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.

Dunaden Hardwicke mount up for grabs

The ride on serious Hardwicke Stakes contender Dunaden at Royal Ascot on June 23 is well and truly up for grabs following the news that Australian rider Craig Williams, who had been expected to take the mount, will not be able to continue his association with his Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase winner, writes Elliot Slater.

Williams is committed to riding in Japan despite being set to ride earlier on at Royal Ascot on Ortensia in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, so trainer Mikel Dezangles is now considering his options with many horse racing betting tips suggesting that it could well be Christophe Lemaire who is called upon to repeat his heroics on the globe-trotting star who he partnered to a famous last-gasp success over the gallant Red Cadeaux in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington last autumn.

Following his tremendous win in Australia the six-year-old then followed up under Williams in Hong Kong before being given a break prior to reappearing at Newmarket in May when a respectable if slightly ring rusty third to Al Kazeem in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. At the start of this month he took his chance in the Grand Prix de Chantilly in his native France and appeared unsuited by the pedestrian early place before finishing with a flourish, all too late though in eventually coming home third to John Gosden’s Aiken, beaten just over three-lengths.

Lemaire was onboard that day and came in for some criticism for his ride from horse racing betting writers, so it remains to be seen if indeed Dezangles will give the top rider a chance to redeem himself on the horse at Ascot, but there was, of course, little wrong with the way he drove the horse home in the Melbourne Cup so on balance he seems the most likely candidate. Amongst his possible Ascot rivals in what promises to be a fine race are Masked Marvel, Sea Moon and Nathaniel.

Saddler’s Rock runs pleasing Gold Cup trial

Despite running on ground that was all against him, the John Oxx-trained stayer Saddler’s Rock put up a very pleasing effort on his first outing of the 2012 campaign in coming home a creditable half-length runner-up to the mudlark Midnight Soprano in the listed Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, and is now reported by many who bet on horse racing on Bet Victor as bang on target to bid for the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup on June 21, writes Elliot Slater.

A horse who is normally campaigned on good or faster ground, Oxx had little option other than to let Saddler’s Rock take his chance under the extremely testing conditions at Leopardstown as there were no other races available to put the finishing touches to his charge before he attempts to lower the colours of fellow Irish raider and defending champion Fame And Glory in the showcase Ascot marathon.

Last term the son of Sadler’s Wells proved himself amongst the best horses around at ‘Cup’ distances, graduating from winning a Leopardstown handicap off a mark of 87 in July to beating Godolphin’s smart stayer Opinion Poll (recent winner of the Henry II Stakes at Sandown having previously landed the Dubai Gold Cup in March), by four lengths in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup, to end the season with an official rating of 114.

Although that mark leaves him with around 10lbs to find with Ballydoyle’s Fame And Glory, there is little doubt that Oxx’s colt is going the right way, and after his brave seasonal return most firms seem impressed and cut Saddler’s Rock to 5/1 second favourite for the highly sought after race behind last year’s winner, who remains a rock solid 7/4 market leader having shaped nicely when winning in listed company on his first outing of the season in the middle of May.

It is information that will certainly be valuable to those who like to have a bet on racing with Bet Victor.

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.