Tag Archive for: Dee Stakes

Capulet captures Dee Stakes to join those in Derby mix for O’Brien

Capulet strengthened Aidan O’Brien’s Derby hand with a front-running victory in the Boodles Raindance Dee Stakes at Chester.

The Ballydoyle handler will have plenty to choose from in a bid for a 10th victory in the premier Classic at Epsom on June 1, with City Of Troy seemingly still the stable’s first string despite his disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas last weekend.

Henry Longfellow, Diego Velazquez and Los Angeles are others in the mix at this stage – and Capulet threw his hat into the ring by providing his trainer with a joint-record 11th win in this trial on the Roodee.

Given a typically well-executed ride from the front by Ryan Moore, the 7-2 shot steadily raised the tempo and took a couple of lengths out of the chasing 7-4 favourite Jayarebe from the home turn.

The Richard Hughes-trained Bracken’s Laugh, who had beaten the winner in a valuable conditions race on the all-weather at Chelmsford last month, came from further back to throw down a major challenge, but Capulet was not for passing on this occasion and was half a length in front at the line.

Paul Smith, son of co-owner Derrick Smith, said: “That was very pleasing and I thought Ryan gave him a lovely ride.

“He appreciated the step up in trip, no doubt, he’s an uncomplicated horse, he travels well so I suppose it will be the French Derby or the English Derby.

“We know he gets 10 furlongs well and he’d probably get a mile and a half the way he runs so we’re delighted with him.

“We have the trials at the weekend and next week and Aidan will sit down with the lads and discuss the plan from there.

Capulet did everything asked
Capulet did everything asked (Martin Rickett/PA)

“He’s a Justify so it’s nice to see, we’re very pleased. Ryan was delighted, he said it was very uncomplicated, he got him into a nice rhythm, he’s a kind horse and stepping up in trip wouldn’t be a problem.

“He turned the form around with the second, but I think he really appreciated the step up in trip there. That (Chelmsford) was a qualifier for the Kentucky Derby, but whether that was ever on the cards for him is a question for the trainer.”

Capulet is now as short as 14-1 for Epsom – but support continues to come in for City Of Troy, who is back as favourite with some firms.

Smith said: “Aidan is happy with him and all roads now lead to the Derby with him.”

Back to Capulet, Moore said: “He was nicely drawn, there were only the four runners and he got into a nice rhythm and was able to build away. I was very happy with him, he came forward nicely from Chelmsford and the step up in trip has helped him.

“He’s a horse who had good form last year and with a bit of luck he’ll go on from here and improve again. I think the nicer ground and 10 furlongs suited him well, so there’ll be plenty of options for him now.”

Speaking from his Ballydoyle base, O’Brien said: “All the options are open to him now and we’ll see how he is, it will be one of the Derbys that weekend, in England or France, I’d have thought.

“There’s obviously the Irish Derby in the mix, too, so all things are open now.

“He’s a lovely, honest horse. He was a little bit free in front today, but did it nicely in the end.

“We took him to Chelmsford to see if he was going to go to Kentucky so that was on the cards, but he was green there and he’d come on for that run.”

Jayarebe has Royal Ascot aspirations after Dee Stakes tilt

Jayarebe looks to tee himself up for an appearance at Royal Ascot with another good run in the Boodles Raindance Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday.

A winner on his July Course debut last summer, Brian Meehan’s charge went on to run with credit when seventh behind Rosallion in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp.

The Zoffany colt made his three-year-old debut in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting and following an impressive victory, he heads to the Roodee in a bid for back-to-back triumphs at Listed level.

“I’m very happy with him, he’s in great shape and this is a very natural next step for him timing-wise, so it makes sense,” said Meehan.

“He looks like he’s come on for the run at Newmarket and improved. It’s only his third run, so we’re expecting more from him really.”

While the Dee Stakes is considered a legitimate trial for the Derby, Jayarebe is not entered at Epsom, with his trainer keen to stick to a mile and a quarter for the time being.

Brian Meehan at Newmarket
Brian Meehan at Newmarket (Bradley Collyer/PA)

A tilt at the French Derby was mooted in the immediate aftermath of his Feilden win, but Meehan has now decided against an attempt at Classic glory across the Channel.

He added: “I think for the moment we wouldn’t be in a hurry to venture any further, maybe until the end of the summer.

“It (French Derby) was a thought at the time, but I talked to the owner and from the Dee we’ll go to the Hampton Court (at Royal Ascot). He’s in the Eclipse as well, so that’s a possible, one or the other I’d say, rather than both.”

Richard Hughes also has Royal Ascot aspirations for Bracken’s Laugh, who reverts to the turf after landing the £100,000 Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes on the all-weather at Chelmsford.

The three-year-old ventured to France to finish fifth behind Aidan O’Brien’s Los Angeles in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in the autumn and Hughes is excited to see how far he can go this term.

He said: “We’re happy with him, so he’ll go and do his best and we’ll see how we get on.

“We’ve had no hiccups since Chelmsford and we’ve been happy with his prep. It would be nice to win a Listed and then go Group Three at Ascot, but we’ll see.

“We could be taking on a Derby horse in God’s Window, but there’s only one way of finding out.”

The likely favourite is the John and Thady Gosden-trained God’s Window, third in last season’s Futurity Trophy at Doncaster and a facile winner of a three-runner novice event at Nottingham three weeks ago.

God’s Window (light blue) winning on his Doncaster debut
God’s Window (light blue) winning on his Doncaster debut (Tim Goode/PA)

“He ran a good race to be third after slightly missing the break at Doncaster in the Futurity last year and then he won in very uncomplicated fashion on his return at Nottingham,” said Thady Gosden.

“He has taken a good step forward for that and he’s back into stakes company now. Of course, it’s a hot race, but he goes there in good order.”

God’s Window is one of three runners who hold a Derby entry, along with O’Brien’s Capulet and the Ed Walker-trained Harper’s Ferry.

After twice finishing second, the latter made it third time lucky at Windsor in mid-April and Walker expects to have a clearer idea about his potential ambitions after this.

He said: “He sort of won with his ears pricked last time. He’s a horse who hasn’t done a lot wrong and we were given a very tempting mark (88) to have a go at a handicap.

“But we’d spent a lot of money on some nice entries and he’s bred to be a Derby horse, whether that’s French or English, we don’t know, but that’s what he was bred for, so we will persevere down that route until we are proven otherwise and we’ll see where we are on Thursday.

“Hopefully the ground doesn’t become quick, but I think it should be fine. It was surprisingly good ground at Windsor and he was comfortable on that.

“I don’t think it’s a given he stays 12 furlongs. He’s a horse with a high cruising speed. He’s not slow, I know Derby horses aren’t slow, but it would be a step into the unknown.

“If we’re lucky enough to win on Thursday, it would not be a straightforward decision which Derby to aim at.”

Capulet completes the field, having finished third behind Bracken’s Laugh at Chelmsford when an odds-on favourite.

The son of Justify was twice placed at Group Two level as a juvenile, chasing home stablemate Diego Velazquez in the Golden Fleece at Leopardstown before finishing third behind Ghostwriter in Newmarket’s Royal Lodge.

His rider Ryan Moore told Betfair: “My colt probably didn’t run up to his best on his return behind Bracken’s Laugh at Chelmsford, but hopefully he will have sharpened up for that run, this 10-furlong trip will suit, and he can return to his two-year-old form.”

San Antonio holds of Alder in Dee Stakes battle of the O’Briens

Father beat son in the Boodles Dee Stakes as Aidan O’Brien’s San Antonio repelled the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Alder at Chester.

Alder was the 11-10 favourite for the Listed contest following an impressive start to his season at Cork, with San Antonio sent off at 16-5 following victory on the all-weather at Dundalk.

As is usually the case, Ryan Moore had San Antonio well positioned throughout, allowing his mount to stride to the front while his rivals jostled for position in behind.

Gavin Ryan delivered Alder with a major challenge rounding the home turn, but San Antonio refused to yield in front and passed the post with a length and three-quarters in hand to give O’Brien a 10th victory in the race.

O’Brien said: “Donnacha’s horse ran a stormer having got dropped back in a messy race. But Ryan had his horse in a better position and was able to control the race.

“We were always going to ride him forward. He’s nice and relaxed and was happy to have horses around him, and he found plenty.

“Obviously it looks like he’s adaptable and will get further. Epsom has to be looked at as well as Ascot and France. The lads will decide.”

Betfair and Paddy Power halved the Dubawi colt to 25-1 for the Betfred Derby, for which O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas disappointment Auguste Rodin remains favourite with some firms in company with Arrest and Military Order.

O’Brien added: “We’ve always thought the world of Auguste Rodin as everything came so easily to him. He’s come out of the Guineas well and will go to straight for the Derby.

“With the Lingfield trial now on the all-weather Bertinelli will go there. The horse we would have run at Lingfield (Gooloogong) might go to Epsom and Continuous heads for the Dante at York.”

Alder (left) just failed
Alder (left) just failed (David Davies/PA)

O’Brien junior has not lost faith in the runner-up.

He said: “The race was a bit of a mess and in ground I didn’t think he would like I actually think he ran very well. He quickened up nicely then just flattened out in that ground, but I was very happy with him. 

“We’ll take him home and see how he comes out of it and make a plan then. For sure he could go to one of the Derbys either Epsom or the Curragh or something like that, but we’ll make a plan at a later stage. 

“You have very little chance from out back when they go that slow, but that’s racing and that’s Chester.”