BALLYDOYLE ‘NICKS’ BREEDERS CUP BUT IT’S SEA MOON FOR 2012: St Nicholas Abbey last night stormed to a sensational Breeders Cup win, completing a 60-1 Aidan O’Brien double on the card at Churchill Downs. But Daqman argues that Sea Moon is the one to take out of the big race.
8-1 WINNER IN ‘NOVEMBER’ ONE-TWO: Daqman’s only Saturday jackpot bets produced a sparkling one-two in the final big event of the Flat season, the November Handicap at Doncaster, with Zuider Zee (WON 8-1) and Willing Foe (2nd 11-1).
Ballydoyle wrote history last night. In a stunning 60-1 double, Aidan O’Brien trained Wrote to win the juvenile but transcended all expectations by getting St Nicholas Abbey home in the £1million turf-championship Breeders Cup. Or rather Joseph O’Brien did.
O’Brien had the American commentator catching his breath as he passed the post but with an English epithet for an Irish hero: ‘Joey O’Brien for his father!’ he yelled. But, apart from some smiling Irish faces, the 9-1 winner was a huge setback for Euro punters.
Henry Cecil’s Midday never showed at any stage of the race; Sir Michael Stoute’s Sea Moon came with a menacing flourish but could find no more; and the French favourite, Sarafina, who ran freely, could never show her turn of foot off the patchy moderate pace.
Though slowly away, Sea Moon looked all over the winner with the wire in sight but young O’Brien produced a raking run down the outside from St Nicholas Abbey to crown the colt’s chequered career.
The champion two-year-old, a massive failure in his Classic season, was adding to the Ormonde and the Coronation Cup in a return to form this season, though only fifth in the Arc and beaten by Sarafina in the Prix Foy.
So it was that Joseph O’Brien (18) became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders Cup at the end of a season which started for him with success in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
But the one to take out of last night’s race is Sea Moon. Sir Michael Stoute’s forte is improving older horses and the St Leger third didn’t know what to do when the opening came for him last night. Sea Moon is ideal material for the maestro to work on for next season.
‘He is still a bit babyish and hopefully there is more improvement in him,’ was the understatement from Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, suggesting that 2012 has been the target for this one all along.
Back home, Paul Hanagan clinched the jockeys’ title but warned punters not to back him for the treble next season. Silvestre De Sousa, only four behind at the wire, seems his obvious successor after a gallant fight, despite losing time first because of a suspension and then because of his travels Down Under for a Mark Johnston mission to the Melbourne Cup.
Richard Hannon is, of course, leading trainer, both numerically – with 213, he was 32 ahead of Johnston – and for prizemoney won, a staggering £3.7million, ahead of the man of the hour, O’Brien.
John Gosden finished on a tantalizing 99 but in one way it was Kevin Ryan’s year, with a plethora of two-year-old winners taking him high up the table. If he can capitalize on those animals in their second season, and produce the same quantity of juvenile winners next year, then 2012 should see him finish in the very top flight.
Today’s jumps racing at two meetings should be run on good ground, with just that handy bit of give in it; it’s reportedly a clear day at both Ffos Las (drying out from soft) and Market Rasen (good already but following rain).
Moon Over Miami (2.35) returns to the scene of his success at the corresponding Ffos Las meeting last year but is he ready for the repeat? Charlie Mann has had a winner in the last week but he’s also had three out of seven pulled up, as he sputters to an uneven start.
Last year’s win was Moon’s only success in nearly four years, and he’s 10 years old now, going on 11. The signs are that he was probably lucky: the favourite – finished second – was out quickly trying to avoid the handicapper’s punishment after winning the previous week and only five ran.
They’re claiming off Fahrisee, which suggests that this is a pipeopener for a horse with all his winners in the early part of the year. Evan Williams is also struggling to get started with just one winner from 18 in the last fortnight.
Fishoutofwater was below par on his recent return and A P McCoy switches to guv’nor J P McManus’s Temple Lord, whose first run in England at the last Ffos Las meeting wasn’t much better.
Kimberlite King (heavy), Mibleu (firm) and U B Careful (firm) have won on extremes of going; Sky Calling will probably be hunted round to avoid a hat-trick of falls.
So I shall take a chance on Noble Crusader, who had a good record in this class on ground similar to today’s, winning off a 4lb lower mark, and his stable is in pretty good nick with a winner and two placed from seven recent runners.
Noble Crusader won first time back last season. Catching him fresh at a tasty 10.5 on Betdaq this morning, with a saver on Temple Lord, seems the obvious shape of a morning interest in the race.
What happens in that market later on is your business, but it already seemed over breakfast this morning that King’s Sunset (1.30) was reckoned home and hosed: they were going 9.2 bar the Irish Point winner, given a Frankel-scale fanfare in the stable tour
The stable, that of Tim Vaughan, hopes for a double within the space of around 15 minutes, Fennis Boy (1.45 Market Rasen) looking a good thing for back-to-back wins, with a poor turn-out against him.
Since 12 of his last 13 runners to finish the course have all been in the frame, Nicky Henderson’s Foxbridge is a fabulous each-way bet at 7.6 (1.00 Ffos Las), with a stakes saver on the favourite, Alan King’s Bygones Of Brid.
Henderson and jockey Andrew Tinkler are 44% as a combination on this course. I don’t think the 7.6 will last into the afternoon.
BET 2.9pts win and place FOXBRIDGE, and 4pts win (stakes saver) BYGONES OF BRID (1.00 Ffos Las)
BET 10.5pts win (nap) KING’S SUNSET (1.30 Ffos Las)
BET 2.1pts win and place NOBLE CRUSADER, and 1.1pts win (stakes saver) TEMPLE LORD (2.35 Ffos Las)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 2pts win double King’s Sunset (1.30 Ffos Las) and Fennis Boy (1.45 Market Rasen)
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