Racing on Saturday in the UK was postponed on Friday afternoon as the sport continues to pay its respects to Her Majesty The Queen following her death on Thursday at Balmoral.
Horse racing was a sport she loved and was often seen in racecourse paddocks with smiles and enthusiasm for the thoroughbred. The sport will continue on Sunday but without its biggest supporter for the last 70 years, although her legacy will live on.
Irish Champions weekend will continue on Saturday with a pair of Group 1 contests at Leopardstown before the show moves on to The Curragh on Sunday.
Vadeni got the better of MISHRIFF in the Eclipse at Sandown in July, but the runner-up had a luckless passage and is now 4lb better off at the weights. His two subsequent efforts were solid enough. His fourth in the King George V & Queen Elizabeth Stakes came after a missed break and a big move entering the straight took its toll over a trip that stretched him.
At York, he had everything else covered apart from the exceptional Baaeed, and even momentarily had him off the bridle two furlongs out, although the result was never in doubt.
He is a solid operator all over the world and deserves another big prize on his CV for John and Thady Gosden.
Despite Vadeni being 4lb worse off, he hasn’t been seen since and the French Derby winner should still have improvement to come on just his eighth career start. The softening of the ground will aid his cause, but I think I’d have Aidan O’Brien’s Luxembourg as a bigger danger.
Luxembourg returned from a three month break when scraping home at The Curragh in Group 3 company, but that was an assignment to put him straight for these Autumn targets, starting this weekend. He was Coolmores’ best juvenile last year and their leading Derby hope before injury struck in the spring. Connections have been patient and they can be rewarded, although later in the year and settling for second this Saturday behind MISHRIFF.
Onesto is another French raider from the classic generation who landed the G1 Grand Prix De Paris on Bastille Day at Longchamp. On a line through El Bodegon, he has a couple of lengths to find on Vadeni, but is a 9/1 shot, compared to the short priced favourite who trades around 5/4.
The other Group 1 on the card is the Matron Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile.
The market has this as a match between the exciting potential of Homeless Songs, and the proven ability of SAFFRON BEACH, and it is the latter who I favour on Saturday.
SAFFRON BEACH is a winner of six of her eleven starts, with four of her losses coming at the highest level, a level she has also scored at twice. All ground conditions come alike to Jane Chapple-Hyam’s four-year-old and she can cap a fine season here. The campaign started with a solid fourth at Meydan on World Cup night before an impressive Royal Ascot victory and then an all-the-way win in the top grade at Deauville least time out, coming home two and a half lengths clear of Tenebrism.
Hollie Doyle knows her well having won the Atalanta Stakes on her at Sandown last August and was on board in Dubai in March. She is an uncomplicated ride and will endeavour to make all once again.
Homeless Songs did us a favour when romping to victory in the Irish 1000 Guineas in May, but hasn’t been seen since. Setbacks and quick ground have combined to keep her off the track and despite the runner-up at The Curragh going onto Oaks success since and the fifth horse winning in France, plenty of others have let that classic form down. Ok, she couldn’t have been any more impressive on that occasion, but it was four months ago and her wellbeing must be taken on trust.
Despite the 5lb concession from the older horse, I’m happy to side with the English raider SAFFRON BEACH.
*18+ | BeGambleAware