Our man dissects the Cazoo Oaks in inimitable fashion and he throws thoughts at the Coronation Cup for good measure ahead of Epsom on Friday.
Farewell to the WFG
Hats off to Epsom for naming the Derby after Lester, but the walnut-faced grandfather, as he was memorably described in an excellent PR report on his 30th and final classic aboard Rodrigo de Triano, wasn’t too dusty in the Oaks and the Coronation Cup either.
Six Oaks’ successes began with a royal success over Carrozza in 1957 – after which the Queen led her flighty filly and 21-year-old rider into the winner’s circle with ‘a mighty moron’ according to reports – and continued with the brilliant Petite Etoile in 1959 and a first classic success for a young Dermot Weld aboard Blue Wind in 1981.
Petite Etoile provided two of Piggott’s nine coronation cups in 1960 and 1961 and, although there is never a good time to go, there is something very fitting that the greatest to have it never done should leave early in the week he dominated like no other.
Of course, we all tend to view the passing of legendary characters through the light of our own prism these days.
Lester Piggott – A Tribute to Sporting Life
My most vivid memories of Lester began as a 16 year old schoolboy hitchhiking to Epsom to see him lift The Minstrel at home in the 1977 Derby and culminated fifteen years later when I was on duty Timeform for this latest classic aboard Rodrigo.
It still seems hard to believe that Lester turned 56 that day, but his epic legacy – with a character that was the antithesis of modern stardom – had taken more than forty years to take shape.
The sporting genius can often appear to enter the game fully trained in both talent and temperament and, like Tiger, Ali, Jordan and Maradona, there was never a moment of doubt that Piggott was destined for greatness.
It’s not often that you can say “there will never be another like him”. But, in the case of the walnut-faced grandpa, you can say that with maximum confidence.
Lady watches live longshot
It has been nine years since an Oaks winner has been coached by anyone other than Aidan O’Brien or John Gosden and the decade of dominance is set to continue at Epsom on Friday.
Granted, Ralph Beckett won the race twice before the Big Two took over. This will draw some into Moon de Vega but, as with all longshots, there are positives and negatives.
Vega’s Moon fans will say she was stopped in her run through the Cheshire Oaks, but she was five lengths behind at the time and more than six adrift when Thoughts Of June hit the line.
Thoughts Of June fans will say she was trained by Aidan and galloped on her own at Chester, but most analysts would agree she would have been beaten by Joseph O’Brien’s Above The Curve if this filly had benefited from a more fluid transit.
Tranquil Lady fans will point out that Joseph runs her in preference to Sunday’s French G1 winner, Above The Curve, and has shown improved form to get into a Naas G3. And, for all that Tranquil Lady is much deeper here, that view has merit.
With The Moonlight and Rogue Millennium, fans will say they’ve shown improvement in Land Trials at Newmarket and Lingfield – but the shape of those races may not be all it seems.
“The way she finished her run suggests she will thrive on the trip to Oaks” | Preview of Cazoo Oaks 2022
Internal duels, the key to Oaks’ success
Emily Upjohn vs. Nashwa and Tuesday vs. Concert Hall.
The outcome of these two duels will go a long way in shaping the 2022 Oaks, so let’s lay out the pros and cons again.
Tuesday’s big sister Minding won the Oaks, as did Concert Hall mother Was, and there’s only half a length between them on the form they showed to chase Homeless Songs at them on a socially distanced basis in Ireland’s 1,000 Guineas.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Ryan is partnered with a late Tuesday colt, who will only be three on Friday, but he was on the wrong filly O’Brien last year (Santa Barbara not Snowfall) and in 2018 (Magic Wand not Forever Together) and the way Concert Hall hit the line at the Curragh hints it might be better suited for the extra half mile.
Seamie Heffernan hopes it’s a case of ‘like mother, like daughter’ having teamed Was to victory ten years ago and the fact that Concert Hall is a seasoned professional after eight races seems another feather in his cap.
Neither Gosden is a seasoned pro at this point, but they dominate the market for a reason. Or should I say, somewhat different reasons.
Emily Upjohn is a high cruising power who crushed inferior rivals with sustained gallops at Sandown and York, while Nashwa is a silky smooth filly who settled things down by unleashing a series of impressive closing splits at Haydock and Newbury .
Dettori will struggle to control Emily’s exuberance on the severe early climb as he bids for his 22nd British Classic, while Doyle will likely aim to retain the sharpest toe turn of the race until the most as late as possible while she is looking for her. first.
My strongest take on a compelling classic is that the Gosdens hold aces. And combining Emily and Nashwa with Concert Hall and Tranquil Lady just might be the way to go for World Pool Quinella and Trio goals.
Relaxation key to Manobo’s Coro Cup chances
When was the last time a stable’s fourth-best aged colt became favorite for one of Europe’s top twelve-stay competitions?
It’s hard to think this has happened before – even when Sir Henry and the incomparable Vincent were in full pomp – but this is where we find ourselves with Manoobo in Friday’s Coronation Cup.
Derby winners Adayar and Hurricane Lane are currently ranked 131 and 128 by Timeform, while BC Turf’s Mercurial hero Yibir is 127 and possibly heading to Squiggletown – while Manobo is currently ‘only’ 121p.
Charlie Appleby won’t worry about grades as his lightly raced colt Sea The Stars returns for the trip for Friday’s showdown, but he’ll be eager to see Manobo settle in much better than he has pulling Will Buick’s arms over two miles in the Dubai Gold Cup.
Manobo might loosen up nicely with a faster pace on a shorter route, but I’m not mad to take 9/4 to find out against last year’s winner Pyledriver plus the reliable Hukum and a apparently revitalized high definition.
Better late than never as HD finally heads to Epsom
The odds of the bookies making a major mistake in a six runner G1 is roughly equivalent to what I would suggest high definition was a pending G1 winner.
Or, to be more precise, they were tied until Aidan O’Brien’s frustrating colt separated Alenquer, State of Rest and Lord North in the Tattersalls Gold Cup by a mile and a quarter recently.
Moore took the high definition lead early at the Curragh and he responded with the best run of his career, only giving his best close to home in a really hard-fought race and continuing in a way that suggests a return to a mile and a half should be ideal.
Memories of too much effort in grainy black and white mean it’s impossible to bet on Derby’s favorite building from last year.
But there was a lot more color to his run at the Curragh. And, twelve months after what was to be its big day, it may finally be the time for high definition to show itself in glorious HD.
G-Rod fishing in a pool at risk
I nodded when gasbag RP Graeme ‘G-Rod’ Rodway torched the TV bodies for the brown-nosed coaches; chuckled at the fuzzy logic behind his assertion that Cachet and not Coroebus was the real star of the Guineas weekend; and smiled at his suggestion that Desert Crown has gout on Baaeed because who doesn’t love the smell of clickbait in the morning?
But the problem with growing a hot character is that they have to get hotter and hotter. And so it was that a puzzled but hard-hitting ‘G-Rod’ fired up the laptop last week to tell readers that the evens favorite for the Oaks should have a 5/1 chance while his stable should be 11/8 rather than 5/1.
“I don’t understand why Emily Upjohn is such a short prize,” he wept, before adding that “Nashwa was by far the most impressive lawsuit winner in my eyes.”
At this point, it’s worth wondering if you’ve ever studied a mature classical market after all the trials and concluded that the combined wisdom of the entire bookmaking and punting profession has made not one but two ricks colossal in the same race?
I’m not sure it’s ever happened once in my long years of thinking about such matters, but maybe “G-Rod” has unearthed a nugget or two of gold that the rest of us we missed.
“Emily Upjohn did win the Musidora,” he conceded, “but second had only won a young girl, third 28-1 a novice and fourth had only 88 marks.”
The fact that Emily beat her four rivals – each of them well-bound and totally unexposed winners – by five and a half lengths in a G3 was not mentioned.
The fact that Nashwa’s Newbury Listed victory also didn’t come at the expense of a runner-up who ran to an RPR of just 74 to win at Wolverhampton and a non-remaining third and fourth who had been beaten in a minor Ascot event and follow-up. in the 1000 Guineas.
For the record, I agree with Rodway’s view that Nashwa has G1 capability – and the “Oi-Oi” will surely sound all around RPTV studios if she clears Friday – but “G-Rod” surely fishes with those extravagant ‘ shouts.’
And, as you can see from the last eight paragraphs, it can make gasbags bite from another corner of the modern media pool.
Recommendation: Puttherodaway G: 5 pts won at 5/1 (11/8 or equally acceptable peers).
More from Sporting Life
We are committed to supporting safer gaming.
Recommended bets are advised for those over 18 and we strongly encourage readers to bet only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.