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\o/ The Flat is Back \o/

Perhaps not quite in the *UK, but Ireland’s flat turf season got under way last Sunday; the first race being my favourite kind, a 2yo maiden which was awarded to my pick Whip Rule (10/1) by the Stewards. A win is a win as they say. Then last night Dylan Thomas had his first runner ever: Snowflake Dancer who won very narrowly at Dundalk over 5 furlongs. Today, I can hardly contain myself; not only do we have the Dubai World Cup but also our own Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Now of course, the Dubai card is the one that captures all the interest: will Twice Over manage to win? I hope so. I am more taken up with this horse, Nideeb, who goes in the Winter Derby. Nideeb has to contend with the morning money for the mare Pachattack, and the quality veteran Dansili Dancer. My first ever pin-up was a horse – Black Beauty – this horse is my idea of a very beautiful animal. I will be backing him on that basis alone.

Nideeb at the Rowley Mile

By the by, last night I was getting my gambling eye in for today and had a bit of luck on the all-weather evening meetings at Dundalk and Wolverhampton. Teeth gnashingly, I backed a horse called Wrecking Crew to win in one race, after my sister who comments on here from time to time. The Wrecking Crew was duly beaten into second. I totally missed the very obvious reverse forecast until it was pointed out to me later. The race was won by Barton Bounty, my sister’s full commenting moniker: The Wray Barton Wrecking Crew.

I am certain she will not give a flying fig either way this morning. After having a right rum do with her back recently: bed-bound for days, crutches, tramadol and everything, a very grateful client has purchased her an iPad 2. If only I had invested more wisely last night I could have joined the queue for one too…

(Am now thinking a Twice Over, Cape Blanco reverse forecast might do the trick.)

*We have a 2yo maiden to open @ Kempton this afternoon. My fancy will be the favourite from the Turner yard.

The Eclipse: the partial or total obscuring of one celestial body by another

The actual horse Eclipse, whom the race is named after, was born on April Fool’s Day in 1764 during a solar eclipse.  He went on to win all his races, and was eventually retired due to lack of competition.

“Eclipse first, the rest nowhere” was coined during his short career.  Like most great horses he had his idiosyncracies, being boisterous and bad-tempered.  His running style – carrying his nose near the ground -made him so hard to ride that only one jockey, John Oakley, partnered him in his 18 race career, all won hands and heels.  Rumour has it that Eclipse’s best friend was a Psalm squawking parrot…

It is reported that at least 80% of today’s racehorses have Eclipse in their pedigrees and he himself was a direct descendant of the great foundation sire the Darley Arabian.

It is therefore apposite to note that Singspiel who I met once at a distance at Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud was sadly put down yesterday after a *long illness.  Today Singspiel’s daughter Dar Re Mi lines up against the boys in the race at Sandown.  I have checked that Singspiel and his daughter are in the 80% of thoroughbreds that have Eclipse runing through their veins and they do.  As you go back through horses’ pedigrees the different strands become so convoluted and the pathways so many that I couldn’t look at every bit of Eclipse that they inevitably have but I can confirm that Eclipse and Creeping Polly produced King Fergus who appears at least twice in Singspiel’s pedigree, not to mention a bit of Eclipse and Sportsmistress producing the strangely named Pot-8-Os.

Pot-8-Os Got his name from a stable lad who was asked to put “Potatoes” on his corn bin but misspelled it (possibly as “Potoooooooo”). It was said to have amused his lordship (Earl of Grosvenor), and so it appears in the General Stud Book. Later it was shortened to Pot-8-Os for general use.      


Anyway, I am sure most of the other runners today have Eclipse in the pedigree too, although it would be interesting to try and find the 20% who don’t and put a line through them.  Without the time to indulge in a morning of poking around  in pedigrees over 250 years old you will have to settle with my summary.

I want Dar Re Mi to win obviously, but the last time I went to the Eclipse wanting a mare to win Christophe Soumillon got poor Ouija Board murdered round the last bend and she came back in about 5th place with cuts and bruises.  I can’t even remember who won that day, and I can’t be faffed to look it up now.  Maybe it will come back to me.

Dar Re Mi may find 10f a bit sharp is the conventional wisdom, but she is a course and distance winner.  Zacinto will be popular, but is stepping up from his usual mile for the first time and for that reason I don’t fancy him.  With Twice Over I am always a little bit cautious especially since he didn’t fire in this race last year when I am sure I backed him, but a Cecil win is always a heartwarmer.  I won’t back his today though because my heart is with the mare.

Of the others: Viscount Nelson, Sri Putra and Mawatheeq – I am not convinced.

So come on Dar Re Mi – do it for your dad Singspiel and your 30Greats Grandad Eclipse.

Poor Singspiel succumbed to laminitis

The $10 Million Dollar Question

Because I am in a shocking rush this morning I wrote this in earnest last night:

Who will win this afternoon’s (or is that evening @ 17.45?) richest race.

I had it all sorted earlier, but now I am having a wobble. Here’s the thing. I stood head on to the Rowley Mile two years ago whilst my money rode on Twice Over. He came to win the Craven Stakes in good style just in front of the grandstand and then just didn’t go past the Raven. And we all know how that horse’s career turned out. So Twice Over is good, but I am a bit worried the clue is in the name and I’ll get mugged off Twice Over.

On the flipside Mastery did me a right turn on Town Moor last September. Added to that he is by my new most favourite sire Sulamani. The trouble is, even in my most devoted mindset, I can see that Sulamani is an influence for stamina and the 1m2f is going to take a bit of toe to win.

When I woke up this morning I had a thought pop into my head.

Gio Ponti = Joe Bridge = Bother

Now I don’t know what to do. Think on as someone older and wiser and more Northern might say.

I feel a bit happier back on Town Moor for the Brocklesby. There will be some lovely 2 yos on show, some by new season sires like Proclamation, Librettist and Iceman. Given the ground I am going to take a leap into the complete unknown and side with Diplomasi. He’s not quite yet two and my record in this race is not brilliant, but Clive Brittain is in roaring form, so in a pin-sticking exercise the shiny thing lands there.

3.25 Kempton / South Easter
4.00 Kempton / Jibouti
Brocklesby Donny / Diplomasi
Lincoln Donny / Smokey Oakey – seems a big price for a former winner with his ground. For the real deal as to his chances visit I will not have a chance until later.

Meydan now looks a bit of a mess:

Mastery/Twice Over/Gio Ponti and Gitano Hernando but surely not enough gears…

Smokey Oakey wins the Lincoln in 2008

Zenyatta wins her 15th start (record 15 starts:15 wins)

In her comeback race yesterday, the first since her “unretirement” the US Supermare gave weight away, found trouble in running, but still managed to bully her way up the inside rail to win by a length and a quarter. 

This horse is astounding.  She epitomises everything I look for in a racemare.  Jolie laide to say the least, her impressive physique still manages to ensure she makes room when she needs it for her last to first antics.  Watch the race at last years Breeders’ Cup as she becomes the first mare to win the Classic if you need more convincing, or just watch it anyway for fun. As a side note to myself she is by Street Cry and her pedigree is notable for the absence of Northern Dancer.

As we await the spectacle at Cheltenham I can’t help wondering if we are missing a trick to promote jump racing’s main event. This advert trails Zenyatta as she attempted her 11th straight victory; surely Kauto’s attempt at a third Gold Cup is worth a bit of promotional airtime.

Maybe without the handfuls of dirt and dodgy outfit though…

Seeing as Zenyatta had Twice Over in third in the Classic I am warming to this fellow’s chances in the Dubai World Cup and then some. As it goes, he owes me for letting the Raven past in the Craven the year before last.

Henry Cecil lifts the World Cup in the desert, yes I can see it 🙂