmore’s most high-profile first-season sire, Power, failed to deliver when he only fetched €24,000 in the same Goffs ring 12 months later. It may be a bargain as Power is doing well and all the Power vested-interest parties will hope that Ballydoyle’s Peace Envoy will do for the stallion what is on everyone’s wishlist: a win at Royal Ascot as a juvenile, most likely in the Norfolk Stakes. (Update: Peace Envoy has since finished 4th in the Norfolk and second in the Railway Stakes)

A Place Apart was bred by Coolmore’s Paul Shanahan (Lynch Bages) who acquired the Niarchos mare – she traces back to Machiavellian - in 2008 and from her first three Danehill Dancer  covers she produced two-time juvenile winner Vault (over 6f & 7f for Aidan O’Brien) and the Tommy Stack-trained Waltzing Matilda who won a New York Grade 2 10f event at four. These are very strong lines to follow and if Power proves to be a hit at stud this colt will have every chance. Bear in mind my earlier advice regarding Condon and his two-year-olds i.e. follow the money.


Succeeding (Famous Name) Ken Condon (Robert Ng) Unraced


Robert Ng is a mega-wealthy Hong Kong property tycoon (remember those?) who has increased his horses in training in the UK and Ireland over the past 5 years or so. Paul Deegan (Sruthan) and Ken Condon are charged with training the Irish-based horses. Condon has given Ng his best days yet with his home-bred Success Days who won a couple of Derby Trials on soft ground last season and who remains in training in 2016. Success Days deserves a break and it would be good to see him win a decent pot this season after things went awry following a £75,000 supplementary entry for last year’s Derby in which he finished last and injured himself on unsuitably fast ground.

The dam cost Ng just €20,000 as a yearling in 2002 and she won three sprints for him and was listed-placed including the 2003 Albany Stakes (6f) at Royal Ascot. Succeeding is her 5th foal and he happens to be a half-brother to Success Days and is by yet another first crop sire in Famous Name who had a virtual monopoly on winning at Leopardstown in his day but has yet to sire a winner from just three runners. Condon may have learned his lesson regarding the non-entry of potential stars in Group 1’s!


Act Of Valour (Harbour Watch) Michael O’Callaghan (Qatar Racing) Unraced

David Redvers gave £75,000 for Act Of Valour on behalf of Qatar Racing at last October’s Tattersalls October yearling sale. He’s by the 2011 Richmond Stakes (Group 2 for 2yo’s) winner Harbour Watch who is yet another first crop sire and he stands at Redvers’ own Tweenhills Farm in Gloucestershire. Qatar Racing bought a half-share in Harbour Watch who was 2012 ante-post favourite for the Guineas at one point but he retired injured before ever racing for them. Act Of Valour is a half-brother to three winners the best of whom was the Richard Hannon-trained Cricklewood Green who was a 7f specialist (4 wins) and was rated 83 at best.

Now here’s a curious thing. Act Of Valour’s dam, B Berry Brandy, a US-bred mare by a Seattle Slew sire, switched over to the UK in recent years and she came up for sale as a 13yo at Tatts December Sale last December. She was in foal to Al Thani’s 2014 Group One QEII champion Charm Spirit who stood at Redvers’ Tweenhills in 2015 at a fee of £25,000. She only made £25,000 and the purchaser was none other than one D Redvers. As the only two yearlings fom this mare to sell at public auction fetched a combined £225,000 this sales stat is certainly an oddity, especially given the price fetched by her 2015 yearling.

O’Callaghan has gone from owner-training a handful of two-year-olds in 2012 and 2013 to selling on his winners to the Qatari’s with Letters of Note – subsequently won a Listed fillies’ event - and Blue De Vega – 2nd in Tetrarch and 3rd in Irish Guineas - being notable purchases by them who left the horses in the yard to good effect. He is now benefitting from being on their yearling roster and his results for these owners to date suggest he should be capable of getting the best out of Act Of Valour, his only two-year-old entered in a Group One to date.


Glastonbury Song (Casamento) Ger Lyons (Sean Jones)

This colt cost just €31,000 and gets a single entry in this 7f event. A third foal, his older half-sibling by “The Rock” managed to just win two 9f Wolverhampton  handicaps off 50 and 53 whilst a 2013 filly (by Royal Applause) is a similarly-rated maiden handicapper who has won £746 in 10 outings. You’d have to say this entry looks optimistic but the partnership are lucky and the entry definitely suggests ability and perhaps he wins at decent odds somewhat unexpectedly some day against more salubriously-bred rivals. Lyons also has the unraced Noivado – entered in all three juvenile Group contests – by the same sire and they’ll be hoping, now that Barrington isn’t running, that Hannon’s Devil’s Bridge gives the sire a boost in Saturday’s 7f Chesham. (Update: Noivado is progressing well in two runs whilst Devil’s Bridge never made it to Ascot. At the time of writing Noivado was the only unraced non-Ballydoyle 2yo entered in all three juvenile contests so I am still hoping he will be profitable to follow ).

Jessica Harrington had no entry for either the Phoenix or Railway Stakes but she has three entries no less for the National. All are worth a mention:

Grandee (Lope De Vega) Jessica Harrington (Mill House LLC) 6

From what I can gather Mill House LLC is a racing name for the operation of the former US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady who has quietly taken an interest in some expensive yearlings – he regularly gets the BBA to fill his orders for over one hundred thousand – that have been trained by John Oxx, David Wachman and Jessica Harrington. He’s had a few winners but a good horse, so far, has been hard to come by. If I am incorrect in my research then it’s possible Roman Abramovich may be an owner in Ireland as this name is also associated with one of his investment vehicles!

Grandee cost £110,000 at Tattersalls and he’s a brother to a recent one-mile maiden winner at Leicster for Chappel-Hyam and Fitri Hay. Interestingly, a half-brother by Hurricane Run was also trained by Harrington to win a 14f Leopardstown handicap off 77 in 2013 and a recent 2m maiden hurdle at Tipperary after a spell on the sidelines. The maiden dam was average but a Sadler’s Wells half-sister won Group 3’s over 12f and 16f. Everything about this pedigree suggests stamina will be Grandee’s strong suit and he also has an early entry for Epsom 2017.

He ran in the recent Curragh maiden won by Alexios Komnenos and a sixth placing was respectable.

Head Monitor (Archipenko) Jessica Harrington (Mill House LLC)
Another “one hundred grander” (€115,000 actually!) but I just notice that this horse unfortunately met an early demise and is gone to the great paddock in the sky.

John Honeyman (Dark Angel) Jessica Harrington (Mill House LLC) Unraced

Mill House, via the BBA, spent £120,000 on this purchase from one of Ireland’s shrewdest pinhookers, JC Bloodstock, based in Co. Laois. He’s a half-brother to a modest 7f Italian winner out of an Invincible Spirit dam who won over 7f and is a half-sister to Caradak who won a Group One, also over 7f, for Bin Suroor at Longchamps in 2006 after John Oxx had previously bagged four black-type events with her. Wikipedia relates that John Honeyman was an Irishman  who “was supposedly an American spy and British informant for George Washington, primarily responsible for spreading disinformation and gathering the intelligence crucial to Washington's victory in the Battle of Trenton”.

It’s probably similar disinformation to suggest this colt will win the National Stakes but Harrington is well capable of getting the best out of whatever he has to offer and Mr Brady deserves a change of fortune for a very large investment in Irish-breds. His purchase price is presumably all about the sire whose fee has increased by 750% since 2011 and now commands €60,000 no foal/no fee.

Footnote: The only unraced triple-entry remains Lancaster Bomber (War Front colt) trained in Ballydoyle who is a half-brother to Excelebration. Coolmore retrieved the mare from India 2011 just after they bought the racehorse and as I am unaware of any 2013 progeny this is the first runner out of the dam for her new connections.
Report The Gotchee July 2, 2016 9:13 PM BST
This is a proper racing thread. Keep up the good work RA
Report RoyalAcademy July 3, 2016 11:04 PM BST
Miscellany:

This is a wander through selected stakes’ races searching for unusual or interesting entries.

Irisk Oaks (Group One) 1m4f - The Curragh (16 July 2016)

Of 47 remaining entries for this middle-distance classic Dermot Weld trains the only two unraced fillies in the field and both possess pedigrees that suggest they were bred for this job:

Mounira (2013 Raven’Pass filly) D K Weld (H H Aga Khan)

As one would expect from this source she is out of a generations-old Aga Khan line. Her fourth dam was by the great Vaguely Noble and her daughter, Mamoura (by Lomond), won two middle distance races for John Oxx back in the early nineties whilst four of her half-siblings to race were all winners. Mamoura bred Mouramara (by Kahyasi) who won the 12f G2 Prix Royallieu at Longchamps in 2000 – again for John Oxx after the much-publicised withdrawal of the Aga Kan’s horses from Britain in 2000 -  and she has bred six previous foals prior to Mounira and all bar won got the track and all won races. Mounira’s best siblings are Mourilyan and Mourayan – the names, I know! – whose best wins came in a 1m6f Listed event at Goodwood for Gary Moore and a 2m Group 1 Australian handicap respectively.  “Stout” would hardly do justice to the stamina-laden family and it will be interesting to see her progress if she ever gets to the track.

Fawz (2013 Medaglio D’Oro filly) D K Weld (Hamdan Al Maktoum)

In a previous life I played a small bit part in the leasing of a filly named Wind In Her Hair (1991 by Alzao) to Lambourn-based John Hills and this filly subsequently bred possibly the world’s greatest stallion, the imperious Deep Impact. For some reason, breeding rights in the stallion never filtered back down the line to me! Fawz is from the Queen’s Highclere line – winner of the 1974 1000 Guineas - who bred Height Of Fashion, the champion 2yo filly of 1981 and who was subsequently acquired by Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Shadwell operation. It’s fair to say this dam line has been, by far, easily the most dominant and successful influence in the Shadwell Stud breeding shed, responsible for numerous champions over the years including Nashwan, Nayef and Unfuwain. Incidentally, Wind In Her Hair was out of a three-parts sister to Height Of Fashion.

Fawz is out of Breeders Cup Filly & Mare winner – she’s the fourth foal - and her second dam is a granddaughter of Height Of Fashion. Dermot Weld gets his first shot at training this line as John Hammond trained a 10f Listed winning half-sister and Kiaran McLaughlin trained another half-sister to win twice in the US last year. This is an impeccable pedigree that has yet to appear in public but she retains her Oaks’ entry.


Brownstown Stakes (Group 3) Fairyhouse 10 July 2016 (for 3yo+)

I’m a little slow out of the starting gates posting my note on Molly Dolly whom I spotted some weeks ago having an early entry for this stake and she has subsequently finished second in a valuable Curragh handicap at 25/1. She’s handled by a very shrewd operator (landed some decent touches in the past but the horses invariably run honestly) and this 4yo Exceed And Excel filly was transferred from Mark Prescott to Bill Farrell just this year. She won twice in 2015 for Prescott over an extended 7f before appearing not to train on but Farrell seems to be getting a decent tune from her at present. One might have thought that a close third in a one-mile Ascot Listed event possibly ruined her handicapping aspirations – she was rated 99 thereafter – but she ran a cracker here under 10-00 off a mark of 94. Farrell has a good record training winners for owner Timothy Rooney whose family own American football team the Pittsburgh Steelers and his brother Dan is a former US Ambassador to Ireland.

Farrell bought the modestly-rated maiden dam in foal to Dr Fong for €28,000 in November 2009 and her subsequent colt was a winner over 7f at two for Alan Swinbank. Molly Dolly is her second foal whilst a 3yo unraced Pour Moi filly is back with Swinbank. Farrell only ever handles a handful of racehorses but his record is pretty decent. He runs most of his horses at the Curragh (6% success) but his stats at Leopardstown Naas and Dundalk are far better with a combined strike-rate of a very impressive 25% over the past 5 years and it’s even better if you follow his older (>3) horses only. I recall nominating his Ramone some years ago on a similar thread and she collected the G3 Park Express Stakes in 2015 at 100/1!

John Murphy also has the very unexposed World Of Good (2013 Danehill Dancer filly) entered for this 7f event. She’s only run twice, has started at 40/1 and 100/1 and, so far, has a modest mid-60’s Racing Post rating. Murphy, as ever, is having his few winners off a very low strike-rate but World Of Good’s most recent start is interesting: she was beaten 3.75L in a one-mile Killarney contest but losing to Long Island Sound (third at Ascot behind subsequent Eclipse winner Hawkbill) and Elusive Heights (subsequently ran very well off 95 in a Curragh Premier Handicap-brought down when challenging) was no disgrace and adds some lustre to Murphy’s apparent optimistic entry.
She is the first foal of a 2008 Rahy mare who was unplaced in France but is a half-sister to a plethora of horses who scored over distances from 8f-12f including three black-type winners and her dam is Shadwell’s 1994 Irish 1000 Guineas winner, Mehthaaf,whose own second dam is the legendary American mare Fall Aspen who is to US racing what Fairy Bridge – dam of Sadler’s Wells - is to racing on this side of the pond.

I was intrigued to see Prunella Dobbs run her Lope De Vega filly Gallope in the 12f G3 Munster Oaks at Cork (yielding) last month although she possibly ran as well as could be expected in finishing 12L 7/9 behind Ballydoyle’s Pretty Perfect. She does need to get her toe in a little and she had previously scored at the same venue in 2015 when winning over an extended mile twelve months earlier. She was a bargain basement buy for her owner for a filly whose sire commands €45,000 these days, out of an unraced Kalanisi dam who is a half-sister to the dam of three G1 winners for the Aga Khan so, unsurprisingly, staying should be her forte.
Mrs Dobbs has been having a quiet time of it in recent seasons and Gallope proved to be her sole winner in 2015 and she is of the opinion she’s probably the best horse she has handled. It’s a little unfortunate that she picked up an extra 2lbs for her recent stakes run but she is now rated 82-down 3lbs from her peak. She has run very well in two Curragh handicaps off marks of 80 and 81and it was no disgrace to lose to Champage Or Water in 2015 and from her recent placing at HQ in April she finished in front of Papa’s Way and Vintage Charm who have both scored in the interim. Gallope could very easily win one of these valuable handicaps on ground a little less than good.

Frank Dunne has made a couple of what can only be described as speculative entries for his 79-rated 5yo Cape Cross filly, Secret Splendour, in both the Meld Stakes (G3) and the Kilboy Estate Stakes (G2) to be run at Leopardstown and the Curragh later this month. She’s a home-bred out of a once-raced mare who cost Dunne and Anne Marshall £370,000 at the Newmaket Breeze-Up sale in 2007. Unsurprisingly, the pedigree is decent with the dam being a half-sister to Godolphin’s very good 2yo Layman – flopped at stud - whose own second dam was Sheikh Mohammed’s 1989 Irish Oaks winner Alydaress. Dunne sold an earlier Invincible Spirit colt out of the dam – fetched £280,000 – who won on his debut for Shadwell but seemed to disappoint thereafter. A 2012 colt (by Lawman) sold for £110,000, won his Newmarket maiden on his second start but again appeared to be  a trifle disappointing latterly and never lived up to early promise.
Clearly this filly has been retained to perpetuate the line and has been very lightly raced with single appearances at three and four and three runs so far this season at five. She has two decent runs in the locker both over 10f at the Curragh on soft ground and looks capable of winning races of some description. Whether or not she is stakes class remains a mystery but at least the entries suggest 79 is not a burdensome mark. Dunne really only dabbles at this racing game but can usually be relied upon to get the odd victory into his charges. A 10% strike-rate over the past 6/7 years tells its own tale.
Report RoyalAcademy July 5, 2016 1:30 PM BST
There's lots of lads here who would teach me a thing or two about betting and such thoughts were in my mind as I agonised over whether or not to back Born To Be yesterday on his debut at Roscommon. He was a very attractive 10/1 shot and my stats told me Oxx had a very good 46%/67% win/place record with his Rossie youngsters over a long period. In the end I kept my powder dry because I suffer from greed: I can't have a small bet for "interest" because I want to celebrate every winner with a decent stack!

His lack of market support didn't stop Oxx training 2yo winners here in the past so I think I just bottled it. He ran a decent race I thought: very keen early on and getting a bump but he was on the premises a furlong down and ran around a bit and I was on bad terms with myself. However he faded near the line and coasted home in fifth. The soft ground was definitely a negative but Born To Sea has yet to sire a winner in these islands with three placed runs from 21 starts. Predicting his trip will be educated guesswork but maybe Oxx will train the first winner from his former charge.

Prunnella de Ville pulled out Gallope from the Listed race where she was due to be visored for the first time. The small irony of Oxx training the winner wasn't lost on me. If she could somehow drop a couple of pounds before taking in another handicap it would be delightful.
Report neill d July 5, 2016 5:25 PM BST
Top thread, read it from start to finish at break today.
Report pa lapsy July 10, 2016 11:15 AM BST
It looks a winnable race for Noivado today, Ger for him is at the upper optimism level on facebook and even admits the 7f was a mistake last time.
Not the strongest of races,i think at double figure prices Mayleaf Shine could give him most to do, her form lines with Sebastian Bach,Roly Poly and Giselles Charm would make her very dangerous,still as you said Noivados move 3f out at the Curragh was quite eyecatching, can see a much more delayed challenge this afternoon.

Good performance from Sea of Grace yesterday though the runner ups ride detracted from it, Declan's post race quote of she was idling in front gives hope she could still be very top drawer.
Report ParkExpress July 10, 2016 9:00 PM BST
Noivado....nice call Pa; Excited
Report pa lapsy July 10, 2016 9:17 PM BST
Royal Academy threw out a blank canvas and a load of paint Park Express, his thread is getting a few winners now.
Hope he had a good bet himself today,i'd be surprised if he didn't.
Report pa lapsy July 13, 2016 11:51 PM BST
Though Jack Flash has his ground tomorrow i think he is a bit misfortunate to come up against Sportsmanship again,i thought it was an emphatic 2L on debut.
Both improved next time,the tenious line of Hueston would say Sportsmanship has fractionally done better.
Bare bones of Courage Under Fire isn't good enough but it is the 2nd run usually with the stable,on very early markets he is positive,Sebastian Bach looks beatable altough that looked a strong Curragh maiden.
Think for me anyway Jack Flash is a swerve tomorrow,maybe net time? he seems to have his work cut out against Sportmanship and a big question mark with his other stable runner on top of that.
Report RoyalAcademy July 14, 2016 4:48 PM BST
Presidential also makes his debut in Jack Flash's race and I hope Big Ego doesn't run too prominently in the following auction maiden. I thought Gallope ran well enough in Killarney in a first time visor and her 2lb penalty for finishing 7th in a G3 last time. She possibly keeps a bit to herself and ideally will drop a few pounds if she runs on summer ground. She likes some give. I wonder did she down tools a bit or did she just not stay as she was going sweetly two out.
Report pa lapsy July 14, 2016 10:23 PM BST
14th Jul

Jack Flash
Disappointing run,looked quite one paced, even though the eventual winner was fairly keen'the distance between them grew from the last time considerably despite Sportsmanship being keen enough early. Weak on the exchanges most of the day (9+ though late support for an of sp7/2). I'd say Ger was sorry he didn't let him take his chance at Bellewstown, a good ground maiden at Sligo/Ballinrobe or such might be next.
Presidential
It wasn't a bad debut,i;d like to see another run.
Without trying to state the obvious i was impressed with Sportsmanship in the race as if he didn't really settle there,also with the runner up Courage Under Fire who will surely be over 7f next time.

Gallope.
Maybe she doesn't stay? Pat was easy on her in any case and it was a classy race(i wonder was Higgins there? he has a decent one and probably better again over 1m 6f) Hard to know what to make of her but think her mark is high enough on bare form.






Big Ego.
Not sure what to make of it,he did stay on after being ridden early,looks sure to get a decent mark and maybe 1m2f is right?
The race probably unearthed a short priced Galway maiden winner for Weld in Right Honourable.
Report pa lapsy July 16, 2016 10:19 AM BST
Lightening Fast.
Some pedigree indeed RA, (Frankel-Lightening Pearl).

Ger Lyons "Not overly big but straight forward to train from day 1,loves his work and i would like to think he has a bright future."

For a Curragh maiden this doesn't look the strongest,of the unraced ones O Briens Lancaster Bomber and Capri at this stage don't look fancied being in double figures, same applies to Micheal O' Callaghans charge Beast.

Of those with form Arcada(2/1) had Taj Mahal(6/1) almost 6L behind in June 26th maiden,even allowing for O'Briens improving on their 2nd run i,m not sure Taj Mahal will turn it around,Arcada plugged on well enough but that was it,he looks very beatable.

I can't remember the last time i backed an unraced horse but made an exxception today with this one at 7/4 mainly on the basis if he is half as good as the hype/breeding he is up against very beatable ones that have raced so far.
Report dj876 July 16, 2016 11:38 AM BST
Backing juvenile debutantes at short prices based on a trainer's facebook post is the equivalent of playing roulette.

ie result is irrelevant s the method is laughable, completely in the dark but take a punt anyway.
Report pa lapsy July 16, 2016 12:00 PM BST
As said i can't remember the last time i did.

Of course there is a lot of chance as you say but,

Taj Mahal,joint fav ran an absolute stinker last time when fancied, that may or not be his true level,i certainly couldn't back him on that. Arcada only plugged on.The other few that ran have no form.

I think you are left with the debutantes, Frankel's prodengy so far is 4 from 4, very early days but possible that like his unrivalled success on the course it is also likely that ability is getting transfered.

Without reading too much of course into anyones blog,i thought they were positive yet a bit nervous.
I did think long and hard about it,a modest enough bet and if beat i'd be the first to say i deserved that,i also thought at 7/4 it is worth a chance in a very ordinary looking field to me anyway.
Report Rocketfingers July 16, 2016 12:15 PM BST
Win lose or draw Pa you are bonkers for betting a horse just because what the trainer said on twitter as well as that you posted your message at 10:19 you can't say for any level of certitude that the raced horses are not fancied or they won't contract in price by race time as you seem suggest they will start at current prices.
Report pa lapsy July 16, 2016 12:28 PM BST
Read my last post slowly Rocket,you are only reading what you want to read and then trying to twist it to what you want.

Recapping as simply as i can for you,
My impression is those with form are poor and the newcomers looked weak.


I've nothing further to say on here,the OP made an effort to make a decent thread, i,ve tried to add to it by rather than post race comments and add something pre race which in my opinion is important.
Best of luck if you are having a punt today.
Report Rocketfingers July 16, 2016 12:33 PM BST
Fair play to you i really hope it wins for you because your thought process for picking, straight off twitter, this horse is very suspect as dj points out as well. Would you be betting this horse only for the trainer's comments on twitter? I would say we all know the answer to that. Good luck though
Report Catch Me ifyoucan July 16, 2016 1:19 PM BST
The contents of this post have been hidden for this blocked user.    [Manage blocked users PA ffs]
Report Rocketfingers July 16, 2016 3:06 PM BST
My word what a run, you can't say you were not warned Pa, i won't say i warned you pa but i don't want to annoy you but dj certainly did, the horse drifted when you backed it too so that was a negative sign.

Pa word to the wise my friend, there are a number of trainers on twitter if you went around listening to them all when they said they had a nice horse you would not have 2 pence to rub together. Anyway Lyons gives bulletins like this the whole time, everybody knows this and knows not to take much heed, it's not a tip if he says he has a nice horse that is working well. Not even the best of the 2 Qatar runners.

I would also hope the bitter wildman finally starts to give dj some credit from now on.
Report Rocketfingers July 16, 2016 7:40 PM BST
Pa what is your opinion of betting this way in the future? Btw what did you make of the race?
Report pa lapsy July 16, 2016 8:02 PM BST
The same way as in the past.

I'm not sure of your agenda on the thread,you had no comment,view or anything up to now.
As a respect to Royal Academy i'm sorry you were "dragged on" here.

Lightening Fast missed the break,in a poor position throughout make slight late headway.
Disappointing run all in all and very probably a not too hard introduction,a bane of backing a debutante.
Certainly wouldn't give up on him but would be cautious.
My mistake was not backing Arcada ew, i was fairly confident the places from the initial maiden would be confirmed,i had no meas in Taj Mahal though it ran better today.(see previous posts rf).
Yes a poor bet but hopefully Mickleson does the business tomorrow.
Report dj876 July 17, 2016 1:42 AM BST
4 out of 4 is actually incorrect for successful  Frankel debutantes by about a  month,

Hopefully an apology will be issued for the multitude of pa lapsy bull ****# -   free e.w bet certainty who still has't been found followed by this short priced debutante
Report pa lapsy July 17, 2016 9:37 AM BST
I've only ever tried to do my best and like anybody get things wrong dj876
Jemblatt,Northern Sky,Noivado were recent horses i put on the forum,so not all bad.
Maybe like yourself the right thing to do is not bother.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan July 17, 2016 10:10 AM BST
Keep her lit PA Devil
Report Rocketfingers July 17, 2016 10:16 AM BST
I notice Pa people can't say anything to you, you simply lose it, taking a trainer's word as a tip yesterday was correctly flagged up as muggish behaviour by dj and by myself.

Btw that horse really did not miss the break, he was just green getting out, more slowly away than missed the break pa, hope this helps the self proclaimed best horse racing expert on the forum.
Report RoyalAcademy July 18, 2016 10:47 AM BST
The colts step up to 7f for this event (Nat Stakes) and entries closed on 25 May last. As expected Ballydoyle have just over one-third of the 90 field of entries (31) and Joseph is responsible for 4 of which just one is currently unraced-this horse is [i]Arcada whom I do not intend to nominate although his recent run (his second) suggested he was well-thought of at home attracting morning money. A dozen of Aidan O’Brien’s entries were entered neither in the earlier Railway nor Phoenix Stakes and these are all worth a look.

Only two colts that are presently unraced have entries in all three contests and one of these hails from Ballydoyle – Lancaster Bomber -  and the second, Noivado, was nominated amongst my earlier “dark horses”.
[/i]

The clues are there sometimes but it can be easy to overlook them. It was difficult assess the pre-race moves in this market as there seemed to be tickles for a few including Lancaster Bomber who may be worth an interest on his next couple of starts if he starts at decent odds. Joey's post-race comment was interesting: "It was hard to be confident as it looked a fierce hot maiden and there was word for a few different horses. We knew he was a good maiden but didn't know what we'd bump in to. We thought he'd make at least a stakes horse and it looks like it now."


One of my Harrington dark horses John Honeyman ran well and this is a maiden in which Harrington has had three runners in the last 10 years or so: subsequent Group 1 winner Pathfork won in 2010, the promising Newbury Hall was a beaten favourite in 2011 - was either subsequently exported or never ran again - but maybe most interesting of all is Billboard who was 6th (behind Australia) at 33/1 in 2013 and he won his next start at Roscommon at 5/1. Lyons' National Stakes entry may possibly have had more to do with pedigree than ability, something not at all uncommon.
Report RoyalAcademy April 21, 2017 6:57 PM BST
The Wrap:

I know there were disputes here last year on the merits of backing unexposed and, possibly, unraced two-year-olds but I know from long experience that this is simply an alternative way to find winners that is part of my strategy to occasionally field against the market. As some of the results below indicate, it is not entirely without merit. It takes a different discipline to "locking and loading" on horses considered to be form choices and value prices, but each to their own. I get a great kick from this annual puzzle and like most of my threads of a similar nature returned a decent LSP.

A select number of these remain in my tracker and I am hopeful that a few are potentially well-handicapped. You know the likely quote from a jubilant trainer:

“We thought a lot of him last spring but he was slow to come to hand-we even gave him a speculative entry in the Phoenix Stakes. He was gelded/done for his wind late last year and we are now playing catch up. We will target handicaps over the same trip and a premier handicap at the Curragh in July is the long term plan.”

Phoenix Stakes Entries G1 (15 entries nominated including just one from Ballydoyle)

Binary Code (John Murphy)
Three back-end runs, was gelded and has had a taste of action at Cork a few weeks ago on horrible ground. Sire (Invincible Spirit) is the business and he is not over-burdened with his mark. Pays for the summer holidays potentially.

Confrontational (John Murphy)
Won on his second start at 5/1 last June – job done as far as I’m concerned.

Born To Be (John Oxx)
Won at 7/1 on his third start-easy peasy!

Sea Of Grace (John Oxx)
Won on second start at strongly-fancied 4/5. Won his only other start in Group 3 Flame Of Tara Stakes. Oxx lost the horse in winter to Willie Haggas and no credit goes to Tsui family for this demotion. Was something of a disappointment in the Nell Gwyn but is far from done with.

Diarist (Willie McCreery)
Just one back-end run after he was gelded in summer. McCreery does well for Sheikh Mohammed.

Grand Coalition (Johnny Murtagh)
Won at 7/2 on second start – highly tried thereafter. Changed hands for €75,000 last November; whereabouts unknown.

Hit The Bid (Darren Bunyan)
Collected a Group 3 Curragh sprint on his third start. What’s that? His S.P.? Oh, right! 50/1.
Oh ye of little faith.

Imagine If (Ger Lyons)
Placed second in two of three maidens before collecting in Navan at 6/4.

Lightening Fast (Ger Lyons)
Second in a maiden (from 3 starts) on his second start was as good as it got for this superbly-bred Frankel filly. One pipe-opener so far this season and she will test Lyons’ skills to get her a priceless winning bracket. It will be fun to watch how he places her.

Noivado (Ger Lyons)
7/4 winner on third start and looks one of those hardy Glenburnie colts that will win plenty.

Son Of Rest (Tommy Stack)
Very short-priced winner of his maiden three weeks ago after two very promising runs at two. Could be Thomastown material for Ascot.

Presidential (Kevin Prendergast)
Three similar mid-div runs at two and looks to be handicap mark of 70-ish. Looks sure to win races.

Zihaam (Kevin Prendergast)
This £170,000 purchase is as yet unraced.

Winter (David Wachman)
Was strongly-fancied by DW before finally scoring on third start at 7/4. Took the Kvanagh’s bus from Holy Cross to Rosegreen on Wachman’s early retirement and I believe this filly could go right to the top.


Railway Stakes G2

Big Ego (Andy Oliver)
Six unplaced runs and G2 entry now looks hopelessly optimistic. Will have a very winnable mark if the latent talent is located.

Billy Big (Andy Oliver)
Showed progressive form in three starts – third on final outing – before being sold to race in the US.

Glenamoy Lad (Ken Condon)
Placed 4 times from 8 starts although beaten short-priced favourite on two occasions. Condon doesn’t usually miss with his fancied two-year-olds but there’s always the exception.

Jack Flash (Ger Lyons)
Failed to reach the desired standard for Qatar Racing after four runs, the best being a runner-up finish (2/1) at Down Royal. Les Eyre paid £16,000 for him and he promptly won his first UK start at 9/2.

There may be a lesson with this quartet who did not get original G1 entries in the Phoenix Stakes.

National Stakes G1

A Place Apart (Ken Condon)
Unraced

Succeeding (Ken Condon)
Unraced

Act Of Valour (Michael O’Callaghan)
Nice “sighter” last October (finished fifth) and plenty of hope value remaining.

Glastonbury Song (Ger Lyons)
Well bought at €31,000 by Sean Jones and scored at odds-on on his first start. Highly-tried on only subsequent run and I reckon there’s plenty more to come. “We hoped for something like that. He is a very nice horse and he will have no problem getting a mile.”

Grandee (Jessica Harrington)
Placed on two of first three starts before scoring at 6/1 in a Curragh maiden. Tried in G3 company latest and looks a very nice horse.

John Honeyman (Jessica Harrington)
A shade disappointing in five starts and is now with Adrian Keatley. Probably over-rated by handicapper and needs to plumb the depths to get competitive, possibly on forays across the water. I doubt Harrington left much behind.

Unraced Oaks Entries:
Two unraced two-year-olds held Oaks entries for Dermot Weld in May 2016: whilst Fawz never saw the track, Mounira was beaten favourite in two starts. I suspect the entries related to Shadwell ownership as opposed to innate ability.

Dark Horses – miscellany

Molly Dolly: I really rate her trainer, Bill Farrell, and this filly may now be retired after failing to score last season. It appears to me she is just below listed class and consequently needs to drop 10lbs to win again. If she stays in training that would be the sensible strategy although winning black-type efforts will probably prevail.

World Of Good (John Murphy)

Eventually ran into form last winter and scored on the all-weather at 11/2.

Gallope (Prunella Dobbs)
Lightly-raced but probably badly handicapped as it turns out. I suspect she’s now retired.

Secret Splendor (Frank Dunne)
Two runs and I’ve lost all interest in her. In hindsight, hobby trainers are not clever picks.

And finally..........................

When I wrote the thread last year I assiduously avoided Ballydoyle, Rosewell House and Coolcullen entries. The only Ballydoyle two-year-old I nominated was Lancaster Bomber: “Only two colts that are presently unraced have entries in all three contests and one of these hails from Ballydoyle – Lancaster Bomber -  and the second, Noivado, was nominated amongst my earlier “dark horses”. The clues are there sometimes but it can be easy to overlook them. It was difficult to assess the pre-race moves in this market as there seemed to be tickles for a few including Lancaster Bomber who may be worth an interest on his next couple of starts if he starts at decent odds.”

Lancaster Bomber collected his maiden in Leopardstown at 100/30 on his next start and subsequently ran second in the Dewhurst at 66/1.

I am looking forward to the 2017 entries due shortly.
Report DeargDubh April 22, 2017 1:47 PM BST
And I'm looking forward to your list RA. Great thread.
Report neill d April 22, 2017 5:18 PM BST
Hoping Lancaster Bomber might get in the Kentucky Derby, will be a massive price and is probably still going forward. Good thread Royal Academy. Think the Dubai run was purely educational for travel and handling the dirt purposes; from what I've read (which isn't much), it ain't a great race this year.
Report RoyalAcademy April 25, 2017 10:59 AM BST
I clearly mixed up my sexes with Lightening Fast last week but what a clever ploy from Ger Lyons to drop him into handicap company yesterday and he gets his first win under his belt.

Willie McCreery's horses are hitting form and I must admit Diarist ran a tremendous race on Saturday at Limerick to finish fourth. I backed him all morning here for small stakes and once you are against the market the 60's and 70's keeping reappearing. I doubt he will be that price again!
Report Catch Me ifyoucan April 25, 2017 3:48 PM BST
'Love Your Work' and admire your patience RA.

See your Binary Code (61) entered in Gowran next Sun over 1m Flat Hcap (Rated 45-65).
Report DeargDubh May 1, 2017 9:51 PM BST
Binary Code unlucky. Got boxed in.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan May 7, 2017 1:10 PM BST
Diarist finished 3rd at Cork on Saturday 6th May 5.30
Report Catch Me ifyoucan May 7, 2017 10:18 PM BST
And along come Winter to win the 1000G
Report Catch Me ifyoucan May 25, 2017 1:48 PM BST
btw - Coolmore have renamed Winter's full-sister - Snowflakes (by Galileo/Laddies Poker Two).
Report Catch Me ifyoucan May 25, 2017 5:32 PM BST
Someone should write a book on this shower Devil
Report Catch Me ifyoucan August 11, 2018 6:49 PM BST
That Presidential is getting the hang of things lately for Nick Bradley Racing Devil
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