THERE is no doubt that racegoers who got to The Curragh on Saturday evening were treated to seeing a true champion in Camelot land the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and give trainer Aidan O’Brien an amazing tenth win in the Kildare Classic.
For all his achievements, and I very much hope that Camelot goes on to win the English St Leger and become the first horse since the great Nijinsky in 1970 to take the Triple Crown, I can’t help but feel a bit deflated about our Derby.
John Oxx’s Born To Sea threw down the gauntlet to the winner and for a moment I thought he might win, given an absolutely super ride by Johnny Murtagh I must say, but just five runners and a 1-5 favourite is very disappointing and just as bad is that four of them were trained by two men and none were a foreign contestant.
It seems that the days when 25 runners went to post and competitive betting heats were possible have gone now. While O’Brien is a superb trainer and a great ambassador for our country, is it a healthy situation that one man has trained the winner for the last seven years?
However, when I was discussing this very issue with one long-term Curragh punter whose first Irish Derby experience was when Ragusa struck for Paddy Prendergast in 1963, he did make a valid point.
The race did of course used to be known as the Irish Sweeps Derby combining the race with a sweepstake. This punter explained that the selling of tickets so that people could ‘win’ a runner helped to create bigger fields.
The racing in Ireland this week doesn’t really get my juices going so I’m going to have a look at Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in England in which I think Farhh has a great chance of overcoming our current favourite So You Think if he is supplemented.
The latter deserves to head the market after his impressive Prince Of Wales’s Stakes victory at Royal Ascot but, being honest, my selection, who was third, was the one to take from the race and very easily could turn around the form at the weekend.
My fancy reared as the stalls opened that day losing many lengths and then during the actual race, didn’t get a clear run under Frankie Dettori from before the furlong pole to inside the final furlong before absolutely flying home to go down by two and three-quarter lengths.
These mishaps may have been responsible for the Pivotal colt losing his unbeaten record but I think that he has every chance of returning to winning ways here.
Should Godolphin choose not to supplement him, look out for him and back him wherever he turns up next.
I am running out of racing space so I will quickly tip up Sea Moon ante post at a current 100-30 for the King George in three weeks time as I also think our favourite St Nicholas Abbey is opposable and I will explain why in that week’s column.
Hearty congratulations to Spain who absolutely demolished Italy in Sunday’s final of Euro 2012. The winners were easily the best team at the tournament and when they beat Ireland by the same score in the group stages, I did say then in this column that we might just have been beaten by a very good side and, for once, I’ve been proved right.
This Sunday it’s the British Grand Prix and I’m opting for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton at a current 100-30 to give the fans at Silverstone the result that they want.
He was fourth last year but is currently driving really well and should give punters a good run.
Saturday 3.45pm Sandown Farhh
Sunday 1pm Silverstone Lewis Hamilton
July 21 4.35 Ascot Sea Moon