Friday, May 18, 2012

Return of the Greatest Miler

The Lockinge, a race that has been a curse to many of its winners in recent years, when you think of the likes of Hawk Wing, Rakti and Creachadoir etc, who then never won again. This year, Frankel looks poised to win it and let's hope that this will not stop his winning sequence because so much is expected of him this season.

This is a race that Frankel will win even with the presence of Excelebration, possibly the second best miler in the world after the Galileo colt. The naysayers will mention that Frankel is vulnerable because of the injury he incurred a few weeks back that disturbed his training for nearly 10 days. They will mention that Excelebration has one run under his belt already which Henry Cecil concedes as a real advantage for the Ballydoyle colt. I believe Frankel will be as vulnerable as he's ever been, but his connections will not have risked him for the race if they did not think he would win. The logic should be respected at the end with Frankel leading Excelebration at the finish.

A few hours later, the Preakness will see a rematch between I'll Have Another and Bodemeister, the first 2 finishers in the Derby. Although the shorter distance of 9 furlongs will better suit Bodemeister, that does not mean that he will have enough to outlast the Kentucky Derby winner at the distance. My theory is that whoever of the 2 has better recuperated from their exertions of the Derby will win this. Usually, the one with the better stamina recuperates the better, so it is advantage I'll Have Another, and the shortened distance should not give any definitive edge to Bodemeister. The other theory is that Bodemeister lost the Derby not because of stamina issues, but rather because of a lack of seasoning and career starts. If that is the case, then he is the deserved favourite for the Preakness. In the end, this second Classic of the season should play between these 2 protagonists and I am inclined to have both as a Place.

Obviously, I couldn't close this preview of the week-end without mentioning the Champions League final between Bayern and Chelsea. Playing at home gives the Germans a big advantage. The fact that Chelsea will miss much of its defence gives the Bavarians an ever greater advantage. However, their form is suspect as demonstrated by their drubbing from Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup last week. As for Chelsea, their best chance is to play it tactically, like against Barcelona, and hope to nick a goal against the run of play, then park the bus. It's not an impossible task for them, but much of their chances will depend on the disposition of the host team. If Bayern are on song on the day, they should win. But this is not a guarantee, and neither is the result. Hopefully the best on the day wins and real football prevails.

Win: Frankel
Place: Bodemeister, I'll Have Another, Excelebration

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