John Burke Monday EyeCatcher

Derby & Oaks

In this week’s article I look back at the Derby & Oaks, and some interesting stats for those punting at Brighton. We’ve had four of the five English Classics already run, and the flat season is just two months old!

Frankie’s Famous Five

My decision to look at bigger priced horses in the Oaks meant I didn’t back Anapurna who had impressed when winning the Lingfield Oaks Trial. Last week’s pick Tarnawa ran well for a long way, but as jockey Chris Hayes said after the race, she didn’t stay the trip..

Maqsad, so impressive when winning the Pretty Polly Stakes, travelled like she would be in contention up to two out, but also didn’t stay the distance.

Fleeting, who had finished last in the 1.000 Guineas on her last start, enjoyed the step-up to 1m 4f and was doing her best work at the finish to get third. The daughter of Zoffany was only beaten 1 ½ lengths by the first two home, and with a clearer passage at the furlong marker and would have got closer.

Pink Dogwood did best of the Aidan O’Brien team to finish runner-up. The daughter of Camelot was sent off 3/1 and showed why she was so highly regarded by connections. The filly made a big move two furlongs from home on the outside, and for a few strides it looked like it would be a winning move. She was soon in the lead and was only headed inside the final 100yds.

Anapurna, trained by John Gosden, could match the acceleration of the runner-up inside the final two furlongs but, as she showed at Lingfield, the further she races the stronger she is. She battled on well and finally got the better of Pink Dogwood near to the finish, to give jockey Frankie Dettori a fifth win in the race.

Of the rest, Manuela De Vega ran well to take 4 th but, like a few, she didn’t have the clearest of passages coming to the furlong mark. Mehdaayih, who was impressive when winning the Cheshire Oaks at Chester, didn’t get a clear run in the straight and got caught-up in the scrimmaging a furlong out. She didn’t have the run of the race on this occasion and is better than the bare form of this.

Not the best Oaks we have ever seen, but the first two are improving fillies who can win again. Pink Dogwood showed a good change of gear, but was just outstayed by a stronger stayer on the day. She clearly stays 1m 4f but 1m 2f could well turn out to be her optimum distance, if she gets to face the boys.

Van Dyke Enters Derby History

In the run-up to flat racing greatest race it looked like trainer Aidan O’Brien had a stranglehold on the race. He had won most of the key trials and saddled 7 of the 13 declared runners.

It was sunny & warm for this year’s Derby and the going was good, good to firm in places. All the ingredients for a good race where there, and so it turned out.

They didn’t go that quick in the early stages of the race, with the Aidan O’Brien trained Sovereign taking-up the running early on, with another O’Brien horse, Norway, chasing the early leader.

Inside the final two furlongs there were plenty still in with a chance. The backers of Sir Dragonet, Broome, Madhmoon and Japan must have all been hopeful that they would be collecting their winnings.

The four mentioned all came down the centre of the track, but it was Anthony Van Dyke who got a lovely clear run down to the far rail, and who landed the spoils with a brave win. It was jockey Seamie Hefferman’s 12th ride in the race, and his first win in flat racing’s ‘Blue Riband’ race. It was also trainer Aidan O’Brien 7 th win in the race. He’s now the joint top winning trainer in the race, and will surely become the leading trainer in the next couple of years.

Sir Dragonet & Madhmoon battled away between the final two furlongs and possibly softened each other up, and they were beaten by a stronger stayer on the day in the shape of the winner.

Madhmoon refuted any suggestions that he wouldn’t stay when rallying well enough to finish second, with Sir Dragonet losing a couple of places in the final 100yds to finish 5th. Japan stayed on better than most, and built on his Dante run to grab 3rd with his stablemate running on well to finish 4th.

Circus Maximus wasn’t good enough on the day, but jockey Franke Dettori also didn’t think he handled the track, and he eased his mount considerably when his chance was gone inside the final furlong.

The best of the home team was the John Gosden trained outsider Humanitarian who finished a well beaten 7th.

Dante winner Telecaster was sweating before the start, and was too keen in the early stages of the race, which didn’t help his chances and he finished last. He’s better than this but the race probably came to quickly after his hard race at York.

Bangkok was another who was too keen in the early stages of the race and didn’t give his running on a track that seem ill-suited to the colt.

Like the Oaks, it wasn’t a classic renewal of the Derby, but the race provided the watching public with a thrilling finish, which is just as important to the health of the sport.

Brighton Racecourse Stats

Two Monday’s ago I introduced a new feature looking at looking at some interesting racecourse trainer/jockey stats that could be worth noting, starting with Windsor. This week I’m looking at Brighton.

There are plenty of meetings at the seaside track over the summer and indeed there is one today.

A sharp, undulating track, it’s a horseshoe of about mile and half in length, with a wide left-hand turn but with an up-hill finish to the winning post, which can catch a horse out if they have committed for home too early.

I have three trainer stats and two jockey stats for the racecourse. Starting with the trainers:

1. John Berry


Class 6

8 winners from 22 runners 36% +33.2 14 placed 64%

2. Eve Johnson-Houghton


Class 6

11 winners from 33 runners 33% +20.88 22 placed 67%

3. Richard Hughes


Race Distance – 6f

5 winners from 11 runners 45% +18.25 8 placed 73%

4. Adam Kirby

Race Distance – 1m 2f

7 winners from 16 runners 44% +21.65 10 placed 63%

5. Jason Watson

Race Distance – 5 ½ f

6 winners from 14 runners 42% +20.01 8 placed 75%


Until next week

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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