I’ll have a complete preview for all four stakes later in the week (hopefully by Wednesday evening) but having given the draw some time to sink in I thought I’d share some observations.
Greyhound and Petworld Oaks
I hadn’t quite appreciated just how open the Oaks was until after this draw was made. My initial reaction was that the third quarter looked extremely hot, the winner of that alone might be a deserving winner, however they’ll still have two more courses to win.
Fota Castle, Call Her Dresden, Careful Betty, Bank Perspective, Ballarue New and Skellig Blues have all been at the head of the betting for months and they find them in themselves in the same quarter, while Floating Cove, Ballyverry Snowy, Horgie Baby and Sullane Jess would certainly not be without chances. The first round buckle between Ballarue New and Bank Perspective could well provide us with a Kitty Butler winner if not the Oaks winner! The opening quarter looks fairly difficult with my two ante-post selections facing a potential quarter final meeting!
There’s a bit more balance in the Derby draw with most of the big guns drawn apart. The bottom course does contain two dogs who I would consider to be more than lively outsiders in the form of Fingal Rory and Rocks Of Bawn, while the top quarter could see a 3rd round clash between two of the market leaders Staunchandsturdy and Needham Danger.
The bottom half of the second quarter is another place where we could see some likely clashes, Roll Over Magic, With Grim Intent, Sunfire Nova and Kingsmill Rover will all be fancied to progress although I wouldn’t write of the chances of Wood Dynamo. Indeed the second quarter could have claims on being the strongest on paper with Central Investor and Valeview Flyer both fancied in the market.
Classics Club Champion Stakes
My initial reaction at the Champion Stakes draw is that the top half looks a little stronger than the bottom half, but in saying that if you gave me a bet now, I’d take a dog in the bottom half.
There’s a certain degree of the unknown in the draw with the likes of Latest Trick having been kept under wraps for much of the year. There are a few dogs who seemed to be in good form at the beginning of the year before going off the boil towards the end of it. Don’t be surprised either if one of the reserves runs well here.
Grace Bruton Champion Bitch Stake
The top half here looks particularly strong and the meeting of Collect Me Now and Duchess in particular seems perhaps the buckle of the meeting. Both are trained by Gerry Holian so I’m sure he’ll have both in good shape. The bottom half is fairly open looking with Skellig Tivoli perhaps getting an early nod should all outside factors be even.