Things We Learned » Success breeds success

Success breeds success

We have to take Success Days seriously now. Not that we didn’t have to take him seriously after the Ballysax, but his Derrinstown win last Sunday was another step forward. He is a high-class colt on soft ground, no question.

Ken Condon’s horse won by 10 lengths on Sunday, but he had the race in the bag from the home turn, and he just kept going further and further clear. Of course, the race was weakened by the absence of John F Kennedy and Zawraq, and by the withdrawal of Order Of St George, but the runner-up Summaya is very capable. She beat the Chester Vase winner Hans Holbein in her maiden at Cork in April, and she goes on soft ground.

The time that Success Days clocked was not special, it wasn’t even the fastest comparative time on the day (that accolade went to Kissed By Angels – see below), but his performance was visually impressive. And you have to think that, if something had been able to get close to him, he would have gone faster.

Condon and owner Robert Ng are faced with a nice dilemma now. The Jeremy colt was not entered in the Epsom Derby, and it will take £75,000 to put him into it now. He probably does need soft ground to be at his best, but if it looked like it might come up soft on the Monday before the Derby, it would be a worthwhile punt. There have been plenty of worse-value £75,000 bets struck.

Musidora musings

There was lots of Oaks talk after the Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday. And why wouldn’t there be? The Musidora is a good Oaks trial.

Admittedly only one Musidora winner has followed up in the Oaks in the last decade (Sariska, 2009), but there have been lots of pointers in that time. Alexandrova was a close-up second in the Musidora in 2006 before she went and won the Oaks by six lengths, while The Fugue won the Musidora in 2012 and was a running-on third in the Oaks, beaten a total of three parts of a length.

Interestingly, the winner and the runner-up in Wednesday’s Musidora, Star Of Seville’s and Together Forever, both had their Oaks odds snipped by a couple of points.

Of the pair, however, Together Forever may be the better Oaks prospect. Star Of Seville stayed on gamely in front after making all the running, but she only got home by a head from Aidan O’Brien’s filly, who was conceding 4lb and who hadn’t had the benefit of a run this season.

Together Forever had never raced beyond a mile before Wednesday, she has to prove her stamina for the Oaks trip. And she is a half-sister to Lord Shanakill, who recorded four of his five wins over six and seven furlongs. However, Lord Shanakill also got a mile, he won a Prix Jean Prat and he finished a close-up third in a St James’s Palace Stakes. Also, Lord Shanakill is by speed influence Speightstown, Together Forever is by Galileo, and when you are by Galileo you have a chance of getting a trip. Any trip.

Interestingly, there are many similarities between Together Forever and Alexandrova, besides the Aidan O’Brien and Magnier/Tabor/Smith connection. By Sadler’s Wells, Alexandrova was beaten on her first two runs, and she rounded off her juvenile season by going down by just a short head in the Fillies’ Mile. By Sadler’s Wells’ son Galileo, Together Forever was beaten on her first three runs, and she rounded off her juvenile season by winning the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile.

They both finished second in the Musidora Stakes on their respective debuts at three. Alexandrova won the Oaks. Complete the sequence.

Strong Irish challenge for the Oaks

The difficulty with assessing Together Forever’s prospects of winning the Oaks lies in the fact that it is probably going to be a seriously competitive contest. While the Derby is still waiting for a colt to grab it by the throat and say, you’re mine (and it probably won’t happen now until they enter the final furlong), the Oaks is shaping up to be a cracker.

All the concentration on Wednesday was on the Musidora Stakes at York, which meant that Pleascach’s win in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas three and a half hours later may have gone under the radar a little. But Jim Bolger’s filly put up a really nice performance. She travelled well into the home straight, she hit the front at the two-furlong pole and she cleared away to win impressively from Zannda.

Dermot Weld’s filly had finished second in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on her previous run, getting much closer to Jazzi Top than she did to Pleascach. Jazzi Top is among the top five in the betting for the Oaks, so it was surprising that Jim Bolger appeared to rule out a trip to Epsom for Pleascach, preferring instead a Ribblesdale/Irish Oaks route.

Even if Pleascach does not make the trip, the Irish challenge for this year’s Oaks should be a really strong one. The David Wachman-trained Legatissimo is a worthy favourite, the 1000 Guineas winner who has already won a listed race over nine and a half furlongs.

Aidan O’Brien’s potential Oaks team includes Diamondsandrubies, who was impressive in winning the Cheshire Oaks, and Found, probably last year’s leading juvenile filly, the Prix Marcel Boussac winner, who shaped well on her debut this season, as well as Together Forever. And if he added last Sunday’s impressive 1000 Guineas Trial winner Kissed By Angels into the mix, and maybe Fluff, impressive winner of her maiden at Navan last month, Maybe’s sister, he would have a formidable team.

Then there is the Jessica Harrington pair, Bocca Baciata and Jack Naylor. Both fillies’ form just gets stronger and stronger with the passage of time. Bocca Baciata travelled like the best filly in the race from a long way out before beating Pleascach and Diamondsandrubies in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan last month. Pleascach has now won the Blue Wind Stakes, while Diamondsandrubies has won the Cheshire Oaks, both really impressively.

Jack Naylor hasn’t run yet this season, but she beat Guineas winner Legatissimo and Fillies’ Mile winner Together Forever in a listed race at The Curragh last August, and she finished third in Found’s Prix Marcel Boussac last October, just a length and a half behind runner-up Ervedya, who was so impressive in winning the French Guineas on Sunday.

Guineas trials

Speaking of Guineas trials, shouldn’t last weekend’s Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial be called the Derrinstown Stud Irish 1000 Guineas Trial? Isn’t the 1000 Guineas over?

Isn’t last Sunday’s race a potential pointer to the Irish 1000 Guineas (at The Curragh), not the 1000 Guineas (at Newmarket)? There is another one run in April, that’s the 1000 Guineas Trial, surely? The Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial, the one that Stormfly won this year?

Pedantic, maybe, but not only would the insertion of the word ‘Irish’ be an accurate descriptor, it would also differentiate between the 1000 Guineas Trial, run over a mile at Leopardstown in May, and the 1000 Guineas Trial, run over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in April.

Derby trials and tribulations

The three most prolific Derby trials in recent years have been the 2000 Guineas, the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, and the Dante. This year, the winners of those races are, respectively, Gleneagles, Success Days and Golden Horn, yet only one of the three holds an entry, and he is not an intended runner.

© The Irish Field, 16th May 2015