Longchamp target for York winner City Style

It looks very much as though the recent York winner City Style will be trained with a bid for the Group 2 Prix Dollar at Longchamp in October in mind after he continued a fine run of success for the resurgent Godolphin team on the Knavesmire, writes Elliot Slater.

Battling on bravely to hold Luca Cumani’s fast-finishing Danadana to land the Group 3 Sky Bet Strensall Stakes by a neck, City Style was providing his owners with a remarkable sixth win in the York race in the last 10 years, but was still sent off a relatively unfancied 9/1 shot in the racing betting despite only being in a seven-runner field, under Silvestre de Sousa.

City Style has spent the majority of the past two seasons campaigning at Meydan in Dubai, where in 2010 he was narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta by Mike de Kock’s Master of Hounds, while this winter he lost out narrowly to the same trainer’s The Apache in Group 2 company before finishing third in the Jebel Hatta behind Sajjhaa on World Cup night in March.

Almost certainly in need of the outing when down the field behind David Livingston on his first subsequent start at Haydock a couple of weeks before the York contest, the seven-year-old gelding looked fit and well prior to taking his chance in the Strensall Stakes and duly ran a completely different race, leading two furlongs out and going clear before having to pull out all the stops in the end to deny Danadana’s big finish.

The nine-furlong trip of the Knavesmire event looked ideal for the son of City Zip and he has already attracted plenty of interest in the racing live betting. But with very few other races at that trip on the racing calendar a step up to almost 10 furlongs at Longchamp in the Prix Dollar appears to be the target for connections of this likeable international campaigner.

Fabre team bullish about Flintshire Arc chance

Connections of the exciting three-year-old colt, Flintshire, appear very optimistic that he will prove a tough nut to crack at Longchamp in October when he bids for Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The son of Dansili never raced as a juvenile, his owner Prince Khaled Abdullah and trainer Andre Fabre seeing he was late-maturing sort gave him time to grow into his frame. He made his racecourse debut in May at Chantilly, landing a 10-furlong maiden in good style under Maxime Guyon. Odds-on for an 11-furlong conditions event at Longchamp soon after, Flintshire met his only defeat to date when finding Silver Trail a length too good.

That minor setback certainly didn’t deter Fabre who sent him back into action just 15 days later in a Group 3 at Chantilly, a race in which he showed a fine turn of foot to quicken away from useful opposition to win by three lengths from Park Reel. Then last time out, upped to Group 1 level in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in July, Guyon’s mount again showed that killer change of a gear that now sees him sitting atop the racing betting for the big race back in Paris in the autumn.

His impressive length-and-a-half defeat of Manndawi had racing scribes drooling in admiration, and now Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khaled Abdullah, confirmed that he continues on an upward curve and is expecting him to give a very good account of himself in the big race, assuming he comes through his warm up outing in the Prix Niel at Longchamp in September without any unforeseen difficulties.

The racing live betting now rates Flintshire a top-priced 5/1 favourite for the Arc, marginally ahead of Germany’s record-breaking King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Novellist (11/2).

Aljamaheer set to start favourite for Lennox Stakes

Roger Varian’s smart miler Aljamaheer looks almost certain to start a warm favourite for the feature race on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood on July 30, the Group 2 Bet365 Lennox Stakes, writes Elliot Slater.

The son of Dubawi has proved a rapidly progressive performer, graduating from handicaps to end last term being beaten just half-a-length into third place in a blanket finish to the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood last August. Reappearing this campaign after an eight-month absence there was plenty to like about the way the four-year-old led everywhere but the line when collared in the dying strides by Richard Hughes on Producer in the listed King Richard III Stakes at Leicester in April, after which he ran a terrific race when finishing third behind Farhh in the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury a month later.

Another big effort followed when Paul Hanagan’s regular mount failed by just three-quarters-of-a-length to beat Declaration of War in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, before Sheikh Hamdan-al-Maktoum’s colt finally got his name on the score-sheet last time out at Ascot, taking the Group 2 Summer Mile in comfortable fashion from Mull of Killough.

Connections don’t expect the drop back to seven furlongs for the Lennox Stakes to cause any real problems, Aljamaheer appearing to have plenty of speed to handle himself on the sharp Goodwood circuit. Bookmakers seem to be taking a similar view, making Varian’s charge a top-priced 9/4 market leader to continue what has already been a fine season for the upwardly mobile horse.

John Gosden’s Fencing (6/1 in the racing betting) and Godolphin’s Tawhid (7/1), third behind Gale Force Ten in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, are priced up as the main dangers to the current favourite in the racing live betting.

St Leger Attracts 43 Entries in Open Renewal

The final classic of the British Flat racing season, the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on September 14, has attracted a solid entry of 43 horses all gunning for the crown in the world’s oldest classic race.

The highest rated amongst the entries is the Investec Derby runner-up Libertarian (117), formerly trained by Elaine Burke, but sold to Sheikh Mohammed and doubtless a big disappointment in his subsequent effort when well beaten in the Irish Derby. He is now trained by Saeed bin Suroor and will race in the Godolphin blue.

There are plenty of interesting contenders for the one-mile-six-and-a-half-furlong Town Moor feature, none more so than the David Wachman-trained Irish colt Galileo Rock, third at Epsom and a fine runner-up to Trading Leather in the Irish Derby at the Curragh at the end of June where he stayed on well in the closing stages suggesting he should have no problem seeing out an extra two furlongs.

Twelve of the 43 entries hail from Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables, amongst the most interesting potential runners for the Irish maestro are Battle of Marengo, disappointing when only seventh in the Derby at Epsom, but thought capable of much better, and the Royal Ascot winner Leading Light, who completed a hattrick when seeing out the two miles particularly well to land the Queen’s Vase and looks to have the class to make his presence felt at Doncaster.

The current racing live betting market on the big race focuses on Galileo Rock and Leading Light, available at around 11/2 and sharing favouritism. The other horse prominent in the racing betting at the moment is Libertarian (9/1. They bet 16/1 and upwards the other 40 entries, amongst whom John Gosden’s Excess Knowledge has attracted market support and is now a top priced 20/1 chance (from 25’s) having finished strongly over 10 furlongs in listed company last time out.

Anjaal emerges as potential 2014 classic contender

Champion trainer Richard Hannon sent out yet another big winner as his Anjaal (14/1) stayed on bravely to land the Group 2 Portland Place Properties July Stakes on the opening day of the Newmarket July Festival, earning himself a range of quotes for next year’s first colts’ classic of the season, the Qipco 2000 Guineas, writes Elliot Slater.

Racing in the famous blue and white colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Makhtoum, the son of Bahamian Bounty was not fancied on the on-course racing live betting and duly fluffed his lines at the start, getting a little worked up in the stalls before relaxing at the rear of the 11- runner field for the six furlong contest.

Under a perfectly judged ride from former champion jockey Paul Hanagan, the two-year-old appeared to still have something to find over a furlong out but picked up in fine style as he hit the rising ground, steaming home towards the stands side to get up to beat the well regarded Godolphin colt Figure of Speech by a neck, with Jallota a further head away in third.

Anjaal was stepping up considerably in class from his first two career outings which yielded a disappointing eighth on debut at Newmarket – where he failed to get the run of the race – before winning easily at Beverley last time out in maiden company over the stiff five furlongs at the East Yorkshire circuit.

Judging by the way he stayed on in the July Stakes there seems little doubt that Hannon’s colt will stay further. Connections have already mapped out a plan for the rest of the term that includes the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September, followed by the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes on the Rowley Mile track the following month.

Bookmakers have introduced Ajaal into the racing betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas at prices ranging from as low as 16/1 to as big as 33/1 in places.

Camelot Rated a Stone Inferior to Frankel

Despite having never tasted defeat, and achieving victory, this season, in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, the Investec Derby, and the Irish Derby, Aidan O’Brien’s outstanding colt, Camelot, is still rated some 14lbs inferior to the mighty Frankel on official figures.

He would surely have his work cut out if the two outstanding horses of this campaign were to meet at some stage later on this season, writes Elliot Slater.

Now assessed at an astounding 142, Frankel is officially one of the greatest horses of all-time – some would even say the greatest – and one that regularly has even the best racing odds makers running scared.

He has yet to taste defeat in a brilliant career that has seen him demolish every horse that has come to challenge him in all 11 starts since he burst onto the racing scene for his much loved trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, back in 2010.

With the master of Warren Place suggesting that a visit to Glorious Goodwood for the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, towards the end of July, will be next on Frankel’s agenda, it would appear that the only possibility of the Prince Khaled Abdullah-owned sensation meeting Camelot could be in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York’s Ebor fixture, in August.

The Coolmore team seem keener to train Camelot for a crack at the Triple Crown and a win in the mile-and-three-quarters Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster, in September.

It appears to be Camelot’s misfortune that his potentially unbeaten career and possible Triple Crown success – the first since the legendary Nijinsky in 1970 – could well be overshadowed by further breathtaking successes from Frankel in the second half of this season.

However, race-goers, especially those that enjoy a bet on racing, are not complaining, and can hardly believe their luck to witness two such outstanding performers, who have come to grace the turf at exactly the same time.

Kissed retired after French Oaks disappointment

Aidan O’Brien’s Kissed, one of the yards’ most exciting three-year-old prospects this season, has been retired with immediate effect after sustaining an injury during the course of the Group 1 French Oaks at Chantilly for which she started a well supported second favourite in the Betting, writes Elliot Slater.

Anne-Marie O’Brien, wife of leading trainer Aidan, tweeted soon after the race the news that the daughter of Galileo would not see a racecourse again, bringing down the curtain very early on a career that promised to take the Ballydoyle filly to the very top of the tree.

Winner of her only outing last year as a juvenile when scoring comfortably at Navan over a mile, the half-sister to last year’s thrilling Investec Derby winner Pour Moi began this term as she ended last, winning in some style when slamming Aarass by eight lengths in a listed contest over 10 furlongs at Navan once again.

O’Brien had made no secret of the regard in which he held Kissed and hopes were very high that she would go very close at Chantilly, but after setting out to make all the running under Joseph O’Brien Kissed came under pressure and was headed two furlong out, then faded very fast and was all but pulled up inside the final furlong with something clearly amiss.

No details have been given as to what injury the fill sustained, but the speed with which a decision about her retirement was made suggests that it was something that wouldn’t have healed with time. So, after just three races Kissed will be sent off to the paddocks, much to the disappointment of racegoers and punters who bet on sport. The race itself was won by the 25/1 outsider Valyra, the least fancied of three runners for the Aga Khan, who came with a perfectly timed run under the brilliant Johnny Murtagh to catch the favourite Beauty Parlour inside the final furlong to score by three-quarters-of-a-length for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.

Cloud lined up to take on Black Caviar

Star French filly Moonlight Cloud looks as though she will be given the green light to have a crack at Australian sensation Black Caviar in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23, even though the six furlong contest is staged over a trip short of her best, writes Elliot Slater.

The Freddie Head-trained four-year-old has already shown that she remains a force to be reckoned with this term after easily justifying favouritism on her return to the fray at Longchamp earlier this month, defeating So Long Malpic with ease to win the Group 3 Prix du Palais-Royal at Longchamp.

That effort has convinced Head, as well as punters who bet on horse racing with Bet Victor
that the daughter of Invincible Spirit is every bit as good this campaign as she was last, and he is keen to have a crack at Black Caviar and see how his filly measures up before sending her to Deauville in August where she will attempt to win back-to-back renewals of the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, a race in which she slammed the classy Society Rock by four lengths in 2011.

As well as her win at Deauville last season Moonlight Cloud also recorded victories in group company at Maisons Lafitte and Longchamp and is widely regarded as one of the very best seven furlong performers in Europe at present. Quite whether she will have the pace to lie up within striking distance of Peter Moody’s sprint queen over a furlong shorter remains to be seen, but Head is hopeful that the stiff track with its uphill finish will bring his filly’s stamina into play and allow her to give the remarkable mare, unbeaten in 22 career starts, a serious run for her money.

The online betting on horse racing on Bet Victor currently rates the French filly a 12/1 chance to cause an upset with Australia’s darling Black Caviar a rock solid 1/2 market leader.

Caviar jets off on course for Royal Ascot

If you see a champion racehorse in an equine version of a body stocking in the next few days there will be no need to check how many percent proof your favourite alcoholic tipple is, because the outstanding Australian champion racehorse Black Caviar is indeed in transit across the globe wearing a revolutionary new lycra travel suit, writes Elliot Slater.

The mare who is a red-hot favourite among horse racing betting tips to land the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23, has left home territory for the first time in her glittering career and is on her way to England with scheduled stops along the way in Singapore and Sharjah to break up the marathon 30-hour intercontinental journey. Trainer Peter Moody is anxious but confident that the daughter of Bel Esprit will cope well with the journey and has taken the precaution of including her regular vet and two grooms on the flight to ensure that Black Caviar feels comfortable and takes as little out of herself as possible ahead of the major international six furlong event.

Unbeaten in all 22 career starts and having already won a massive £3.6 million in prize money, the six-year-old is sure to prove a major draw for punters who bet on racing, who will be keen to see the sprint sensation in the flesh and witness just what she can do against the cream of European sprinters including Bated Breath, Sole Power Moonlight Cloud, and Society Rock.

A win at Ascot would surely encourage connections to keep Black Caviar in Britain for a follow-up bid for the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket a couple of weeks later, but first she must get here safely with the aid of her snazzy travel suit that will keep her warm and protect her against minor abrasions and injuries. Connections are certainly pulling out all the stops to ensure the darling of Australian racing arrives in tip-top condition to maintain her unbeaten sequence.

St Nicholas Continues to Pay his Way

Unsurprisingly, it was his stable companion, Camelot, who stole all the headlines, after his tremendously impressive win in the Investec Derby at Epsom, on Saturday, one that kept the ‘Triple Crown’ dream alive.

But St Nicholas Abbey put up a high-class performance himself, in easily outpointing smart opposition to win the Group 1 Investec Coronation Cup for the second year running, and should continue to be worth having on your side for the rest of the term, writes Elliot Slater.

If you are thinking of gambling on St. Nicholas Abbey, this summer, you can get great odds on racing on Bet Victor.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster career, following a superb two-year-old campaign that saw him hack up in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy, and become one of the hottest ante-post Derby and Guineas favourites for years, with a curtailed three-year-old season in which he ran just once, finishing down the field in the 2000 Guineas.

Last year, the son of Montjeu defied all his critics. He bounced back to win the Ormonde Stake at Chester, then the Coronation Cup, before enjoying a fine autumn campaign, in finishing fifth to Danedream in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and then putting up a fabulous performance to storm home in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, in November.

All the top middle-distance races for older horses are now possible targets, the ‘King George’ at Ascot in July,  a return visit to Paris, in October, for the ‘Arc’, and potentially the chance to emulate his stable companion of some years earlier, High Chaparral, and win successive runnings of the ‘Turf’ Stateside.

Bookmakers cut the Ballydoyle-trained five-year-old to just 7/1, with the betting on racing on Bet Victor, for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, after he had despatched Melbourne Cup runner-up, Red Cadeaux with complete nonchalance.

It does look as though the horse who, as a three-year-old, appeared to have reached the end of the road, could add more glittering prizes to his trophy cabinet, by the end of season.