A fool and his money are soon parted.
C4's so called horse racing expert, Jim McGrath, offered up his four to follow for the 2014 flat season. He included in his list the O'Brien trained Geoffrey Chaucer and stated that here we have an Epsom Derby winner in the making. McGrath, like so many who are quick to jump on the O'Brien bandwagon, without doing any homework (you know who you are) does not know actually what he is talking about. Geoffrey Chaucer, with Machiavellian on the dam side, had too much speed win an Epsom Derby. Regarding Geoffrey Chaucer O'Brien himself had said; "Geoffrey Chaucer doesn't want bad ground but he wouldn't mind an ease. He shows plenty of speed for a Montjeu." (yes, Aidan, that was the presence of Machiavellian on the dam side.") Geoffrey Chaucer duly ran in the Epsom Derby finishing 16/16 beaten 90Ls by the winner Australia, sent off at odds of 10/1, but not before plenty had supported him in the ante-post betting markets.
Marvellous, the winner of the 2014 Irish 1000 Guineas, was by Galileo, out of the Storm Cat mare You're so Thrilling, and boasted a damsire stamina index of 7.7f. Regarding Marvellous, John Magnier was quoted on the Sporting Life website, as saying;
"Aidan fancied her. In fact, I think he even asked Joseph to ride her and Joseph picked the other one. Her pedigree would indicate there's could be more to come to come, she's out of a sister to Giant's Causeway who won the Cherry Hinton. She's really well bred and probably bred to get a mile and a half. We'll have to listen to what they all say over the next few days but I couldn't see any reason why not (run in the Oaks) if all goes well."
So, a horse that had Storm Cat on the dam side was "probably bred to get a mile and a half." For those looking for some sort of comparison, I would point you in the direction of O'Brien's Misty for Me, who was by Galileo, out of the Storm Cat mare Butterfly Cove - boasing a stamina damsire index of 7.7f (the same as Marvellous). Having won the Irish 1000 Guineas, she was sent to the Epsom Oaks, where she finished a well beaten fifth. She subsequently won the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh over 10fs, but never managed to win beyond this distance. Sent off 4/1 fav for the 2014 Epsom Oaks, Marvellous finished a well beaten sixth, and duly failed to ever win beyond eight furlongs. For those in the know, she represented a signifciant lay opportunity, both in the Epsom Oaks, and the Irish Oaks one moth later, for which she was sent off a 7/2 chance (finished 8/10 - beaten 8 1/2ls). In 2013, O'Brien's Moth was sent off 5/2 fav for the Epsom Oaks, finishing a well beaten fourth, despite the fact that he had Seattle Slew (USA) (8.9f)) on the dam side. During a six race career, Moth failed to win beyond 7fs.
If you look through Galileo's best progeny to date, the 12f+ horses are those with sufficient stamina on the distaff side; ie, those that typically have a damsire stamina index of at least 9.2. Applying this to his entrants for the 2013 Epsom Derby, for example, we saw that Battle of Marengo (7.9) was a doubtful stayer along with Mars (9.1), whilst there are were no question marks as regards the winner Ruler of the World (9.9) and the third placed horse Galileo Rock (10.0). Perhaps, unsurprisingly, Galileo Rock also went on to run a decent third in the 2013 St Leger.
A new flat season, and the O'Brien circus rolls on. A plethora of well bred types, many out of Galileo dominate the ante-post list for all four English classics. John F Kennedy, a brother to Oaks winner Tapestry, and the mediocre Theatre and Why, will follow the same path as Galileo and High Chaparral in his attempt to win the Derby. There are no concerns here as regards stamina, although quite whether he has the class to with a Derby is open to question. A costly flop in the Ballysax Stakes. Gleneagles, with Storm Cat on the dam side, is as low as 10/1 with William Hill for the Derby (what planet do you guys live on?). Let's hope that he hacks up in the Guineas and that Magnier comes out and says "probably bred to get a mile and half." For now, we must content ourselves with O'Briens "He's by Galileo and they can be classy and sharp." Stamina concerns must surround both Jamaica and Ol'Man River, of whom O'Brien was quoted as saying; " (he has) plenty of pace and would not want it on the soft side." Jamaica also does not have the form in the book to be considered a leading classic contender. No questions marks whatsoever as regards Giovanni Canaletto who is a brother to Epsom Derby 2013 winner Ruler of the World. Sir Isaac Newton, looks ok on paper, but is a brother to Secret Gesture, who never seemed to get 12fs. Found, with Intikhab on the damside is an interesting horse, in so far as, Intikhab as a sire has got some good stayers (Glens Diamond)and the brilliant Oaks winner Snow Fairy - but not all of his progeny get a trip. A case of wait and see. Together Forever has bags of stamina, and may not be sharp enough to win a 1000 Guineas, but the Oaks should present her with no problems. As ever caution is advided when backing the O'brien horses early in the season. Firstly, their reputation often exceeds their actual ability, and second, unlike the Weld stable, this is not a stable for which money talks.
Niall O'Connor - See You On The Other Side Of The Trade.
|Horse||Sire||Dam Sire||Stamina on the Dam Side|
|John F Kennedy||Galileo||Danehill||(9.2f))|
|OL Man River||Montjeu||Mr Greeley||(8.3f)|
|Sir Isaac Newton||Galileo||Danehill||(9.2f))|
|Queen Nefertiti||Galileo||Danehill Dancer||(8.4f))|