DAQMAN’S DERBY BET GIVES THEM 20 LENGTHS START: Daqman’s Classics bad luck continued yesterday when his ‘confident’ French Derby bet, Baraan, was slowly away by 15 to 20 lengths and still finished third. It followed Carlton House’s wide run into a place at Epsom after second and third in the Oaks. Four placed in three days!
POWER LAY SAVES THE DAY: The day in France was partly redeemed by his fourth successful lay out of five when Allied Powers (3rd 10-1) failed to complete the Grand Prix double, a big drifter on the PMU and in the industry betting, despite the rain that arrived for him.
NOW IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ARC: It’s great year with Workforce, So You Think, and St Nicholas Abbey against the new kids on the bloc, Pour Moi, Reliable Man, Treasure Beach and Carlton House. But Daqman warns that the best of them may not meet until the Arc in France in October.
We are about to be robbed of the best racing. The French have ‘stolen’ both Derbys runs so far, and it now seems certain that the real racing in Europe for the rest of the season will take place in France. Trainers of both Pour Moi and Reliable Man have already publicly snubbed the King George.
Pour Moi, Saturday’s winner at Epsom, will be aimed at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and yesterday’s Chantilly hero, Reliable Man, will target the Grand Prix De Paris. And you can forget seeing yesterday’s unlucky French Derby loser, Baraan, in England. Owner the Aga Khan is sure to aim for his beloved Arc.
The results of recent King Georges seem to bear out Fabre’s view that the race comes too soon for three-year-olds: the last seven winners have been four-year-olds, with 13 of the last 15 Ascot renewals going to older horses.
But it’s all about fashion, and fashion is almost always about money: the francs and the euros have had such a pulling power that the Grand Prix and the Arc are taking over as the supreme thoroughbred tests. It has not always been so.
From 1970 to 1981 the cream of the Classic crop – Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Troy, Shergar – all came on from the Derby to win the King George, and winners included France’s own Dahlia (back to back 1973-74).
Then again, in the decade from 1985-95, nine of the 11 King George winners were three-year-olds, among them the superb Nashwan and majestic Dancing Brave.
What makes a nonsense of Fabre’s assertion is that Mill Reef (1971), Dancing Brave (1986), Lammtara (1995) and Dylan Thomas (2007) all went on from King George success to win the Arc in the same year. Three of them had won the Epsom Derby and the other one, Dancing Brave, should have done, challenging too late.
And, while Workforce and Sea The Stars have recently gone on to win the Arc from Epsom success, the reduction of the French Derby distance to 1m 2f has seen no Chantilly winners take the Arc. The last three to do so were Dalakhani (2003), Montjeu (1999) and, before that, Fabre’s own Peintre Celebre (1997). Foist with your own petit petard?
But the French plot is to insinuate the Grand Prix and the Arc as the distance tests for three-year-olds, and keep earlier Classics to 1m and 1m2f. It does not – as we’ve just seen – exclude mopping up our Derby and then taking the winner on to their late-season Longchamp show.
Treasure Beach versus Carlton House will now be the star attraction among three-year-olds in the King George. Give or take a spread plate, there seems nothing much between them.
Ireland may produce something else in the Curragh Derby, though it’s more likely that a colt we’ve already seen will go on and pick that one up.
Yet again, English eyes are on Sir Michael Stoute and the path to further riches for Workforce, though So You Think and St Nicholas Abbey could be major Ascot attractions from the older generation.
Ascot spokesman Nick Smith told the Racing Post: ‘As soon as Pour Moi crossed the line I knew I’d better delete him from the King George list.’
How many of those three-year-olds and older horses I have mentioned will then meet in the Arc we can’t be sure, but it seems inevitable that it is destined to be the greatest race on the European calendar for 2011.
LAY to win 10pts ROMAN DANCER (3.30 Folkestone)
BET 7.2pts win PITTODRIE STAR (7.00 Pontefract), if lose 9.4pts win KING FERDINAND (7.30 Pontefract)
BET 3pts win and place PRINCE OF SORRENTO (8.15 Windsor)
BET 7.4pts win CLOSE TO THE EDGE and 1.9pts win STAMP DUTY (8.30 Pontefract)