It seems to me that certain members of the racing fraternity are beyond criticism from the media such is the esteem in which they are held , cue Ryan Moore or Tony McCoy; this week it was Richard Hughes. Yes, he gave in his valuable time to ride in the big charity race at Doncaster, but it was still a betting race and I thought he gave Bluff Crag a less than inspired ride.
A young horse that had previously run his two best career races from just off the pace, yet Hughes anchored him out the back and finished a never nearer fourth.
I apologise in advance if Andrew Balding told him to hold the horse up, after all you have to follow instructions, but if he didn’t then to my eyes the partnership should have been placed at the very least.
There. Moan over. Now let’s get on to the action …
This is is one of my favourite weekends of racing and although the weather could scupper my betting plans I fancy we will get perfect ground on the easy side of good for Doncaster, Leopardstown and Sunday’s card at the Curragh.
I cannot for the life of me understand why Minding is at the head of the market for the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday evening ahead of Dermot Weld’s dual Derby winner HARZAND.
As much as I admire Aidan O’Brien’s filly, she has yet to take on the colts, her very best form, on my ratings, is 4lbs below Harzand. Most important of all I think after just the five career runs we have yet to see the best of this son of Sea The Stars.
And I am fed up of those pundits that keep on telling me that he doesn’t have the pace to win a Group One over a mile and a quarter and is essentially a stayer.
He nailed St Leger fav Idaho for speed in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and showed a top-class cruising speed all through the Irish Derby like a mile and a quarter champion. Get ready to see the big horse roll over the filly and teach the older generation a lesson.
Dermot Weld’s RADANPOUR looks as though he has turned the corner after a poor run in a Listed race earlier in the season, with a confidence boosting win at Bellewstown.
A more than useful three-year-old, The EBF Petingo Handicap at 4.35 is a step up for him, but the lightly-raced stayer could progress again and he can make the most of the weight he receives from Quick Jack.
If we get the anticipated rain overnight at Doncaster this Saturday get ready to see Roger Varian’s DOUBLE UP become well supported in the Portland Handicap at 2.35. He seems well suited by some give in the ground and this intermediate trip looks spot on. Varian had a nice winner with Central Square there on Thursday afternoon.
One to Watch
Aidan O’Brien must have convinced himself that the St Leger and to a lesser extent the Enterprise Stakes has come too soon for the rapidly improving Triplicate. But the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day could be his port of call so watch this space!