Racing News 29 June: Great Weekend of Action

Glory for Jack Hobbs in Irish Derby

The best of the domestic (UK) racing action came up at Newcastle on Saturday as the track hosted its biggest meeting of the year: Northumberland Plate Day and you can read more about that enjoyable day HERE.

Roger Charlton doesn’t send many runners so far up north but his Quest For More was prominent in the betting for this throughout the week. Those to take the hint were richly rewarded as George Baker produced a perfectly judged ride to land this famous staying handicap. The highest class race on the card, the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes also fell to George Baker. Aeolus wasn’t fancied by many in a race featuring the likes of Mattmu and Danzeno, however the drop back to six furlongs appeared to work the oracle and he came out on top in a thrilling finish. Further Group race success will be the target for Ed Walker’s star.

Over in Ireland, things went exactly to script in the Irish Derby. Sent off at a shade of odds on, John Gosden’s Epsom Derby runner up, Jack Hobbs, put them all to the sword in spectacular fashion. As soon as William Buick pressed the button, the response was immediate and he pulled right away for a five length success. With Derby third and fourth Storm The Stars and Giovanni Canaeletto filling the places, the form of the Epsom showpiece is certainly working out. Often thought to be something of a late developer, he does seem to be still improving and the devastating acceleration he showed here marks him out as a horse to watch for the remainder of the season. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was announced as his next target. With a win and a runners up spot in two Derby’s he has certainly earned his spot in that line up.

Earlier on Saturdays card at the Curragh, Aidan O’Brien won the Group 2 Railway for an incredible 12th time with Painted Cliffs. Surprisingly he is still not the most successful trainer in the history of the race. Vincent O’Brien holds that honour with 14 wins, but few would bet against Aidan reeling him in. Painted Cliffs looks to be set the long term target of the 2016 2000 Guineas, a race in which his father, Canford Cliffs finished third in 2010.

Sunday brought more significant action from Ireland and a genuine equine superstar strutting her stuff in France. The Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh is a Group 1 contest and attracted an excellent field, including English and Irish Guineas winners, Legatissimo and Pleascach. The prize once again went to that man Aidan O’Brien. His Diamondsandrubies had looked one of the horses to have been most inconvenienced by the scrimmaging in The Oaks and showed what she could do with a clear run here. She only just held on though and would be far from certain to confirm the form in the upcoming Irish Oaks.

We had our fair share of top class performers over the weekend but none can yet claim to be in the same league as the French wonder mare Treve. She took her next step towards to winning the Arc for a third time when landing the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud despite not being fully extended. Worryingly for her Longchamp rivals she thrashed the likes of Flintshire and Dolniya here despite the ground being described as too firm for her. To put her target of three Arc’s in perspective, well no horse has achieved that feat, ever.