Regardless of how he performs in the 2000 Guineas, the Aidan O'Brien trained Churchill will not be winning the 2017 Epsom Derby, for which he is a ridiculous 7/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook. Having said that, however, it is to be hoped that he hacks up in the 2000 Guineas, get's hyped up in the media as being that the greatest horse that Aidan O'Brien ever trained, and ends up at odds on for Epsom Derby glory. At which point we can all happily step in to lay him till the cows come home.
Ballydoyle, as short as 7/2 in the betting market, will not stay the trip at Epsom, and those rushing in to take the price need their heads examined. That he is being put forward by so-called horse racing experts, demonstrates two things; the degree and extent to which
experts are not experts and, perhaps, more importantly, the fact that significant betting exchange lay opportunities exist, for those that are both prepared to do a little homework and, go against the crowd.
Sixty runnings of both the English 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas have only thrown up one winner that was foaled in May; the very brilliant Rodrigo de Triano, who was born on the 27th of the month. Why does this fact matter (or, indeed, does it matter?)? The favourite for the 2016 running of the 2000 Guineas the O'Brien trained Air Force Blue, currently as low in the betting as 4/7 was born on the 2nd May. Those looking for a chink in the horses armour would therefore be right to highlight his age, and, the fact that he ran five times as a two year old (in such circumstances the risk of over-training a horse are very high). Accordingly we suggest a lay of Air Force Blue and an investment on Galileo Gold, who is currently trading at 25/1.
Applying the dosage system to the 2016 running of the 5f Tally Ho Stud European Breeders Fund Maiden, run at the Curragh, on 20 March,O'Connor duly reduced the field to just four runners. Rounding, who was trading at over 100/1 in the Betfair market was
duly dismissed and it was suggested to private clients that stakes were split amongst the other three selections, and that all possible permutations were covered. Mister Trader was an impressive run away runner of the race, with Comhghairdeas finishing in the runner up spot. The CSF paid a hansdsome 258.14. The dosage does still work: just don't tell anybody!
Of those that have completed the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby double only the very brilliant Sea the Stars in 2009 recorded a time that was comparable to that recorded by Galileo Gold in the 2016 2000 Guineas. Having said that, there could not be a greater contrast as regards the stamina in their respective pedigrees, and quite frankly, the notion, put forward by the likes of Tom Segal that Galileo Gold should run in the Epsom Derby is a total joke. Segal needs to brush up on his sectionals. As regards the Irish 2000 Guineas there is a very clear case to be made that Galileo Gold was sent to the well too soon on the back of these sectionals, and I for one shall be backing him to redeem himself next time out in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
At 16/1 in the Epsom Oaks betting market, we see Cumani's Lady of Dubai, an impresive winner at Goodwood, and also a daughter of Dubawi. No concerns as regards stamina on the damside with this one. Throw into the mix Cumani's record with Dubawi's progeny, and you have a horse that is clearly over-priced. Certain to shorten significantly in the betting market if given the go ahead for the race, and it would be no surprise whatsoever were she to hit the frame at a double figure price.
I am quite happy to nail my colours to the mast, and to assert that there is no reason at all why Golden Horn will not get the trip at Epsom. And, indeed, in what is a poor year, with most of the O'Brien hotpots already sunk, there is no reason at all why he cannot win the race.
Australia ran the perfect Epsom Derby trial in the 2000 Guineas, whilst his pacemaker in the Leopardstown Breeders Cup Juevenile Turf Trial Stakes, Kingfisher, landed the Dee Stakes at Chester. The form of the 2000 Guineas was franked, when the tenth placed horse, The Grey Gatsby came out and won the Dante Stakes at York, before landing the French Derby. Kingman, who finished second in the English 2000 Guineas won the Irish 1000 Guineas etc...Head and shoulders above everything else on form, he is very much the one to beat.
Dawn Approach and Magician will not stay the trip. With question marks hanging over the first five in the betting market, the percetage call has to be O'Brien's Ruler of the World, who is currently still available at 12/1 in the village.
On his only his third start, Fabre's son of Dubawi, New Bay very much caught the eye when 3 lengths second of 18 to stable-companion Make Believe in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, staying on strongly, having been in last place throughout most of the the race. Open to significant improvement, and likely to relish the trip, he makes the most appeal here.
The fact that Coolmore are thinking of running Gleneagles in the 2015 Epsom Derby, does not augur well as to the prospects of the other O'Brien runners entered in the race (lay them all). Take those runners out of the equation, and you are left with a maximum of three/four runners with a realistic chance of winning the race. Supposed stamina concerns as regards the front two in the betting market, combined with questions as regards the ability of Elm Park to handle the track, may persuade the Coolmore posse that the race is there for the taking with a classy crack miler; that they are never going to get a better chance to win the race with a horse representing the Galileo/Storm Cat cross.
As so called experts in breeding and pedigrees Coolmore would do well to swerve the Epsom Derby with Gleneagles and instead, head straight to Royal Ascot, where the horses talents as a natural miler will be seen to best purpose.
The 2015 running of the Oaks and Stoute's Crystal Zvezda is challenging for favouritism, following her recent victory in a 10f race at Newbury. All well and good, except that anyone who knows Dubawi's progeny well, knows that the presence of Mark of Esteem on the dam side does not augur well as regards this ones chances of seeing out the trip at Epsom. At 16/1 in the Epsom Oaks betting market, we see Cumani's
Lady of Dubai, an impresive winner at Goodwood, and also a daughter of Dubawi. No concerns as regards stamina on the damside with this one.
Throw into the mix Cumani's record with Dubawi's progeny, and you have a horse that is clearly over-priced. I have written my analysis of the Epsom Oaks elsewhere, but, suffice to say, it will be no great surprise were Ryan Moore to swerve Crystal Zvezda, in favour of one of the O'Brien runners. If you have steamed into the horse, ask yourself why, and start to say your prayers. You could get lucky - but since when was betting supposed to be about luck. Crystal Zvezda has too much speed to win the Oaks, and for students of pedigree, she represents a significant lay. With regard to the 2015 running of the Arc, Fabre's New Bay is an impressive sort, but he may not get the trip in the Arc.
Niall O'Connor (bettingmarket.com, 2003) picking up the gauntlet from Mordin et al, clearly demonstrated that the dosage index
retained a significance over and above its reputation as a tool for spotting winners of the Epsom
Derby. He demonstrated this point best when applying the index to 5f sprints, providing his followers
with eleven of the last fifteen winners of the Brocklesby Stakes . At the centre of his theory, lies
the simple tweek, that in order to refine dosage and make it more appicable to the races in question,
one must also pay attention to the stamina on the dam side. Having already demonstrated the significance
of this characteristic in relation to uncovering middle distance performers, not least, among the
progeny of Galileo, O'Connor has also clearly demonstrated that this feature is of prime importance when seeking to
crack 5f sprints. The 2015 Brocklesby Stakes stands as a case in point. Ravenhoe, available at
a healthy 6/1 in the early exchanges, was joint top in relation to the dosage index, but significantly
clear in relation to stamina on the dam side - won 7/2 (from an early 13/2).
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. Geoffrey Chaucer also taught
dosage index purists a salutary lesson - many of them having him down as a future St Leger horse. He was last seen out running over 7fs!! - finishing third in a four runner race at Fairyhouse. God only knows where he will show up next.
Those that argue that Kingman will have no problem with the trip in the Guineas, point to another son of Ivincible Spirit, Moonlight Cloud. Those with longer memories throw into the mix
French Derby winner Lawman. Those that think that Kingman may still not get a mile may point to the
Barry Hills trained Capatin Marvelous to back up their argument. On balance, it is my strong belief that the trip will not pose Kingman a problem and that it will be a better horse that beats him on the day, rather than anything else. Having said that, I do not think that there is a better mile prospect in the field.
"The case against Marvellous winning the Oaks is pretty watertight : She has insufficient stamina on the dam side: no horse with Storm Cat as their damsire is ever going to win an English Classic. The fact that Marvellous is drawn in two will not help her chances. It is highly significant that on the morning of the race she is being taken on by the Tabor owned Bet Victor at a best-priced 4/1. There is every possibility that the race will come to soon for her, following on from her gallant effort in the Irish 1000 Guineas on soft. Moore was last at the three furlong marker, and had to pass most of the field; that performance may well have just left its mark on her. The in and out form of the O'Brien stable has to be a concern: Battle of Marathon (11/10) and Masai (Evens) finished last and second last at Tipperary on the eve of the Oaks."
William Haggas is a good trainer, but not a fashionable one. The sort of guy who is never going to top the favourite trainer polls.
Some blame his face, others his manner, Haggas gives the impression of not being particularly bothered either way. Haggas has trained two
British Classic winners - Shaamit, winner of the 1996 Derby and Dancing Rain, winner of the 2011 Oaks. In the 2015 renewal of the Epsom Derby, Haggas saddled Storm the Stars, who duly finished third, eight lengths behind the winner Golden Horn. In terms of running style it was not a run that screamed St Leger - the horse travelled well throughout and held his position, rather than finishing off with a withering late run, but, nonetheless, it marked him down as a good horse. We will learn more in due course. As for now, it would seem pertinent to note that his dam is a half-sister to Giants Causeway - take that as you will. This analysis which looks at matters such as dosage et al,
will be updated as and when I see fit.
The guessing game that is the breeding industry, begets the guessing game that is the Epsom Derby/Oaks ante-post betting markets.
Every year, punters are skinned betting on what they believe to be the latest Aidan O'Brien wonder horse. The 2014/2015 was no exception.
2015/2016 promises more of the the same. For your delictation we present forty two year olds from the Aidan O'Brien yard. The dearest yearling sold anywhere in the world in 2014 was Londonderry Air, a Galileo half-brother to Harbinger bought by Coolmore for 2,600,000gns at Tattersalls October. O'Brien will also be hoping to campaign the 1.5 million Euros Goffs Orby sale-topper, The Major General, a Galileo full brother to the 1,000 Guineas-placed pair Cuis Ghaire and Gile Na Greine. Air Vice Marshall, already a winner of odds of 2/9 was a $2,200,000 Purchase at Keeneland 2014, with Schubert a $1,300,000 Purchase at the same sale.
In a nutshell, the early days of the 2015 horse racing flat season serve to reveal, once again, that the majority of punters, having no knowledge of pedigrees, are betting blind when it comes to Aidan O'Brien and his Ballydoyle inmates.
The Dante Stakes is without doubt the ultimate Epsom Derby Trial. Over the past thirty years, eight winner of the race have gone on to claim Epsom Derby glory. Six winners of the Dante, during the same period, were placed at Epsom. In 2015 the John Gosden trained Golden Horn became the latest horse to complete the double.
Every year without fail we will be told that the Derrinstown Stakes is a great Epsom Derby trial - it isn't. We will let the facts speaks for themselves - which is something that others should perhaps get used to, now and again.
The brilliant filly Treve is 3/1 favourite with les bookmakers anglais for a third successive win in the Qatar Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe, which will be run at Longchamp on October 4 2015. What the statistics reveal is that the draw still matters, with only two winners in the last twelve years (Dalakhani and Treve) racing from a stall number higher than nine. Stall one is a coffin box and only one horse (Carroll House Drawn 16) has managed to win from a draw higher than 15 in the last twenty six years, and that was on good ground. Whereas a brilliant horse may win from a poor draw, a moderate horse will most certainly not.
What the statistics reveal, is that the majority of winners of the Grand National
are returned at odds of 20/1 or less, but are not favourite; they are
most likely to be 9 or 10 year olds, although we can no longer say with confidence that they are likely to be weighted somewhere between 10.00-10.13, as six of the last eleven winners of the race have been weighted either 11.0 or higher - a factor that can be atrributed to the fact that the race has consistently attracted better horses during this period. Every winner over the past ten years had also won a race valued at more than 17K prior to landing the big one, and had previously won over 3m. Twenty three of the last twenty four winners of the race had run at least three times during the season, prior to taking the race, with twenty one of the last twenty three having run between four and six times. Nine of the last ten winners had achieved at least one top-three finish in their last three runs.
The term Dominant Classicity coined by Leon Rasmussen, describes a dosage profile in which the total number of Classic points exceeds the total of all the other points in the profile. In simple terms, dosage theory seperates a horses inherited aptitudes into five categories - ranging from speed (Brilliant) to stamina (Professional). A horse's dosage profile reveals how many points he has has inherited in each of the five categories. In his seminal work on dosage theory, "Dosage, Pedigree and Performance," Dr Steven Roman stated that Dominant Classicty is a feature found in only 18% of the total thoroughbred population; "and its effect on performance can be dramatic." He also stated, elsewhere, that "in general, dominant classicity correlates with the ability to stay a distance of ground and a possible affinity for turf racing even in the absence of stamina contributions from the Solid and Professional aptitudinal groups." In terms of the actual dosage profile, Classic chefs-de-race are most often associated with the three-year old classic races. Dominant Classicity represents a combination of more and/or closer up Classic chefs-de-race in a pedigree; the concentration of these, representing superior breeding and indicating class. As regards the Epsom Derby: 10 of the last 15 winners had Dominant Classicity in their dosage profile.
At the height of his powers Nick Mordin was the man. His book "Betting for a Living" published in 1992 was ground breaking,
and became the bible for many of us at that time. Mordin was responsible for introducing UK punters to the Dosage Index - and his greatest moment with this tool came in 1992, when he correctly predicted that Rodrigo De Triano would not get the trip in the Epsom Derby (if only they had had Betfair in those days!). In homage to Mordin, who has sadly left our shores to take up a post in Moldova, I provide
a list of the Dosage Profiles of Epsom Derby Winners between 1940 - 2015.
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. As with any rule, there are of course exceptions, but it is pertinent to note that for every Was, there is always an Al Naamah.