Fresh from the success in both Guineas the traditional Aidan O’Brien domination of Chester and Leopardstown continued last week with the odd bit of Lingfield thrown in for good measure.
As it stands, Coolmore are responsible for five of the front six in the Derby market, a stranglehold which could be tightened further if Japan lowers the colours of the sole interloper Too Darn Hot in the Dante on Thursday, and two of the front three in the market for the Oaks.
Repeating the same old story is never popular with broadcasters and journalists trying to promote the build-up to big races, especially the Classics which will now be forced to compete for time and space with an all British Champions League final on Derby Day.
As a result, it has not taken long for the usual rumblings as to whether such a monopoly is “good for the game” to be trotted out.
Dominance is usually under pinned by excellence and there is no doubt that Aidan O’Brien sets the standard, backed up by a depth of squad from a youth system that would be the envy of even Manchester City and Liverpool and they all get on the pitch (Sarri take note!).
The Coolmore stallions have constantly provided the ammunition to succeed but is it fair to believe this dominance may be counterproductive in terms of promotion of the sport’s major races?
In April and May of this year, in three-year-old only Listed and Group Races run in the UK and Ireland , Aidan O’Brien has had 11 winners (and another seven placings) from a total of 50 runners for an Actual/Expected Win ratio of 1.47 (Par 1.00).
Whilst he saddled more winners in 2017 (13) this was at a far lower A/E of just 1.03, suggesting in terms of domination his class of that year were regularly even shorter in price that this year’s crop.
It is slightly surprising that of this year’s 50 runners only two have started odds-on (Broome on Sunday and Pink Dogwood at Navan who both won) and only five have gone off shorter than 2-1.
Compare that to 2017 when five of the 63 started odds-on and 14 were shorter than 2-1 and it can be seen that this year’s victories have been far less predicted by the market. Indeed, this years A/E represents the highest return in the past decade.
It is also not the case that this happens every year. As recently as this time last year there were rumblings about the wellbeing of the yard as the similar stats read just 8/72 for an A/E of just 0.65, the lowest since 2010.
This season it has been the colts where the dominance has been greatest 8/24 (A/E 1.65) against 3/24 for the fillies (A/E 1.14) and this reflects a similar trend over the past ten years when only three have produced A/Es above par for the fillies and 2010 drew a complete blank (0/17).
For the colts it is still only five years where the A/Es are above par so to suggest the domination occurs every year would seem wide of the mark.
The weather almost certainly has played a key part this year. The Beast from The East played havoc with many trainer’s preparations last season, while this year many trainers were able to have an uninterrupted run and Ballydoyle was no exception being able to utilise a fuller range of facilities as a result.
Rather than adopt a negative stance towards Aidan O’Brien’s monopoly of the first two Classics and the trials, the more positive angle for the sport should positively promote the excellence of its own Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp and Aidan’s own superb squad and their attempts to land a clean sweep of this season’s Classics.
All my calculations were performed using Proform software.
Here a few selections for racing on Tuesday:
Historically his best performances have been at a mile so the return to this trip should suit.
There can be little doubt he is well treated off 69, having placed three times off higher marks since his last success at Windsor off 68. The booking of Oisin Murphy catches the eye as he is 19-121 for the yard for an Actual/Expected win ratio of 1.19.
Impressed me when I called his belated debut at Lingfield on the all-weather when only losing out narrowly to Sash.
The Hannon yard were a bit quiet when he failed to reproduce that performance at Newmarket’s Craven meeting and with a longer break and that extra experience under his belt he is well worth supporting to confirm that debut promise. 3.30 Chepstow: Field Of Vision
Ran really well at the track on several occasions last season and returns here after a sequence of runs elsewhere which has seen his mark drop 5lb.
His form figures at the track read 222212 and his stable approach the race in a rich vein of form with three winners from their past seven runners including 66-1 scorer Air of York at Salisbury.
Another from the Rod Millman yard who is looking to win second time up for the second year in a row.
He shaped well at Salisbury on his return and would have finished closer but for meeting some trouble in the closing stages. Checking his momentum is costly as he does nothing quickly and can take a while regather momentum so hopefully this longer trip and a clear passage will see him in the winner’s enclosure.