The Flat Is Back – Weekend Review

The start of the Flat season announced itself in grand style at the weekend when a number of big-race victories whet the appetite for the season ahead…

…none more so than Prince Bishop’s shock win in the world’s richest race.

Godolphin On Top Of The World

Godolphin’s 8yo defied his 14/1 odds to storm home by over 2l, in the process giving Saeed Bin Suroor a seventh victory in the World Cup, and William Buick another big-race win.

California To Royal Ascot
However, most of the talk after the race surrounded runner-up, California Chrome, who let down favourite backers at odds of 5/4. Punters who had their fingers burnt at Meydan will get a chance to get their money back when the Kentucky Derby winner heads to Royal Ascot in June – following a possible warm-up in Newbury’s Lockinge the previous month.

Earlier in the evening, Mubtaahij won the UAE Derby for South Africa’s Mike De Kock, who announced afterwards that his colt would be going for the Kentucky Derby where he is around the 10/1 mark, while the Aga Khan’s Dolniya won the Dubai Sheema Classic for Alain de Royer-Dupre. This filly was fifth in the Arc last season, but Royer-Dupre reports her as much-improved this time and will be aimed at the Arc once more where she is available at 12/1.

Fahey And Stack Land Lincolns
On the subject of the big Flat Group races, the weekend on the Flat in Britain at Doncaster produced a possible 2,000 Guineas contender in Hail The Hero, who won his maiden in style and is around 66/1 for Newmarket. The big race went to Gabrial, though, who won the Lincoln and heads for Chester’s Huxley Stakes in May.

In the Irish Lincolnshire, Onenightidreamed made it a second win for Tommy Stack during recent years and looks one for better races with this being only his fourth career outing, while another pointer from the Curragh came via trainer, Dermot Weld, who reminded punters the good from of his runners courtesy of a double.

“Moore” Winners For Ballydoyle
The Curragh also served notice of the impact Ryan Moore could have in his more prominent role with Aidan O’Brien this season – a fact that was announced last week. The pair wasted no time in hitting the target on Sunday, which is likely to be the first of many likely visits to the winner’s enclosure this summer.

McCoy Warms Up For Aintree
But, with plenty of meat still left on the bone this jumps season, punters have time to make a few quid about the soon-to-be-retired, Tony McCoy, who gave the Ascot crowd something to cheer on Sunday. McCoy is set to ride the current 8/1 favourite for the Grand National, Shutthefrontdoor in two weekends’ time.

News also filtered through that Daryl Jacob has been booked to ride last year’s National hero, Pineau De Re, (20/1) in his defence, while Aidan Coleman takes over from Barry Geraghty – who rode him to victory at Cheltenham – on The Druids Nephew (14/1).

Another who looks a definite for the National is Many Clouds, who was last seen staying on into sixth place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, shaping as though the marathon 4m4f trip would suit. In two weeks time we’ll find out.