Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Equine stars on show

A mixed week-end where the highweight fancy (recommended) on So You Think got me out of the woods. Crystal Gem also placed as advised, but Overdose, Zabarajad and Al Zir all flopped badly.

So You Think, the monster horse... what else more can I say? He's justifying all the confidence in him in spectacular fashion, and I just hope he steers clears of injuries and races to his potential the whole way. This horse is like the visual incarnation of the "Black Stallion" from Walter Farley's novel. At this time, I would be confident in recommending this horse against anything else racing at any distance from ten furlongs to 2 miles in Europe.

Overdose, the flop. The daggers have been out from all quarters on this horse since it was tamed in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. I must admit my confidence in it winning that sprint was misplaced. There are no real excuses to find for his defeat. The jockey can point to his need for cut in the ground, but I don't think it would have won even if it was softer. What I don't agree with however, is for critics to label this horse as having been over-hyped from day one and that he only beat inferior class. To those, I refer to the Prix L'Abbaye of a couple of years back where the "Budapest Bullet" trounced a genuine Group 1 field only to have the race annulled. So to me, he was clearly a real Group 1 performer, but it could very well be that he's no longer the same horse after all the injuries that have afflicted him in the past year, as demonstrated by his disappointing run on Saturday.I would love if he proved me wrong and got back to his best and confound his critics.

Super mare Goldikova made a winning return at a 9 furlong distance that stretched her to her limits. Signs are she has lost none of her racing abilities and I hope she can go to Ascot to take on Canfford Cliffs. If she's on her A game, there's every chance she'll teach the Hannon superstar a lesson, in my opinion.

Roderic O'Connor won the Irish Guineas and Richard Hughes is drawing the criticism for kicking Dubawi Gold home too late. That's one thing that I see Hughes doing all too often; he just seems to be the one getting off the bridle last on a fast finisher because he tries to get the minimum out of the horse to win. Maybe his idea is to preserve some of the horse for his next race. Well, it seems to have cost him big time in the Irish Classic and even his yard was non-so pleased with the ride.

Another non-judicious ride was on show when Animal Kingdom came too late to deny Shackleford in the Preakness at Pimlico. Velasquez had his mount way too far from the pace and thereby lost his chance for the Triple Crown. Regretful indeed.

Finally, in the Premier League, the last day was filled with high drama and emotions, as expected. It went down to the last minute with Birmingham and Blackpool losing the relegation battle in the end, after it looked like they could have a fighting chance to be safe. The only thing left in football right now is the big one at Wembley this Saturday with Man Utd and Barcelona clashing in the European Cup final. It promises to be a dream final between European super weights and I will certainly get to it as it nears.

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