PREVIEW: We Are (some of) The Champions
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]uture Champions Day today and Champions Day itself tomorrow.
Shock horror !!!!!!!!!! soft ground in the middle of October – who would ever have predicted that ?
No sport likes to beat itself up more than horse racing – there’s still plenty of acrimony about Champions Day being staged at Ascot rather than Newmarket and the ground is being blamed for a number of high profile absentees from the big races this weekend.
But the reality is that the ground is not responsible. The biggest problem is the early retirement of our equine stars and that’s not something surely that Ascot or Newmarket can really be found fault over.
Australia, Taghrooda, The Fugue, Kingman, Olympic Glory have all been retired which is unfortunate as it leaves Champions Day not doing quite what it says on the tin.
At Ascot the ground is heavy and soft in places and Sky Sports were still running headlines at lunchtime today about the meeting being ‘in doubt’ and no contingencies in place.
Despite the recent deluges and more showers forecast overnight Ascot should just about get away with it but it’s been a hard meeting to sell this year given the big name absentees and the will it/won’t it be on factor.
But it’s very much the nature of any sport that you can’t always get the dream events – how many could have predicted a Kei Nishikori v Marin Cilic final in the US Open last month for example ? There are strong renewals, predictable renewals, epic renewals, the occasional vintage renewal but it swings both ways and you get also sub-standard renewals too. That’s life… deal with it.
So let’s enjoy it for what it is, and more importantly try and make a few quid from the action we do have, rather than worrying what we might of had.
At Newmarket today there are three Group 1’s in a row – all for two-year-olds. There’s been strong support with Star Sports this morning for the short priced and unbeaten Ivawood in the Middle Park Stakes and also Aidan O’Brien’s Smuggler’s Cove in the Dewhurst who had the time experts purring after his recent Dundalk romp.
The dilemma is whether you stick with the proven Group form of the Richard Hannon trained Estidhkaar against a relatively unexposed Aidan O’Brien runner who is bidding to extend the excellent run of Irish trained runners in the race.
I’ll take a chance with Smuggler’s Cove. He could just be a future champion, my friend.