4 June 2010
This week I have a lot to cram into my weekly column. It is all about three races, or four if you include the Epsom Oaks.
Leaving aside the Oaks I shall concentrate on the Epsom Derby to be run next Saturday, the 20.25 (8.25pm) at Sandown Park next Thursday and the 14.35 at Wolverhampton next Friday.
Until the time of writing Coolmore had the first four in the Derby betting but St Nicholas Abbey and Cape Blanco have been withdrawn leaving Aidan O'Brien with the very formidable but by no means invincible duo of Midas Touch and Jan Vermeer to carry the Coolmore colours.
It looked almost a formality that O'Brien would saddle his third Derby winner but with the absence of what may be considered his two best prospects the field opens up to the formidable challenge of Sir Michael Stoute, Henry Cecil and Godolphin.
Stoute's Workforce finished a very green second in the Dante Derby Trial and continues to get rave notices around Newmarket, while Henry Cecil's Bullet Train was blindingly impressive at Lingfield last time.
Novice trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has a rocket of a hoss in Goodwood winner Bewilding and if the likes of Mark Johnston's Azmeel and the much vaunted Coordinated Cut are added to the mix O'Brien's stranglehold on the race appears less vice like.
I am going for Bewilding to get Al Zarooni off to a phenomenal start to what promises to be a meteoric rise in British racing. In the Oaks I am going for Timepiece simply because Henry Cecil is the best trainer of classic winning fillies bar none.
Moving to the 8.25 evening race at Sandown Park on Thursday this is by far the biggest race the Southwark News Racing Club has ever contested in its three year history. We run Southwark Newsman against the hosses from some of the biggest trainers in the land. He is sure to go off at massively long odds because he has had only one run at Nottingham when he finished last.
However, as expected he was as green as grass that day and fell out of the starting stalls. We worked him over ten furlongs at Newmarket last week with Adrian McCarthy in the saddle and he eased away from the lead hosses in the last furlong. The opposition was nothing special but Newsman looked strong and smooth. Tom McLaughlin is booked to ride him again and I think we may be in for a good performance from our Sulamani gelding.
After the Nottingham race Tom was very frank and said our hoss has no speed so he will never make a sprinter but the distance does not seem to worry him at all. If he fails over the 1m 2f at Sandown I shall put him over 1m 4f then 1m 6f until we find the distance at which his long striding style can prove victorious.
He is a huge hoss standing 17 hands and long in the body. He is so tall our trainer Mrs Dunnett could not leg Tom into the saddle at Nottingham so a taller bystander had to hoist the jockey into the plate. I am putting up a picture of our hoss in his box. He still has a lot of devil in him, despite being gelded.
Shortly after I took this picture he bit me in the arm. That is how fired up he is.
As for the 2.35 race at Wolverhampton on Friday, we are trying Southwark Newshawk over six furlongs again on the all weather. Will she win? Will she stay six furlongs? Your guess is as good as mine. My bet for the weekend classics is Bewilding in the Derby doubled with Timepiece in the Oaks.
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