SATURDAY was a momentous day for Hayley Turner as she captured her first top-class victory with a magnificent ride on Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
I’ve always thought that Hayley is a brilliant horsewoman and she thoroughly deserves this victory after years on the sport’s coalface.
In fact Hayley is a little bit unlucky that she’s managed this achievement in the same year that there is a lot of competition with the likes of Rory McIlroy etc otherwise I think that she would certainly be a contender for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
This Sunday features another Darley-sponsored event, the Irish Oaks, at The Curragh and I think Sheikh Mohammed and his racing entity Godolphin can capture some of their own prize money courtesy of English 1,000 Guineas heroine Blue Bunting, who is a 9-2 chance at time of writing.
Sheikh Mohammed won this event three years’ running with four horses between 1987 and 1989 as his Diminuendo and Melodist dead-heated in the middle year and I believe that he has another ideal candidate in the selection.
Her victory in the English Guineas was something of a surprise as connections felt that she would be better over a longer trip, but the form was franked when runner-up Together was beaten the same distance by Irish Oaks possible Misty For Me in the Irish Guineas.
My fancy was then disappointing in the English Oaks when fourth to Dancing Rain, who reopposes at The Curragh, but she should definitely have finished higher as it wasn’t Frankie Dettori’s finest hour as he was hit with a 10-day ban for not riding out for third and there were other excuses.
She took a keen hold at Epsom, perhaps due to there being no pace, which certainly didn’t help and, in my opinion, she was one of those horses that just don’t act on the unique track.
Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford stated that she was in good form last week and he’s looking forward to seeing her in action again and it’s great that she seems to act on any ground, although Crisford did warn that he didn’t want to see an extremely wet track.
She was sent off 9-4 favourite to win in England so her current price does strike me as a bit of value.
Saturday’s feature of the two-day Curragh fixture is the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes and I’m really hoping that Pathfork makes his likely much-awaited comeback after losing his unbeaten record in the English 2,000 Guineas.
The selection was an amazing 26 lengths behind Frankel at Newmarket, but I think that he’s much better than that and that was such a strange race with nothing really getting in a blow at the emphatic winner, who I have said before could just be a freak racehorse with an amazing amount of talent.
I don’t think a return to 7f will be any hindrance to Pathfork and I’m sure that you will see him in better races later on.
Golf’s Open Championship tees off at Royal St George’s on Thursday and I’m wondering if
Lee Westwood can finally get his majors duck off his back.
If Rory McIlroy performs like he did in the US Open he’ll be difficult to peg back, but he’ll never be the same price as he was before that again and as we’re paying seven places each-way, Westwood is quite attractive at 9-1 as it’s not inconceivable that he could win.
My fancy has managed a top-three finish in five of the last seven majors and just slight improvement will see him go close in Kent.
Saturday The Curragh 3.40pm Pathfork
Sunday The Curragh 3.40pm Blue Bunting
Thursday 12.00pm The Open Championship Lee Westwood each-way