It was announced earlier this week by Coolmore's UK representative, Kevin Buckley, that The Gurkha, who was an impressive 8 length winner of the French 2000 Guineas at Deauville will not go to Epsom to run in the Derby but will instead be sent to Royal-Ascot to run in the St James's Palace Stakes. A decision that I feel certain was made in large part due to Air Force Blue's back to back clunkers in the English & Irish 2000 Guineas. Buckley went on to say that Coolmore's 4 probable starters for the Derby at Epsom will likely be US Army Ranger, Port Douglas, Idaho, & Deauville. There's no way of knowing how well The Gurkha would or wouldn't handle the step up in trip to 2400m for the Derby, but he's certainly proven he's lethal at a mile and I think will be the horse to beat in the St James's Palace Stakes. His performance at Deauville translated over to Newmarket or the Curragh would've put multiple lengths on Galileo Gold in the English Guineas or on Awtaad in the Irish Guineas either one, IMO.
On his 2016 seasonal debut, and back up in trip to 10f where I think he's even more effective than he is racing at a mile, Time Test gets the better of Western Hymn to win the G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park. At present, Time Test is cross entered in both the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at 10f and G1 Queen Anne Stakes at a mile during next month's royal meeting at Ascot, but my personal hope is that trainer Roger Charlton goes for the Prince of Wales's Stakes over 10f. Time Test bolted up to easily win the G3 Tercentenary Stakes at last year's royal meeting over that same 10f trip.
Agreed, if all of the top players actually show up at Goodwood? As I'm sure you know mate, it's one thing to have the entry but another to actually show up and run. Now that they've decided to bypass the Derby at Epsom and point The Gurkha to Ascot for the St James's Palace Stakes, that's another race that's shaping up to potentially be a barn burner next month too.
A clip of the Racing Post talking with Coolmore's UK representative, Kevin Buckley, about the upcoming G1 Investec Derby at Espom. According to Buckley in this clip, likely Coolmore starters at Epsom are: US Army Ranger, Port Douglas, Deauville, & Idaho. The Gurkha, who was a recent very impressive winner of French 2000 Guineas at Deauville, is said by Buckley to now being pointed at Royal-Ascot for the G1 St James's Palace Stakes instead of to the Derby at Epsom.
A second score in as many days for Japanese based horses in France, as A Shin Erwin follows up on A Shin Hikari's impressive G1 Prix d'Ispahan victory yesterday at Chantilly with a win of his own in the listed Prix de Montretout at Maisons-Laffitte. He's also being pointed toward Royal-Ascot with an entry in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes on opening day of the royal meeting.
From this morning's Racing Post.com web-site: Classic winners Galileo Gold, The Gurkha, Awtaad, Minding, and Jet Setting, along with US star Tepin, Meydan G1 winner Tryster, and G1 Lockinge Stakes winner Belardo are among 50 horses pre-entered for this year's G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in late July.
In his last 2 starts, A Shin Hikari couldn't have been more impressive if was Winged Pegasus himself. First, he travels to Sha Tin and from gate to wire just about galloped the field bowlegged in winning the G1 Hong Kong Cup. Then he travels to France and completely annihilates the G1 Prix d'Ispahan field by 10+ lengths, on heavy ground no less, against a field that included the likes of New Bay, Dariyan, Erupt, Vadamos, Mondialiste, Silverwave, My Dream Boat, & Wild Chief. Look out Royal-Ascot, because this horse is 100% for real.
New Bay, Mondialiste, Dariyan, & Vadamos I know for sure were all horses who came into this race having won before on soft or heavy ground.
Late last night I was watching the replay of the Hong Kong Cup and thinking what a strong galloping horse A Shin Hikari is. He ran the 2000m at Sha Tin like he was out for a morning exercise cantor and just about ran that field bowlegged. At some point before he leaves Europe, I'd personally love to see them go up in trip to 2400m with him. I think he'd get the distance standing on his head.
That was one bad a-s performance, and this wasn't by any means a lightweight field either. Looks like the ground isn't gonna be an issue for A Shin Hikari at all. He goes well on firm, good, or heavy ground. Surely he'll be a heavy favorite now to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes next month off the back of this performance?
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