AM I just being a cranky curmudgeon in opining that it gets a bit dull when Aidan O’Brien-trained horses keep winning all of the Irish Classics with the latest beneficiary being Bracelet who beat stablecompanion Tapestry in last Saturday’s Darley Irish Oaks.
The Ballydoyle handler has now won three of the four home Classics run so far this term and it took a horse as good as Kingman to wrestle the Irish 2,000 Guineas from him.
My complaint is not aimed at Aidan or his team personally – they have established arguably the greatest breeding and racing operation in the world and thoroughly deserve the riches that come from that.
But even though we had a Dermot Weld-trained favourite in Tarfasha, who unexplainedly ran very disapointingly, at the weekend, for the competiveness sake of our great sport I’d love to see a few more different names appearing on the role of honour.
I’m trying to stay in this week ahead of the annual assault on the sensibilities that is the Galway Festival next week and my idea of the winner of the Galway Plate next Wednesday is Caid Du Berlais who can conduct another successful overseas raid for top English handler Paul Nicholls.
This fellow is currently a 12-1 chance and thoroughly deserves to win a top prize after fine efforts when third to Don Poli in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and runner-up behind Clondaw Kaempfer in a Grade 3 contest in Aintree.
Obviously both those efforts came over hurdles, but he is actually rated a couple of pounds lower over fences despite easily winning on his debut over the bigger obstacles at Exeter in December before disappointing on his only other start over fences, albeit in a Grade 2 event.
That last chasing start came in January and he looks like a horse that has been plotted up for this to me and Nicholls knows exactly what is required having scored with Oslot in 2008.
Before Ballybrit kicks off, there’s the small matter of Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and having complained about Aidan’s dominance at home, it’s absolutely no problem him plundering overseas prizes and I think he can win this with Magician. I went for Eagle Top in an English newspaper earlier in the week, but looking at the latest weather forecast, I now think the ground will be too fast for him, while it will be perfect for the selection.
He ran well on his last start when runner-up to The Fugue in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at the same course and I wouldn’t be too concerned about the winner’s subsequent sixth in the Eclipse as the ground was against her that day. Even though Magician won the Mooresbridge Stakes at The Curragh over 10 furlongs earlier in the season, I think he is best suited by this mile and a half as his win in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf would probably indicate.
Motor racing hasn’t been on my radar recently with the World Cup in action, but while it was a good effort by German Nico Rosberg to win his home Grand Prix on Sunday, I think Lewis Hamilton’s third will spur him on to take this year’s Formula 1 drivers’ championship at 10-11.
Considering Hamilton was meant to start from 15th before his Mercedes outfit announced a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change following a qualifying smash-up, finishing third will feel like a win to the English speedster.
Hamilton is only 14 points behind teammate Rosberg in the championship and with such a margin easily being run down in just one race, I think Hamilton will win the title.
Now - Lewis Hamilton to win the 2014 Formula 1 drivers’ championship; Saturday, Ascot, 3.50pm - Magician; Wednesday, July 30, Galway, 5.30pm - Caid Du Berlais.