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Caulfield Cup 2020 preview

The Melbourne spring carnival heads to Caulfield, affectionately known as 'The Heath' for the time-honoured and lucrative Caulfield Cup. Won by Japanese raider Mer de Glace last year, it earns the mantle of 'the greatest 2400m handicap in the world', a rich Group 1 traditionally run at a high-pressure tempo.
Mer de Glace wins 2019 edition. Image credit: Herald Sun
The quality of the race seems to ebb and flow regularly. This year I think we have a cracker, but... such is life in 2020, there'll be virtually no-one on course to witness it.

In drafting this preview, I've also had some input from previous blog contributor Arod, spliced in where useful, starting with his track & weather forecast:
"The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting anywhere between 10 – 20 mm of rain between now (Ed. Wed night) and race time and going by today’s reports the track might need the water. Reports have a few horses pulling up sore. Rain is predicted for Saturday so t…
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Preview de la Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 2020

The European flat racing season comes to its natural conclusion in this messed up hell of a year. The queen of the turf, Enable, goes for an historic third win but it has been wet and cold all week in Paris, making it a tough old slog in deep ground. There won't be much of a crowd there to 'bring the house down' if she wins, in front of no more than 1000 paying spectators, but the racing world will be tuning in across the globe. ===============================================
Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe ParisLongchamp, 1605 local, 1505 BST, 0005 Monday Sydney time.  2400m, Group 1 Weight-for-Age, (no geldings)  Approx €3m.  Expected Going - Heavy.  1.Persian King - 4yo, Kingman/Pretty Please - Andre Fabre - Pierre Charles Boudot Star French colt stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time. Won the French 2000 Guineas (Poulains) on heavy ground but ran fourth (only time in his career finishing worse than second) in the Jacques Le Marois, almost nine lengths behind P…

Derby preview

The show must go on! There'll be no open top buses, no fairground rides on the infield, no paying customers at all. Just a few owners under tight Covid-19 protocols plus the participants for this year's Derby. A month later than usual, it's the Derby we're just glad we get to have, considering where we could have been.
On with my preview...

----------------------------- THE DERBY Epsom Downs, 1m4f6yds,. Group 1 for 3yo colts and fillies £500,000.  1655 local time, 0155 Sydney, 1155 New York

Amhran Na Bhfiann (50/1) - pronounced Ow-rawn-na-veean.Have seen a few from across the pond looking to see how you pronounce @Ballydoyle ‘s Amhran Na Bhfiann ahead of the @Investec Derby @Ascot 🇬🇧

This is the simplest form of explaining instead of trying to word it 🗣

CC: all @itvracing@RacingTV@AtTheRaces etc 🇮🇪— Gar Toohey (@2hegar) June 29, 2020For the uneducated (includes me until two days ago), it means 'The Soldier's Song', aka the Irish Nati…

Irish Derby preview

A bizarre edition of the Irish Derby this year being a victim of the Covid crisis and the major reshuffling of the Flat fixture list. It precedes the English equivalent, the traditional build-up has either been compressed, removed or comes rather close to this race so you'll have to be concerned about the quick back-up, and only three horses have won a Group or Listed race to date. Big scope for improvement throughout, and any of the stable stars from the big guns are likely to be going to Epsom or Longchamp instead.
Of the 15 declared runners, only five don't have "O'Brien" listed as trainer. Six for Aidan, three for Joseph and one for young Donnacha. And as we saw last year with Sovereign at 33/1, not being top of the jockey bookings doesn't instantly rule a line through any of their chances.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Group 1, 3yo, 1m4f €750,000 1915 local, 0415 Sydney 1415 New York

Arthur's Kingdom Impressive Camelot colt with a…

Royal Ascot Saturday summary

Friday's summary page had a great result with the best outsider Alounak running second at 40/1 SP, with as much as 80/1 available earlier. Onward and upwards, it's the final day!

Silver Wokingham Another nightmare consolation handicap to start the card, and unless you go 15 wide, you're probably odds-on be out of your Placepot/Colossus ticket after one race. With only 3lbs between top and bottom, this is very evenly graded but I'm going to take a punt on the bottomweight Gabrial The Wire (50/1).  He resumed on Jun 2nd running third in a handy Newcastle handicap, his first run on the AW where he was caught behind a wall of horses when the winner made his run. Once clear he made decent ground and will be better for the run. Despite having most of his runs at Dr Koukash's playground, Chester, he has won up the Doncaster straight and wasn't far away in a big Newmarket handicap last July. With Connor Murtagh getting 3lbs and drawn toward the middle of the track, I thi…

Diamond Jubilee Stakes preview

Royal Ascot comes to close with the traditional G1 finale, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. No sign of any Black Caviar in this field but it is a cracking contest with a trio of four-year-olds at the top of the market who I expect to be genuine Group 1 sprinters by the end of the season, if not tomorrow afternoon. Can make a case for all of these, don't correlate the amount of detail supplied directly with their chances!   

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes G1, 6f, £250k 1535 local, 0035 Sydney, 1035 New York Expected track condition - Good
1. Dream of Dreams - beaten a head by Blue Point in this race last year, his season then tailed off, leading to the infamous two stone weightdrop over the offseason. Hasn't the best conversion rate with eight seconds and only four firsts, but if in the same form as this time last year, must be a chance with Ryan Moore aboard. 
2. Hello Youmzain - flying machine in the Kevin Ryan stable who ran third in the Commonwealth Cup last year and…

Royal Ascot Friday preview

Rain rain go away, at least let us have some clarity on the ground throughout the day. Khaloosy did the job for us yesterday at a nice early price, what awaits us today?

                                                     The Palace of Holyroodhouse
Palace of Holyroodhouse Of all the new races, this one is the race I'm least keen on. Art Power was impressive first-up winning at Newcastle and is clear favourite. Could win quite easily, otherwise it's wide open.
Albany The Wesley Ward filly Flying Aletha is favourite but how will she fare on soft ground? After being burnt in the Windsor Castle, I'll steer clear of this one. Frankie's sticking with the Gosden filly, Willabell who was just nutted on the line on debut at Yarmouth after trying to lead all the way in a small field. A daughter of War Front, whose progeny excel at Ascot, she'll come on for that run and should benefit from a larger field. Golden Melody won comfortably on debut and looks to be the only one in the…

Royal Ascot Thursday meeting preview

With thunderstorms predicted for Ascot, the predicted volume of rain could make a mockery of any detailed preview so I've opted for just the summary today.

Golden Gates Yet another thorny handicap to start the day, this time with the threat of thunderstorms hanging over us. Maori Knight is scheduled to go up 6lb after a narrow second at Haydock 11 days ago and looks well suited here. The biggest doubt hangs over the form of his trainer, with Richard Hughes not setting the world on fire since lockdown. Higher up the weights, Hypothetical has shown plenty of ability in two starts to date, and Acquitted was only beaten by G1-bound Palace Pier last time at Newcastle.
Wolferton In every start beyond his first two, Regal Reality has raced in Group company and acquitted himself well, only disappointing (beaten 10.5L) in the Champion Stakes in October. Earlier in 2019, he'd gotten within 3L of Enable in the G1 Eclipse and 4L of Japan in the G1 Juddmonte International.  He's at least 3…

Remainder of Royal Ascot Wednesday preview

So checking out the rest of the card...

Royal Hunt Cup Consolation So just in case solving the Royal Hunt Cup wasn't hard enough, they've brought in a consolation race under the same conditions! 
Brian Epstein was high in the betting for the Buckingham Palace but didn't get in. Was set for the Britannia last season but then nearly died last season after a mystery bug. Stable have a high opinion of him and familiarity is probably the only reason Moore and Dobbs have kept their respective Hannon rides. Will be better for his second at Haydock after a year off. Red Bond ran third behind Daarik at Newcastle and will relish the extra furlong, while Maydanny is another Hamdan al Maktoum unexposed handicapper with plenty of upside.
Hampton Court Some very interesting formlines converge here, not to mention pedigrees. The blueblood of the field is Russian Emperor, by Galileo out of outstanding Australian mare Atlantic Jewel, who won a swag of G1s. He still looks immature, yet to put it…