THE opening day of Royal Ascot is a day that I’ll never forget with my mammy Sabena winning the King’s Stand Stakes with her horse Sole Power.
Mind you I think I and anyone else who backed him might well have suffered from heart failure as he was still just about last with a furlong to go before winning rider Johnny Murtagh came with a late rattle to outpoint Shea Shea.
It was always the plan to come late and I think Murtagh qualifies for quote of the week when he told me before the race: “Your mammy is going to be worried. Tell her not to worry!”
Looking for something a bit darker for the future, I think third-placed Wind Fire ran a stormer in the Norfolk Stakes where she came up against a good horse in winner No Nay Never and the runner-up Coach House was also a colt.
When she goes back to a race against her own sex, admittedly she might not be a great price, I think she’ll have a huge shout in something like the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket’s July Meeting (better known as the Cherry Hinton Stakes for readers who prefer old money!)
It’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby day at The Curragh this Saturday and I think Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather could make English Derby hero Ruler Of The World work hard for his money.
The Carlow wizard talked about this fellow as a potential Derby candidate at the beginning of the season but then Dawn Approach, who bounced back sensationally at the Royal extravaganza last week, became his Epsom runner almost through default.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but connections were probably fully entitled to have a bash at the Epsom classic as Dawn Approach won the English Guineas so well and Godolphin would love an English Derby winner more than anything.
It didn’t work out this time but Bolger is left with a very nice candidate for our Derby and Trading Leather looked very good indeed last time when putting in an awesome show to master Lines Of Battle by three and a half lengths in a Listed race at The Curragh earlier this month.
Ruler Of The World will be a warm order at the weekend but my fancy certainly wasn’t stopping over 10 furlongs and will almost certainly be better suited by an extra couple of furlongs on this occasion.
I’m hoping genuine good ground will prevail for Dermot Weld’s Voleuse De Coeurs in Sunday’s Curragh Cup as she really likes a bit of ease and you couldn’t help but be impressed with her performance in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.
She forged clear in the closing stages under stable jockey Pat Smullen and her wily trainer immediately described her as ‘progressive’ and talked about her as a possible candidate for next year’s Ascot Gold Cup.
More immediately there is the little matter of this race and then, please God, the Irish Leger and given a suitable surface, she’ll take a bit of beating.
It’s the British Grand Prix on Sunday and I’m opting for Mark Webber of Red Bull at what I think is a big price of 8-1. Webber, who is based in the UK, won the race in both 2010 and last year and was third in between.
There’s just something about the Australian’s driving that means he is ideally suited by the very quick corners at Silverstone and it’s something else to see the cars flying around Chapel Corner which is so fast it’s mind-boggling.
My fancy has been driving well recently, in the top four in Monaco and in Canada, and I think he’ll go close.
Saturday The Curragh 6.30pm Trading Leather
Sunday Silverstone 1pm Mark Webber to win the British Grand Prix
Sunday The Curragh 5.15pm Voleuse De Coeurs