SO who would you pick to ride Epsom heroine Anapurna in the Yorkshire Oaks – it’s some spare for someone!
Yes, with regular partner Frankie Dettori all set to partner Enable in the Darley-sponsored Group 1 at York on August 22, the chance to partner Anapurna is up for grabs.
In four efforts so far, Anapurna has been ridden by David Probert and Kieren O’Neill before Dettori took over in the Oaks trial at Lingfield prior to the main event.
Without being rude to Probert or O’Neill, it’s very unlikely either will be on board Anapurna at York. So who would be your choice?
The three standout names for me are Oisin Murphy, James Doyle and Robert Havlin, who of course plays a big part at the John Gosden stable that houses both Enable and this year’s Classic heroine.
The case is strong for all three. Murphy has of course already impressed Gosden with his handling of Roaring Lion, who landed the Juddmonte International at York in 2018.
Added to that, Murphy rode Telecaster for the same owners as Anapurna (different colours, but Helena Springfield Ltd) at York when he landed the Dante.
As for Doyle, well he was on board Crystal Ocean when that horse made Enable pull out all the stops in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Doyle also has plenty of history with Gosden, having ridden the handler’s Kingman to victory in five Group 1 races in 2014, numbering the Irish 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace, Sussex Stakes and Jacques le Marois amongst them.
Doyle is very much a go to man when a big-race mount is up for grabs. And it would be amiss to ignore Havlin, who is a lynchpin at the Gosden yard.
Let’s not forget Havlin was in line to ride Cracksman last term, and in the Oaks was on board the strongly fancied Mehdaayih.
Whoever connections chose, and of course no decision will be made yet as Enable has to get to the big race, the ride on Anapurna is a corking one to pick up.
She will get 9lb from Enable, and only has about 3lb to find on official ratings depending on whether you take weight-for-age pound for pound at this time of year.
Of course Gosden could be three-handed in the Yorkshire Oaks with Coronet another possible, and she was a Group 1 winner when last seen at Saint-Cloud in June.
Olivier Peslier has often been on board the daughter of Dubawi, and it would be no surprise if he continued the association, although replaced by Dettori the last twice she has been seen.
Speaking of Dubawi, another of his offspring Too Darn Hot was retired this week with a leg issue. That’s a shame in so many ways, but in particular because last season’s Champion juvenile was still a little bit of an enigma as a three-year-old.
Added to that, having the Lloyd-Webbers as his owner gave the sport some sparkle. I was at Deauville when Too Darn Hot landed the Jean Prat, and also at Goodwood for his Sussex Stakes success.
In both victories there were glimmers of his two-year-old brilliance. I have said for some time that in my opinion the Breeders’ Cup Mile would have been perfect for Too Darn Hot, and I’m gutted he won’t be in action at Santa Anita.
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That tight circuit which mixes sprinting speed with stamina would have been ideal. I have little doubt he would have taken all the beating in a year lacking a star European miler.
Perhaps Ten Sovereigns will be aimed at the contest, even though he landed the July Cup for Aidan O’Brien.
Today it’s the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot, and many punters will turn their noses up at the event and dismiss it as a betting opportunity. Why? Because of the foreign jockeys. It’s a huge mistake.
I love the Shergar Cup, and there are many reasons why I believe it provides a great betting medium. For a start, there are certain trainers who clearly support the fixture every year and have a great record at the event, including Andrew Balding and Mark Johnston.
But more importantly the different jockeys can be used in your favour rather than as a negative. We all know the pecking order amongst them, and which ones are most likely to suit Ascot. That’s a serious edge.
On that basis, I would expect Vivid Diamond to have a fabulous each-way chance in the Classic at 3.25pm.