Gigginstown pull the plug, Ballydoyle power up and Godolphin hit a maximum strike
Gigginstown shutting up shop
Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud is to wind down its operation over the next four to five years and is ceasing to invest in young stock. Eddie O’Leary, brother of Gigginstown owner Michael O’Leary said: “Michael’s children are now growing with their activities leaving him less and less time for racing last season and for the foreseeable future”.
Michael O’Leary said: “We wish to thank sincerely all our trainers and their teams for the enormous success we’ve enjoyed over the past decade.”
Gigginstown, who have won the Irish National Hunt owners title seven times, have most of their horses with Gordon Elliott, but also have horses with Hendy de Bromhead, Noel Meade and Joseph O’Brien. They have won the last two Grand Nationals at Aintree with Tiger Roll.
Ballydoyle corner the Derby trials
It’s been a week of Ballydoyle domination in the Derby Trials with, in most cases, prices being cut as the performances are weighed up.
Sir Dragonet didn’t have a Derby entry but was quickly made second favourite when winning the Chester Vase by 8 lengths and ongoing support made him the favourite.
Next day, in Chester’s Dee Stakes, Circus Maximus didn’t gain quite so many plaudits for his win and the market move was a more modest 20/1 from 25/1.
Anthony Van Dyck (pictured) was a 2¼ length winner in the Lingfield Derby Trial giving Ryan Moore a straightforward ride and saw his price contract to 6/1 from 12/1.
On home soil in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, Broome swept aside two stablemates to make it an O’Brien 1-2-3 in the Leopardstown contest, the 12th time he’s won the race. With son Donnacha doing the steering, Broome finished 2½ lengths ahead of Blenheim Palace with Sovereign a further ½ length back. Broome moved to 6/1 from 8s.
No doubt they are all “nice horses” and “the lads will decide” who does and does not go to Epsom. But, before any of that, we have Japan to watch in the Dante Stakes at York. Dante guide http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-1Zq
For what it’s worth Sir Dragonet caught the eye most whilst Anthony Van Dyck handled Lingfield well which is no bad thing given its similarities to the Epsom track.
Godolphin’s Group 1 landmark
Persian King was worldwide Group 1 winner number 299 for Godolphin when it was the one-length winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp and, just over half-an-hour later, Castle Lady won the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches to notch up the 300th Group 1 winner.
It was the seventh French 2,000 Guineas victory for trainer Andre Fabre as possibly the best middle-distance 3yo colt in training coped with the heavy ground to beat Shaman into second place. The Prix du Jockey Club looks to be the next target for the horse jointly owned with Ballymore Thoroughbred.
The 300th win came in the French 1,000 Guineas when 2/1 favourite Castle Lady got home by a nose, holding off the challenge of Commes. M
But Godolphin and trainer Alex Pantall had to wait a nervous few minutes before the judge finished studying the photo-finish and announced the landmark victory. Castle Lady will target one-mile races which could include the Coronation Cup at Royal Ascot.
Norton’s Chester masterclass
Jockey Franny Norton has a reputation for riding the Roodee better than anyone else, but he excelled himself on Making Miracles in the Chester Cup. He’d already won on Aquarium, with a dashing come from behind ride, to land a 1m2f handicap on the line for Mark Johnston.
He then changed tactics on Making Miracles to lead from the start in the Chester Cup’s two-lap contest to win by six lengths, having come from the wide draw of stall 16. It was the first Chester Cup win for 48-year-old Norton and for trainer Johnston.
Still a bit to learn
Three-pound claimer Cameron Noble went from celebration to disaster at Chester after he won the 1m4f apprentice handicap, leading from start to finish on Heart of Soul, but then finished a circuit too soon in the 2m2f Chester Plate when he went for home on Michael’s Mount unaware there was another lap to go.
The stewards handed out a 10-day ban to Norton for prematurely kicking on for home. When he realised that another circuit of the Roodee was still required he did get the horse going again to home in fourth place.
Hospital tests for Buick
William Buick will not be riding at York’s Dante meeting as he is undergoing tests at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after feeling unwell over the weekend.
Jockeys Denis Hogan and Martin Burke were both taken to hospital after falls at Killarney. Hogan undertook tests for a chest injury, whilst Burke suffered facial injuries.
Betfred return to Ascot
Ascot’s on-course betting shops are to be run by Betfred under a new, three-year contract which also sees the bookmaker sponsoring the heritage handicap at the Summer Mile fixture in July.
Betfred wlll also be the betting partner for the Shergar Cup. Betfred replace the west-country based independent firm Winning Post, who have run the track’s two shops for five years.
Ascot runs its own pool betting operation under the Bet With Ascot brand, but puts punters’ stakes into the Totepool in which Betfred are the majority shareholders. However, not all Totepool accumulator bets are available to Ascot racegoers.
Curragh responds to owner complaints
Owners and trainers will be able to access a dedicated area of a marquee at the upcoming Irish Guineas meeting at the Curragh after connections criticised the cramped facilities at the track, which were unveiled last week.
The £80m development of the County Kildare course was largely praised, but owners and trainers were not happy with the room set aside for them which was too small to cope with the demand.