‘DAWN’ OF A BALLYDOYLE DAY AT ASCOT? Aidan O’Brien sends out Await The Dawn at Royal Ascot, with almost as much ballyhoo from Ballydoyle as So You Think, as Irish punters try to recover from the massive gamble on Teolane, 12th of 13 in the Albany yesterday.
ULSTER DERBY AND OAKS: Ballydoyle also runs Maybe as favourite at Ascot and Luxurious, fourth to the Ribblesdale winner at Naas last month, targets the Ulster Oaks at Down Royal, where Shamrock fancies a bonus bet in the Ulster Derby
Put her away, Jim! I wouldn’t have backed, never mind napped, Jim Bolger’s Teolane if I’d seen her before yesterday’s Albany. Excuses, including the ground were put forward after the race.
But she didn’t break willingly and was never travelling. It was clear to me that three races within a month had taken their toll on one so unfurnished. She’s a lot of growing to do, and she should be allowed to get on with that or, like her sire, Teofilo, we won’t see her reappear for a second season.
ROYAL ASCOT: Maybe, just Maybe, it’s a Ballydoyle start to the day! The snag is that the rain keeps coming down and recent form, including Maybe’s Naas success, has all been on good or firm. The Irish-bred Falls Of Lora, by Street Cry, has also won on the firm.
Though the second Ballydoyle runner, Await The Dawn (3.05), tries to step up in trip and in grade to Group 2, he’s won on the soft and has had almost as much Ballydoyle ballyhoo as So You Think.
We don’t often win the big sprints but Aidan O’Brien’s Starspangledbanner came good for us in the Golden Jubilee (3.45) last year and now another O’Brien, Charles – brought up at Ballydoyle, of course, by his immortal father, Vincent – has Bewitched well drawn with a great chance in the same race, also stepping up from Group 3 and also able to act with plenty of cut in the ground.
Though a 6f winner five times, including over CD at Ascot, Bewitched last time out won a Group 3 at Leopardstown over 7f, a result which looks of conspicuous quality now, since the runner-up was Zoffany, who gave Frankel such a fright on Tuesday.
The ground will slow them all down in the Queen Alexandra but whether down to the pace that Deutschland (5.35) is used to while chasing and hurdling, I don’t know.
He was down the field in this last year and, even with rain, and even if there were hurdles to give him an advantage, he surely wouldn’t beat Overturn.
In fact, I’m more inclined toward John Queally’s Elyaadi, second to the runaway Junior in the 2m 4f Ascot Stakes last year on good ground. The soft surface is his equalizer.
DOWN ROYAL: Rain was expected overnight, if lighter during the day today, for the Ulster Derby and Oaks, which are for all ages but all ages don’t win them. Runners aged three and four are 9 out of 11 in both Derby and Oaks this century.
4.10 (Ulster Derby): This seems to confirm the clear advantage of Table Mountain and Banksters Bonus over the rest of the Derby field but, until last year, since way back, 8st 8lb has been the maximum carried by the winner; strongly fancied high weights, like The Bogberry and Kempes, were particularly painful failures.
So I’m very much with Banksters Bonus, rather than Table Mountain, though Robert Hennessy has done well to get the Ballydoyle cast-off back on the winning trail after injury.
It was no disgrace for Banksters Bonus to be beaten in a blanket finish for the Nijinsky Stakes. Dearest Girl will appreciate the likely soft surface and is an each-way bet.
4.40 (Ulster Oaks): The same age and weight stats apply, with three-year-olds on a five-timer and only one winner above 8st 10lb.
John Oxx – going for the hat-trick – Jim Bolger and Kevin Prendergast (Cornakill), who have provided those four second-season winners, are all taking on the likely Ballydoyle favourite, Luxurious, under Colm O’Donoghue.
A good two-year-old year cost Cornakill in her second season but she’s now down 10lb and back to form at Leopardstown last time out, and with hopes of turning round the form with the John Oxx’s runner-up, Celendine, on the revised terms.
Jim Bolger’s Stylish One is consistent but paying for it in the ratings, and Ravissante could be anything, as they say, but lacking experience in her first handicap.
Luxurious has kept top-class company and her fourth in the Group-3 Blue Wind, less than three lengths off Ribblesdale winner Banimpire, could be good enough. Solid each way at 6.4 this morning
NAP: Await The Dawn (3.05 Ascot)
NEXT BEST: Banksters Bonus (4.10 Down Royal)
EACH-WAY: Luxurious (4.40 Down Royal), Elyaadi (5.35 Ascot)
DAQ TRIO: Await The Dawn (3.05 Ascot), Banksters Bonus (4.10 Down Royal), Luxurious (4.40 Down Royal)