Anyway onwards we go and these are my Saturday selections on this Bumper day of racing, despite there being no Group 1 race in Europe today.
2:00: Listed Race: Eton Forever should have a great chance here. One of interest at longer prices would be Smarty Socks.
2:30: Handicap: Difficult one. I am just about going to side with Future Security
3:05: Group 2: Sadler's Rock will be well fancied here but I am looking to take him on with the rejuvenated Cavalryman
3:40: Ebor Handicap: Probably my favourite Handicap race of the year in England: I was so impressed with Camborne at Ascot I am finding it difficult to look beyond him. The only thing is he is carrying 9-7 which isn't easy to carry to victory in this race. I am still going for him though. An interesting one at a longer price could be Royal Diamond.
2:50: Handicap: Just a little chance on Handsome Man here.
3:25: Listed: Markab
2:15: Group 3: Almost impossible to go against Sky Lantern but might be worth a small chance on Annies Fortune, especially in the "betting without" market.
2:45: Handicap: Powerful Presence
3:20: Group 2 Celebration Mile: This will be harder than her win here over 7f in a Group 2 recently but I am sticking with Chachamaidee.
3:15: Group 3 Leger Trial: I'll take a wee chance with Ursa Major
4:25: Listed: I am looking to take on the favourite here with Curly Wee
4:55: Irish Cambridgeshire Handicap: 18 runners in this makes it a difficult one but I was impressed by Vastonea at Galway and give him a good chance to follow up. An intersting one at a longer price would be New Magic
6:15: Listed: Cameron Highland is well fancied in this but I'd give Goldoni a chance of turning him over.
6:45: Group 3: Even though there's only 6 runners this is a very difficult one to call. Mostly that is because the best horse, by a fair distance, in this, Rio De Le Plata, has been out of form thus far this year. I am going to give him another chance because if he is even at 90% of his powers he will win ths race but it is risky. If he doesn't turn up I'd see Lay Time as the one ahead of Grandeur.
While tonight in New York we have some excellent racing with 3 Grade 1 races and a Grade 2, including the Travers Stakes which is one of the year's top races for 3Y0.
9:05: Grade 2: Hungry Island
9:38: Grade 1: Book Review
10:10: Grade 1: Doctor Chit
10:46: Grade 1 Travers Stakes: Street Life.
You must have been burning the midnight oil to get through all those races Benny!?!
Backed Monshak in the second at York who didn't come out of the stalls, Paddy Power refunded my stake all credit to them!!
Today's selections for what they are worth...
3:10(Group 2): Prairie Star
3:10(Group 3): Fire Lily
3:45(Group 2): Taking a chance with Kingston Jamaica
4:20(Group 3): Taking a chance with La Collina
“We’re in this mess, not because Fianna Fail policies have failed, but because they have succeeded.” They haven't gone away, you know"
So anyway with The Irish Champion Stakes coming up on Saturday week I have started thinking about this race present and past. The exciting thing in the present is it looks like both Nathaniel and Snow Fairy could turn up.
Now for the past and I believe this is the best performance in the race in the last 20 years.
The only question for me is if it is better than this?
Attempting to leave emotion out of it as much as is possible, the question can come down to....is it better to destroy a field containing a European Champion as well as a 130ish rated horse by the best part of 10 lengths while easing before the line or is it better to loll along on the bridle for most of the race and destroy two average(Or one who has not won at the top level and one mid 120 rated) Group 1 horses by 6 lengths.
Just an interesting one to ponder rather than me trying to pour any cold water on anything.....although I do love the grey boy.
Oh and also I'd ask the same question in relation to this one? Question the opposition? Yes. Be blown away by the manner of victory? For me a big YES.
By the way I love Godolphin's site. Great video archive for their hall of fame horses.
Of course same question on this? A scandalously good but different type of performance from a horse who really would have preferred 9f.
The only b-llocks was we never got to see that great match between himself and the mighty Montjeu.
OK I am drifting away now from my subject but I was just having a look at another few videos there and saw this one. I remember having a fairly substantial bet on this lad this day at about 6/4. He went off at 11/10 so was well backed alround. This was at the time Frankie and Godolphin were the top dogs in England. Anyway what heart this horse, Aljabr, showed this day on 1999 when he won the Sussex Stakes.
This race and this website with its videos always brings back great memories for me. I loved the Godolphin horses and Godolphin's approach, before they went and got the hump.
And then you have on the bridle the whole way............http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWGiJ8njuWQ
And then the best in my biased view!......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zeyUdPNzUU......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f824CU-F3rc................never got to the bottom of this fella properly I think. CD quicker than Frankel the other day too. Impossible to judge them against each other though. One stays on the bridle and cruises into races and pulverises the opposition, the other lobs along and just does what he needs to do to win. Both superstars and both completely different. And dare I say it..........both not up against the strongest competition either I think.
Firstly let me say that Montjeu's King George win is, in my opinion, the greatest single performance of the last 20 years at least. If you want contempt for the opposition this is the absolute best example. Also let me say that he has a World Champion 136 rated horse being driven to stay anywhere near him while staying on the bridle. There is no contest in my view in terms of single performances in Europe, although Sakhee's Arc win for me is well up there also. None of the others mentioned here did this to such a high rated opponent. Of course you can question if Fantastic Light was at his best that day. You can also argue, justifiably, that Fantastic Light was far better over 10f, which is borne out by his expolits in the King George 2nd-Irish Champion Stakes 1st in 2001.
Secondly let me say that Montjeu should have been retired at that point because he couldn't replicate the performance. Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Thirdly let me say it was over 12f and I was only looking at 10f races here so left him out.
With Sea the Stars the impressive thing about him was his versality ground and distance wise. He never put up a single performance to rival Montjeu's performance that day but then again neither did Montjeu before or after. I would say their Arc wins were of a similar standard. He basically beat the same calibre of animal which Frankel beat last week but was nowhere near as impressive as we can see here. I'm not saying he couldn't have found a bit more if it was needed but he didn't blow then away in either winning distance(which isn't the most important thing) or in the style of victory. Indeed I would rate his Irish Champion win as average at best Group 1 standard. I do rate his Eclipse win a lot higher as I've said before. This was a true top class victory. His Arc victory as mentioned would be similar to Montjeu's in my opinion and consequently top class also, especially considering the issues he faced in that race.
It's a funny old business this rating of horses. Henry Cecil may be right though when he says it is next to impossible to rate accurately performances from years apart. Course it won't stop us doing it and it shouldn't.
Lastly let me be the first to say we all suffer from our own bias. So do Timeform and so do the official handicappers. I know you love Sea The Stars more than I do Garryowen2323. I love Montjeu, Dubai Millenium, Daylami and Sakhee more and unfortunately no matter how much I try to convinvce myself I am analysing without sentiment the truth is somewhat different, but not ridiculously different I would hope.
That said though I do put some stock into times. No matter how a race is run some horses are just faster than others. However in Group 1 races it is the ability to accelerate instantly off either a slow or quick pace which sets apart the champion from the very good. This is what you say with Montjeu that day. He just, without even being really asked, quickened to end the matter in 2 strides. Frankel did this too last week. Sea The Stars did it twice in the Eclipse, once at around the 500 metre mark to cruise to the lead and again about 150 metres out when Rip Van Winkle was coming at him with a surge of sustained speed. This is largely why I rate this as his best performance despite the 1l victory. I would have rated 10f as Rip's best distance and would have said this was his best performance....and at least 8lbs better than we saw from the vanquished in last week's Juddmonte.
Secondly I try (and fail miserably) to be unbiased in my opinion but sentiment always takes over in reality
Thirdly, the fact I was there to see STS live at Leopardstown and especially Arc day was just mind blowing. I have never in my life seen a more relaxed horse in both parade ring and winners enclosure. I've also never seen so many flash photographs and people in a winners enclosure and he didn't budge. Took it all in like a Usain Bolt saying "yes I'm the best of course you can take a few photos not a bother!". He pulled so hard in that Arc at the start and was trapped on the inside I still can not believe he wins everytime I see it. To win those Group One's in consecutive months at varying distances was just amazing.
Fourthly, those 4 you love so much were just that little bit early for me. I remember watching the races but they were just before my true love of racing began so again it comes down to bias. Agree completely with Cecil that different horses, different races, different speed, different opposition etc it's impossible to compare but that's what I love about this sport. Each generation has their true world class horse and we see some amazing races that you just can't help but compare and take good points from one horse you love to try downplay another who is equally as good if not better!
Agree with your Eclipse assessment too. To accelerate twice like that in the one race is trully amazing. AOb did absolutely everything he could to disrupt STS and beat him and couldn't. I am the first man to say the STS hasn't really beaten any superstar horses but still look at who he finished ahead of that day in Sandown.........
2. RVW - Won both Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in his next 2 races after the Eclipse. Trained on at 4 to be edged out by Canford Cliffs in Sussex, win the Juddmonte and 2nd in both Irish Champ Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II
3. Conduit - Won the St Leger, Breeders Cup Turf x2 and King George
4. Cima de Triomphe - Less said the better!
5. Steele Tango - Winner of a Group race and some good pots in Dubai later in his career
6. Jukebox Jury - Multiple Group winner all over Europe and dead heated in Irish St Leger
7. Twice Over - Won Champion Stakes and Juddmonte. Multiple Group winner and Group One placings
While none are superstars that's not a bad side cast of horses in behind!
Talking superstars. Aussie 2 year old superstar from last year Pierro is back on track this weekend as a 3 year old with the Cox Plate in mind!
It is brilliant isn't it? I fecking love it. I could talk, write or read about this all day long....well also trying to fit in a couple of hours of watching many races from now and in the past. There is nothing like it in my opinion.
Back to the point of horses accelerating more than once in a race. I love to see a horse who can crucify the field with one injection but for me seeing a horse quicken twice or even three times is absolutely special. It is a mark of an outstanding horse for me. Some but not all of the very top horses can do it but almost none of those rated less than 130(On my ratings) can. To be fair some of those include ones whose initial injection was enough. The second burst is needed mostly if you have another 130ish or above horse against you giving you the battle of your life for it.
Goldikova did it in the Breeders Cup. In one of them she accelerated twice and in one of the other two accelerated three times if I remember correctly. This was because she was in a position towards the back which required the initial burst to get in position. She was not rated 130(I'd have her about 126/127 at her best) but could manage this. Sulamani is another I remember who was not quite top class but quickened twice in the straight to win, if I remember corretly, The Canadian International at Woodbine back in 2004...I'll try and find the video to see if this was the right race.
Oh my goodness I think I'm going to have a couple of hours of watching old videos tonight....I might even make time for one of my favourite NH races of recent times, Moscow Flyer's win in the Tingle Creek....Pure class.
I'll always remember the BBC commentator for See the Stars's Arc. Along the lines of " he's got six or seven lengths to make up, he'll have to be a champion " then suddenly he was in the clear " he is a champion"
Last edited by Piquet; 31st-August-2012 at 09:13. Reason: Watched the race on you tube and corrected the commentary
“We’re in this mess, not because Fianna Fail policies have failed, but because they have succeeded.” They haven't gone away, you know"
Just checked and the Sulamani one was the Turf Classic at Belmont in 2003. Having changed pace to come wide he stumbled which would have been the end of the race for many but he was gathered up and accelerated in deep stretch to go on and win. I guess you'd have to say the field wasn't the best but it was still impressive. Commentary from the legend Tom Durkin helps too.
You could maybe say the first injection wasn't decisive so this possibly should not count but I was impressed enough with the recovery(though not enough to remember the correct race...I am not happy about that) to take a little bit of a liberty.
Simon Holt is my favourite English commentator and he definitely can add to one's enjoyment of an exciting race or top class performance and consequently can have you overdoing it in praise, at least at the moment and in the short term post race....but also if you watch old videos which should be strange. The Moscow Flyer one I referenced earlier being one case in point where he is saying ablout Geraghty looking around nonchalantly. Immediately in your head Moscow Flyer is head and shoulders above the rest....or when he won one of his Champion Chases and Simon said "Moscow Flyer is magnificent" in that dramatic tone he can generate at the business end of a race. Makes the hair on your neck rise and adds to your appreciation of the performance. If you had money down as I did it makes it better again.
Well I have had an enjoyable evening looking at some old races. I came across this one which I have not seen before. Now I know I don't write much here about sprinting but in actual fact I love it. The speed is truly incredible, especially when you are actually at the track. Anyway this is the Top 10 European Sprinters 1989 to 2010. Doesn't mean it is entirely accurate of course as it it the uploaders choice. I don't think he's too far out though. Now Dayjur was just a small touch early for me. I know he is top class though and I don't go rating with numbers sprinters. Also I absolutely loved Oasis Dream but I do think my favourite on this list was Stravinksy. I remember watching that day and my goodness it was unbelievable. He absolutely floored 'em.
Also came across this one which I think is really class, even if it doesn't contain some of my favourite flat horses. It does contain some of the top flat and national hunt horses of the last 30 years. With all the class on show here I think my favourite, for sentimental reasons to go with the class, though not suggesting best of these is the very last race(even though it is national hunt ). Wonderful and I'd find it hard to believe any lover of horseracing wouldn't love this one.
And for a bit of enjoyment here is John Francome calling Derek Thompson a tosser. How right he is. Indeed Thompson is worse than a tosser. He could only be accurately described by use of words I don't even like to think of, never mind write here on this friendly forum.
I've also been watching as many champion hurdles as possible tonight, both online and the ones I've got on DVD. Anyway Istsbraq's ones were of course fantastic and probably still the best of the last 20 years.
However I have to say I have a real soft spot for this one. I just love seeing a horse absolutely cantering along and then finding more than you could even hope for when asked the question. Magnificent.
Benny I would love to thank you for each of those posts! I may have lost an hour of work this morning but I couldn't care less!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWFqJ6gMdIw - Moscow's Tingle Creek win in 2004. Love it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdHllGQHOOg - About 6 minutes into this the 3 jumping the 2nd last together together. Loudest cheer I've heard live at a racecourse. And then to be back at the winners enclosure to hear a louder reception for 2nd and 3rd than the winner. Trully amazing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XigT5dQg8TY - Again 3 old stagers jumping the last together. Along the same lines as Rooser Booster, just kept finding more when there shouldn't have been more to find!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s5l8gxzkKY - Only clip (ignore awful music) I could find of Ouija Board v Alexander Goldrun in the Nassau Stakes in 06. Awesome finish from 2 awesome fillies. Some other good finishes included in this clip. If it's a turn of foot you want Geoge Washington was unreal at his best. The Rock.........what a horse. Giant's Causeway what a battler.
I wish I could do this all day!!!
Jonny Murtagh sacked as the Aga's jockey in Ireland. Very surprised by that I have to say, the best jockey riding for me. The day after Valyra was killed in Deauville, he would be very upset to lose such a lovely homebred filly maybe he has made a hasty decision which he will reverse when things calm down. I certainly hope so anyway because Aga, Oxx, Murtagh is probably the most lucrative combination in racing as far as I am concerned.
It seems to be a strange decision but then again we don't know what was going on. The Aga Khan is supposed to be something of a b-llocks though I think so any little thing could have set him off.
This is not good news for Murtagh though. He could end up having to go back to England now as he may not be able to pick up sufficient good rides in Ireland for a man of his ability. Any trainer / owner not afflicted with w-nkerism should be glad to have Murtagh on their horses which is one positive if he does have to head back across the water.