From The Horse’s Mouth: Neigh 7

Updated: June 1, 2014

With the onset of June upon us the horse-racing world has much to look forward to, with the Oaks, Coronation Cup and Derby at Epsom and the Royal Ascot week major events. Saturday June 7th looks a bumper day of big races with the Coronation Cup and Derby in the UK and the Belmont Stakes in the USA adding extra excitement.

Emerald Isle:  Irish 2000 & 1000 Guineas, Tattersalls Gold Cup

Saturday 24th May 2014: 3.20 The Curragh: Irish 2000 Guineas (Group 1): Distance 1m: 11R NR War Command, Mandatario, Prince of All.

Changing ground conditions meant that it was touch and go wither Kingman would run or not.  Initially a yielding course turned to soft going during the morning but had become soft to heavy by the start of the race. All the non-runners were withdrawn because of the course going. Kingman did participate to win by five lengths at 4-5 odds over Shifting Power at 7-1. Mustajeeb came in two lengths behind to take third place having raced well before fading in the last furlong and a half. In this Irish equivalent Kingman avenged his UK 2000 Guineas defeat to Night of Thunder. It is hoped these two horses will meet again in the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Young jockey James Doyle had his first classic winner with Kingman and got a third place spot on Princess Loulou in the Lanwades Stud Stakes later in the day.

Kingman wins Irish 2000 Guineas. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Kingman wins Irish 2000 Guineas. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Sunday 25th May 2014: 3.20 The Curragh: Tattersalls Gold Cup (Group 1): Distance 1m 2 ½ f: 5R

Noble Mission gave jockey James Doyle another winner with Magician in second place.

Sunday 25th May 2014: 3.55 The Curragh: Irish 1000 Guineas: Distance 1m: 8R (Group 1) NR: My Titania, Rizeena

Rizeena was withdrawn from the race having suffered a nose bleed on the Thursday prior to the race, and the ground going was determined to not suit My Titania.  Ryan Moore secured victory aboard Marvellous with Lightning Thunder in second place and Vote Often ridden by James Doyle came in third. At the half way point Marvellous was placed almost last but gradually gained momentum which was carried all the way to the line. Lightning Thunder seemed to be the winner until being caught inside the last furlong whilst Vote Often just couldn’t quite fully challenge the two more experienced horses around her.

French Fancies

Sunday May 25th 2014: 3.15 Longchamp: Prix d’Isapahan (Group 1): Distance 1m 1f: Going soft: 6R

The meeting between Olympic Glory and Cirrus Des Aigles was the big attraction for this race. Eight days previous Olympic Glory had won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Cirrus des Aigles had won the Prix Ganay back in April defeating Treve. However the big battle between these two horses never really materialised, as Cirrus Des Aigles took command of the race and never let it go to take a comfortable win as 4-7 favourite. In second place (a career best) was 33-1 Anodin and Pollyana at 25-1 came in third.  Olympic Glory having faded came in fourth at 15-8 odds with Frankie Dettori aboard. An interesting note from this is that Pollyana had to make up a greater distance to come in third and raced without wearing her customary cheekpieces. More could be expected from Pollyana racing against her own sex and using her usual racing aids.

Treble Winner Passes Away

LOCHSONG won the Prix de l’Abbaye in 1993 and 1994 with Frankie Dettori as jockey. The Ian Balding trained horse won the Nunthorpe and was the first to complete the sprint handicap treble of the Portland at Doncaster, Stewards Cup at Goodwood and Ayr’s Gold Cup. She died this week aged 26.

RIP Lochsong. Image credit @Channel4Racing

RIP Lochsong. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Across the pond there is high expectation for a rare treble victory from CALIFORNIA CHROME. The red chestnut colt with Victor Espinosa aboard won the 139th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore mid May having already secured victory in this year’s Kentucky Derby. So hopes are high that a triple crown is within reach for California Chrome, if success can come in the ten horse field for the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 7th. Not since Affirmed in 1978 has the triple crown of US horse-racing been won, although 13 horses (including California Chrome) have managed a double since then.  But from a field of 38 double winners only 11 horses in total have succeeded in attaining the elusive third win.

Controversy has surrounded California Chrome’s inclusion in the Belmont Stakes this year, as he has had a six race winning streak wearing a nasal strip. These were banned by the New York Racing Board (the only one) until May 19th when the ban was lifted. The colt’s trainer Art Sherman had threatened to withdraw the horse from the showcase race unless the strip could be used. The strips don’t particularly enhance a horse’s performance, but they do open nasal passages to enable the horse to breathe better, and hopefully avoid bleeding in the lungs as breathing efforts are less strenuous. A case for or against the strips being used came only two days after the ban was lifted. On Wednesday May 21st in the 7th race at Belmont a filly named See the Music died of an apparent heart attack wearing a nasal strip. It is not believed the strip contributed to the horse’s death.

The last double winner I’ll Have Another Go would have worn a nasal strip (had permission been granted) but suffered an injury just a day before the 2012 Belmont Stakes, and had to be scratched from the race. This highlights how a week can be a very long time in the racing world, and even after lining up at the starter’s gate a lot can happen.  After all in 1999 Charismatic broke a leg during the race explaining why it faded to third place, and Big Brown in 2008 ran on a cracked left front hoof and didn’t finish.  So all being well California Chrome and his nasal strip will break new ground next week at Belmont. As the 13th double winner since 1978 will it be a lucky or unlucky 13 for California Chrome, that’s the big question.

US Treble hope California Chrome. Image credit Benoit & Associates

US Treble hope California Chrome. Image credit Benoit & Associates

Bits and Pieces

The Warwick meeting was abandoned after the second race on May 20th due to the fatality of Artful Lady around the half way point of a six furlong race. Although the official going was good to firm the heavy rain experienced could only have degraded the racing surface. Artful Lady slipped and suffered a fatal fall near the intersection between the sprint and round course. There has been great concern previously shown by jockeys and trainers with regard to the alignment of the course at Warwick. There were six meetings pencilled in for Warwick until September, but after an inquiry into this incident only two will remain at Warwick the Lady’s Day on July 4th and the Aug 25th Bank Holiday meeting. Both will run after realignment work is completed. The others will be moved between Nottingham (June 16th/July 10th) and Carlisle (June 26th and Sept 2nd), although I’ve seen the Newmarket July course mentioned for the Eternal Stakes scheduled for June 26th?

Toast of New York is expected to miss the Derby as the ground is thought to be not suitable. A run in the Belmont Derby Invitational is anticipated instead.

The Stewards Enquiry regarding this year’s Grand National race at Aintree is scheduled to take place on June 11th, and it will be open to the media.



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