GOLDIKOVA CAN EXTEND HER GROUP-1 RECORD HAUL: All eyes are on the Prix Rothschild at Deauville this afternoon, as the mighty mare Goldikova attempts to win Group-1 number 14, challenged by the Frankel man, Sir Hency Cecil, with Timepiece.
LAY CHESTER FAVOURITES, SAYS DAQMAN: On the Roodeye, Daqman attacks the favourites seemingly hampered by the Chester draw, but goes nap at Market Rasen. He’s had 12 winning nap in 23 days, with 17 in the first two.
I’m not one for wonder horses. Rarely do you get more than one in 20 years but punters who latched on to Sea The Stars, Goldikova and Frankel early enough could have made their fortunes in this century of equine excellence.
But you also have to know when to stop backing them. Who would have thought that, in the space of six weeks, the record-breaking Group-1 winner, Goldikova, would be shuffled back in the pack to only third-best miler.
No sooner has she been eclipsed by Canford Cliffs at Royal Ascot than Canford, too, loses his place on top of the pile, overwhelmed by Frankel who, like his jockey, Tom Queally, has had to mature and lose the raw edge. That they were consummate professionals in the Sussex Stakes this week is an understatement.
If you had been punting Goldikova’s sequence, you would have got stuffed at 5-4 in the Queen Anne. Had you then latched on to Canford Cliffs as the new wonder horse, you would have lost your lolly at 7-4, with his reign quickly over at Goodwood.
Canford Cliffs had had a spell in the doldrums before – if you can call third in a Guineas the ‘doldrums’ – and he’s bounced back. A blip in a win sequence of seven for Goldokova was caused by the same horse, Makfi.
Today she has less of a bouncing back to do than to remain where she is, rated around half a stone clear of the Prix Rothschild field (2.40 Deauville). A win would be number 17 out of 24 and land her a 14th Group 1.
So I ask you wonder-horse watchers, who – in terms of achievement – is really The Greatest of this 21st century so far: Sea The Stars, Frankel or Goldikova? In years to come, Goldy’s 14-plus Group-1s will get many a vote from turf historians.
At the same time, you wouldn’t want to lay Sir Henry Cecil as trainer of the century so far: after Frankel, Midday yesterday. He must have another really great team put together at Warren Place (I can remember the first one).
Today, it’s Timepiece’s turn. Can he do a Midday with this granddaughter of Sadlers Wells? She certainly improved to win the Falmouth, her first Group 1, though Sahpresa didn’t get the greatest of rides that day from Christophe Lemaire.
But, as I say, one of those two has to improve half a stone and more here to trouble Goldikova so, unless the great mare has ‘gone’, this is number 14. To beat her, Timepiece or Sahpresa would theoretically have to be on a par with Canford Cliffs, and I can’t see that.
Meanwhile, they say the Chester draw pattern changes as the season progresses, the heavy bias to low numbers at the big May meeting dissipated because the ground has been churned up on the rails. I decided to check that out.
In three races of double-figure fields on today’s card, the 30 results by stall from the last decade show stall one had 4 wins, stall two 8, stall three 1, stall four 4, stall five 3, stall six 3, stall seven 3, stall eight 0, stall nine 1, stall ten 2, and stall eleven 1.
2.20 Chester (results by stall 2, 5, 2, 5, 7, 3, 2, 6, 2, 9): only one horse (10 years ago) has been able to win the 2.20 drawn as high as 9, which suggests that Richard Fahey’s paper-favourite Arley Hall has a difficult task against the plum stall allotted to second-favourite Storming Bernard, a good second in a big field at Newmarket, and the dark horse, Cool Hand Luke.
3.30 Chester (results by stall 4, 1, 2, 4, 5, 1, 2, 7, 4, 4): In this Listed race, eight out of 10 winners in the decade were from stalls one to four, and yet again Richard Fahey’s fancied favourite, Rose Blossom, has drawn a short straw: in box eight.
Fahey’s horses have taken a huge dip in their fortunes: the stable has turned out only two winners from 86 runners in the last fortnight and I’m going to oppose both badly-drawn Fahey paper-favourites this afternoon.
4.05 Chester (results by stall 10, 6, 11, 2, 6, 7, 1, 2, 1, 10): David Evans farms this race – four wins in 10 years – and the effect of the draw over the mile seems to allow his Fred Willetts every chance (at 9.0 on Betdaq, as I write).
Apart from the Fahey pair, Sunrise Safari and Viva Ronaldo, Fred Willetts is the only class-2 handicap winner in the race: he’s already beaten Kingscroft and Rigoletto over CD.
DOUBLE WHAMMY: LAY to win 10pts ARLEY HALL and BET 10pts win STORMING BERNARD (2.20 Chester)
LAY to win 10pts ROSE BLOSSOM (3.30 Chester)
BET (to win 20pts): 2.5pts win and place FRED WILLETTS (4.05 Chester)
BET 10.8pts win (nap) SILVER STIRRUP (5.20 Market Rasen)
BET 10pts win POLYGON (4.30 Newbury)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 3 x 3pt win doubles and 1pt win treble Goldikova (2.40 Deauville), Polygon (4.30 Newbury) and Silver Stirrup (5.20 Market Rasen)