Monday, March 28, 2011

Victory for Japan

That was a superb World Cup meeting. No hard-luck stories, the best on the day won. Japan won the Big One with Victoire Pisa, and there is so much we can talk about regarding this as we go down memory lane. El Condor Pasa gave a glimpse of their rise in the thoroughbred world by nearly winning the Arc. Heart's Cry confirmed their deep talent by winning the Schema Classic. Deep Impact almost put them on top of the world in an ill-fated Arc attempt. Delta Blues and Pop Rock gave them the big breakthrough in the Melbourne Cup. And now Victoire Pisa and Transcend won them the richest race of them all. Fantastic! and I hope there is more to come from the land of the Rising Sun.

Looking at my recommendations, all bar one of them (Gio Ponti/Musir) were correct, and the Place couplings were good as at least one of the horses made the frame (Rocket Man, River Jetez, Mahbooba) at favourable odds. This is how my 10 predictions came through;

1. Bad one to start with. Gio Ponti and Musir were close but ended up 5th and 7th. I thought for a moment that Gio Ponti would win it as he entered the straight menacingly on the outside, but his turn of foot couldn't make the difference as the leaders had enough in the tank with the slow pace. Both were not outclassed but were not good enough on the night.

2. Good lay prediction on Cape Blanco, but just. Cape Blanco ran a brilliant race to come out 4th. He surprised me and almost made me eat my words! I have renewed respect for him.

3. It was always going to be a long shot with Irish Flame as I mentioned.

4. The Duty Free did not go to one of the mares but River Jetez ran as expected but fell to another brilliant horse in Presvis. Raihana was the unlucky story of the race as she couldn't find a clear run in the straight. Had she done so, I think she would have finished 3rd.

5. No contest for Rocket Man there.

6. Mahbooba was in the first 3 as mentioned. Reem was out of it, but overall, great coupling for a Place.

7. The lay on Mendip was spot-on as it was always going to be difficult for him on grass. This horse should rather be tried on dirt in America or stay on the synthetic. I don't know why Godolphin didn't enter him in the DWC itself.

8. De Kock had a good night with a few Place earnings, but failed to win a race. So a "huge" night was overstating it.

9. Godolphin won the races that were mentioned they were most apt to win; the Mile, the UAE Derby and the Scheema Classic. All the stars came aligned on the night on the night for them to win all three. This Khawlah is a filly to follow in England. Same bloodlines as Sea the Stars, so this explains a lot about her abilities.

10. I hope you enjoyed the meeting, I thought it was the best of the past few years!

Before I end this topic, I'm reading the jockey comments concerning the DWC race and a few of them are plainly complaining about the lack of pace in the race doing their mount no favours. From Soumillon (Musir), to Shea (Golden Sword) to Dominguez (Gio Ponti), they are "wishing" the pace could have been quicker. I'm no jockey, but for any punter, it's unnerving to hear such things; if they thought the pace was unsuitable during the race, wouldn't it have made sense to do something about it rather than sit still? Or were they tactically bound to stay put? Being free on the outside, Shea and Dominguez had every chance to make a move but didn't. Demuro on Victoire Pisa made his move to control the race despite an early setback, and the result is a victory that is down to the jockey's tactical prowess as well as alertness.

Finally, I'm amusingly reading about Rooney's yellow card during the Wales v/s England, which rules him out of the next Euro qualifier game. I'm ok with Capello usually reminding offenders before the match whenever they are one yellow card away from suspension. Does him failing to do so, excuse the fact that Rooney did not know about this significant detail entering the game? These footballers are supposed to be "professional"... I think Rooney is an awesome player, but what kind of things going on in a footballer's mind that explains missing something as important as this?

Have a good week!

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