Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Ebor Meeting, Day One

Well, it’s Day 1 of the Ebor meeting, how could I not write something? I was actually going to go tomorrow and Wednesday, for the Juddmonte and Ebor days, but I’m a bit skint in truth, having finally got round to putting that money for Dublin aside. I’ll be paying Kenny in the next few days and booking trains too. It’s only £7 to get in at the cheap seats (£7?! A Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and three Class 2 races! York owns) but after travel, drinks, food and if I have a bad day’s gambling… I’d better not chance it. It would have been nice to finally get up close and personal with the likes of four time Group 1 winner Duke Of marmalade (pictured).

Not much to update on betting wise, since my last update I’ve had two 1 point each way bets, both of which just failed to place.

Right, let’s get stuck in. For those not clued in, the Juddmonte International Stakes (formerly the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup) is a 1 mile 2 furlong Group 1 race, for 3 year olds and older. Last year, Authorized & Frankie Dettori took it down, completing a double with the Derby, a feat that New Approach will be trying to emulate this time out. It should be a tasty race, because it’s been bucketing down in Yorkshire for fucking ages now and the ground will be heavy – on good ground this would in my opinion be a very straightforward race, but it’s going to a mudbath.

This race, on paper at least, is all about the top two in the market. Seven of the last ten winners had won a Group 1 before, two of the three that hadn’t had put in good showings in top company and the third won a Group 2 which later was upgraded to a Group 1. Basically, you ain’t winning this on a nag that hasn’t done it in Group 1 company. For me, this rules out nearly everything: Championship Point (best G1 run 9/12), Halicarnassus (best 4/6, behind Duke Of Marmalade), Red Rock Canyon (best 3/6, but well beaten), Rob Roy (best 2/8 but two years ago, too old to win this now, not won since 2006), Pipedreamer (best 3/12, behind Duke Of Marmalade) and Stubbs Art (best 3/15, but consistently held by New Approach).

Linngari looks almost certain not to run and Phoenix Tower, although he’s run well in this company with three Group 1 second places, he’s been held 4 lengths by Duke Of Marmalade and has never run on anything softer than good!

This leaves us with New Approach, Duke Of Marmalade and Multidimensional. The latter is interesting because he won a Group 3 last time out in the mud and has won a weaker race on soft ground. This should tempt the each way thieves (16.5 on Betfair as I type) but as I said before, trends suggest you need a good Group 1 run and his three results at this level have been 7/8, 9/11 and 5/12.

As we all know, because I’ve churned it out a million times now, the draw is important at York. The lower the draw, the better the chances, especially on softer ground. Although it is only a tiny positive, as both are drawn fairly centrally, Duke Of Marmalade is drawn in #5 and New Approach is in #7 of the 11 stalls.

In over 20 years, only four three year olds have won this race and just two of those have been in the last 15 years (Giant’s Causeway in 2000 and Authorized last year) while four year olds have taken down half of the last 20 renewals and six of the last ten. Surely this has to be a huge positive for the Duke over Jim Bolger’s nag?

Further positives for the Ballydoyle representative: favourites have won half of the last ten renewals and those that sit in just behind the pace perform well at the course, especially on softer ground. New Approach tried a, um, new approach in the Derby last time out, by holding up early. Those tactics don’t fit the trends at York so unless we see a return to the front running tactics, that’s a further negative.

New Approach has won a race on soft ground, beating Henrythenavigator and Curtain Call no less, but running on soft ground over seven furlongs is different than running an extra 3 furlongs on heavy ground. You may also remember me questioning it’s stamina before the 2000 Guineas (which it didn’t win) and before the Derby (which it did win, quite impressively). I think if we ran that Derby again, we wouldn’t get the same result and I believe the heavy ground could find him out. It’s also worth mentioning that the Duke has won a Group 1 on soft ground and over 11 furlongs at that.

2.44 on Betfair at the time of writing. At risk of becoming a Coolmore whore like Will, I’d advise lumping on Duke Of Marmalade. For me, it’s the better horse of the two, backed up by trends and form. The stable is in form, as we all know, the jockey is probably the best in the world right now and … what more can I say?

I will also be having an e/w punt at a good price (10.00 on Betfair just now) on Drill Sergeant in the 16:40 race. Another prominent runner (which as I mentioned before, suits at York, especially on softer ground) who knows what to do in the mud, he was well beaten into second on heavy ground last time out, but the winner was off a feather-like 8 stone and all the talk is of him being a listed class horse; Drill Sergeant beat the rest of the field by over three lengths. The winning time was a second quicker than the Group 3 race run over the same distance at the same meeting. This looks a great value bet.

York 15:25
Duke Of Marmalade
3 pts

York 16:40
Drill Sergeant
1.5 pts e/w


Mountain Man said...

The whole Ebor Festival is now cancelled. The weather is actually dry today, but the course is like a lake still. It's a huge blow to the local economy; it's the biggest meeting and busiest week in York.

moDtheGod said...

Two completely different races in prospect tomorrow, will still punt e/w on Drill Sergeant, but I'll be happier if the ground's soft and will probably leave the Duke alone at odds on.

moDtheGod said...

Drill Sergeant overnight favourite!! Fuck's sake, was so confident the other night at a huge price. Gah!