Kew Gardens was a ready winner of the St Leger, but what does the future hold for him do you think?
I remember part-owner Michael Tabor saying in an interview before the Derby that Kew Gardens could be one to have on side at a bigger price, he was a 16/1 shot for the Classic. He suggested that the colt may have been overlooked and was capable of running a big race. He came into Epsom having run well to finish second in Lingfield’s Derby Trial, so the track looked like it wouldn’t hold too many fears. However, I seem to recall he pulled a shoe off at Epsom and could only finish ninth, but that pre-race confidence stuck in my mind. Since that day, he won the Queen’s Vase over a mile and three quarters at Royal Ascot, but then showed that he wasn’t too slow for a mile and a half with a good turn of foot to win the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp. There is certainly plenty of speed in his pedigree, so I wouldn’t assume that he will be kept over staying trips next season. In fact his trainer Aidan O’Brien has since suggested that he could be an Arc horse and at 12/1 with Sky Bet, he is the trainer’s shortest price horse in the market at this stage for the Longchamp showpiece. He deserves his place in the line-up on October 7 and it’s worth remembering that Order Of St George has been placed in a couple of Arcs for O’Brien and this horse may have more pace than him.
Kew Gardens (right) beat Lah Ti Dar in the 2018 St Leger
Just how good is Too Darn Hot?
Pretty darn good! Where he stands in the pecking order remains to be seen with serious performances from the first two home in the National Stakes at the Curragh, Quorto and Anthony Van Dyke, but he can do no more than win Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes, win it well and remain unbeaten. Like Quorto, Too Darn Hot looks like the mile of the 2000 Guineas will be his cup of tea. Having said that, Too Darn Hot, who is Sky Bet’s 7/2 favourite for the Guineas, also has the pedigree to go on and stay a mile and a half as the season progresses, being out of a top-class middle-distance race mare and a full brother to last weekend’s Leger runner-up Lah Ti Dar. That’s reflected in his price for the Derby; he’s 7/2 favourite for that race too. So the world is his oyster, we will probably be much wiser about how these colts go into winter quarters after the Dewhurst next month, but in the meantime all three merit great respect, but Too Darn Hot just edges it for me at this stage.
Too Darn Hot storms clear in the Champagne
Irish Champions Weekend was blighted by two high-profile retirements but which horse impressed you the most from the two days?
I thought it was a shame we had to wave goodbye to Classic winners Saxon Warrior and Alpha Centauri due to their respective injuries, with the latter becoming a real favourite with me thanks to her magnificent exploits for Jessie Harrington this season. If I were to take one horse out of the weekend though, it would be Madhmoon after his win in Saturday’s Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown. Kevin Prendergast’s two-year-old came into the race having won his maiden very impressively, albeit he looked quite highly strung when winning that last month and it was interesting to see his connections take this slightly lower key route rather than stepping up to the top level. He has had a great start to his career, a lovely introduction to his job, and looks a serious machine. Prendergast will probably feel much younger than his 86 years this winter when he gets out of bed every morning to watch this fella.
Madhmoon on his way to victory at Leopardstown
It’s International Racing Week for our friends at Sky Bet – have you a long-range fancy in the Arc, or Breeders’ Cup, or Melbourne Cup?
Ooof, the Arc looks seriously hot with Enable, Sea Of Class, Cracksman and Waldgeist amongst the possible protagonists. Maybe an each-way bet on the aforementioned Leger winner Kew Gardens is the best bet at this stage at tempting odds of 12/1. Sky Bet are paying five places in the Melbourne Cup, so there should be a bit of value if we can find it. The obvious one to me is Magic Circle for Ian Williams with the horse being kept fresh with a limited domestic campaign which has seen him win both his starts this season. He’s ‘only’ 12/1, but ticks plenty of boxes. Charlie Appleby has also kept Cross Counter for the Cup and he’s a couple of points bigger than Magic Circle. Whether this is a year too soon for the Godolphin trained three-year-old remains to be seen, but he is improving and is one I’d like on my side.
Ryan Moore salutes the crowd on Kew Gardens
And finally an easy one – which horse wins the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday?
I’m glad you mentioned this race, because I’m really confident I’ve found the winner. I’m joking, I’m joking, but I do think I can point you in the direction of a horse that should run a big race. As is often the case at this time of year, the ground is set to be soft/heavy, so there’s absolutely no point going for something that is unproven in testing conditions. The Fozzy Stack trained Son Of Rest certainly ticks that box and many other boxes too. One of the main reasons he’s now Sky Bet’s 7/1 market leader is that he was only beaten half a length last weekend in the Group 1 Flying Five at the Curragh and if the handicapper had the chance to reassess him after that run, he would be carrying 10lb more… for anyone that would like an idea what that equates to, I came across some good suggestions on t’internet. How about the average weight of a domestic cat, eleven times as heavy as a football, one-tenth as heavy as a toilet (!), one-fifth as heavy as a dalmatian, two-thirds as heavy as a bowling ball; you get the idea, it’s a significant chunk of weight! He was staying on with every stride over Sunday’s five furlongs and I suppose the only word of caution is that he is yet to win beyond the minimum trip. He’s run well over six furlongs and beyond, so hopefully that won’t be an issue. If 7/1 doesn’t float your boat, then how about 33/1 shot Amazour for Ismail Mohammed? He’s the sort of horse that if everything drops right he could stay on off the strong pace you’ll get in a handicap of this type and pop up at a big price. The ground suits and he comes here fresh having been off since July. He was a non-runner at Doncaster last weekend, so let’s hope all is well and he comes here with a lively outsiders chance. Ice Age was a horse I fancied for the race last year and he ran well to finish third after it was switched to Haydock and I could see him running a big race again. I’d been keen on sticking with Gunmetal after he won the Great St Wilfrid Handicap after I tipped him up on this blog. I hate deserting horses who have done us a favour, but I don’t think the soft ground will suit.