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John McCririck: The Eclipse is a joke but Penhill can bounce back at Haydock

A pedicure and massage in the Big Brother household hasn't improved Big Mac's mood as he puts the boot into small fields, Ryan Moore & the racing press ....

by John McCririck | July 1, 2015

It is amazing that with all that prize money involved no one is prepared to take on Derby winner Golden Horn and The Grey Gatsby in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday (3.45pm).

Personally, I wouldn’t run the race.

The public have got to believe what they are watching is genuine and real. Small fields tend to give us falsely run races and it is poor for the racing public, the betting industry and if one of the runners fail to turn up on the day – there will be no each-way market either.

They should have re-opened this Group One prize to attract more runners when they saw that it was heading in this direction.

The one saving grace for Sandown is that Frankie Dettori (below) will be there. 

Frankie is fantastic, he’s the face of Flat racing and can bring the game to another dimension.

Frankie-Dettori 840 x 400

Comeback Kid

The public love him, even more so since he became the “comeback kid”.

He’s was at the top, fell from grace and returned again in triumph to win at Epsom and really showed what it meant to him.

He’s also won the French Oaks and broke the 50 winners at Royal Ascot barrier two weeks ago when Ryan Moore was getting (nearly) all the plaudits.

There’s no mistaking it

Ryan’s nine winners at the Festival was some achievement.

He’s not media-friendly and is never going to be as compelling a personality or character as Frankie – but is such an instinctive big-race jockey that he rarely makes a mistake.

But he got it wrong on Kingfisher in the Ascot Gold Cup. He gave Aidan O’Brien’s runner an appalling ride and no-one said anything about it.

It really puts the supine racing press into context. They always play it safe – towing the “don’t rock the boat, all trainers and jockeys are wonderful” line. It’s a major failing of the British racing press.

Frankie-Dettori-&-Golden-Horn-840-x-400

So who’ll win on Saturday?

The generations clash (three-year-olds versus the older horses) for the first time this season in the Coral Eclipse but it’s hard to know whether we’ll see a true contest with a max of five runners.

John Gosden’s Golden Horn (above) is long odds on and he seems to be improving with each run and the Epsom form was franked by stablemate Jack Hobbs’ win in the Irish Derby last weekend.

The Grey Gatsby was one of the unluckiest losers at Royal Ascot getting stopped in his run before just failing to peg back Free Eagle. Kevin Ryan’s colt is a capable Group 1 performer – but shouldn’t have enough to beat Golden Horn.

Horse Racing Flat action

Lancashire Oaks, Saturday, Haydock 2.15pm

Now this looks competitive with the top three in the betting all having form with one another.

Miss Marjurie beat Arabian Comet (declared a non runner on Friday) who finished ahead of Jordan Princess at Goodwood at the start of May. Miss Marjurie has since gone on to win at Haydock over this trip but at the revised weights I would fancy Arabian Comet to reverse the form.

Queen Of Ice can be forgiven a poor run over course and distance last time out on her seasonal reappearance – but beat both Jordan Princess and Arabian Comet last year. She could be a player while Criteria would need to put in a career best to win this.

Mac’s Pick: Arabian Comet to rocket to success (non runner)

Old Newton Cup Saturday, Haydock 2.50pm

One of the few middle distance handicaps for older horses which tends to throw up some genuine Group horses on a regular basis. Over the past decade we have seen winners such as Collier Hill, Alkaased and Star Lahib all go on to win group races.

Luca Cumani has a good record in the race and Penhill looks like an improver since joining him last year. Won on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot but disappointed at HQ (not for the first time)  and I expect him to bounce back with a strong run at Haydock.

Amanda Perrett’s Astronereus won well at Newmarket at the start of May beating Arab Dawn, who then reversed the form at Royal Ascot on revised terms.

Battersea won twice at Ascot season has not been seen since October and I’d have preferred to see a prep run. Windshear has some solid group form to his name and clearly did not stay the 2m 4f in the Ascot Gold Cup. Dropped back in trip and class he will be far more of a force in this and could well out-run his double digit odds.

Mac’s Pick: Penhill to bounce back

You can follow Big Mac on Twitter @RealMcCririck

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