Things went more according to plan

May 31st, 2015 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Things went more according to plan in this afternoon’s Prix du Jockey Club, when French 2,000 Guineas runner-up New Bay came with a strong late run to beat Highland Reel, who improved from his debut run behind the winner three weeks ago. The winner stayed the trip very well and Andre Fabre is likely to have the Arc as a long-term aim.

We should be hearing more news tomorrow about the final fields for the Derby and Oaks. I have never known so much uncertainty this close to Epsom, with doubts even about the stamina of the first and second favourites. One rumour doing the rounds over the weekend was that Legatissimo could switch from the Oaks to the Derby, leaving Found to contest the Oaks. What does seem clear is that the team at Coolmore take the view, and I agree, that this year’s colts are not as strong as the fillies. As things stand at the moment their only two runners in the Derby are Hans Holbein and Kilimanjaro, but then they may decide to let Gleneagles join them in the line-up as well.

It was interesting to read Sir Michael Stoute’s comment in today’s Racing Post about Ryan Moore’s availability for Crystal Zvezda, suggesting that the filly was ‘his mount’ and that Moore had not yet made up his mind. This would suggest Moore is not contractually obliged to ride for Coolmore, or perhaps any arrangement that exists is between Moore and O’Brien. Legatissimo is, of course, trained by David Wachman.

John Gosden, who had two fillies in the Oaks, was extolling the virtues of Crystal Zvezda last week and my view is that she may end up favourite. Richard Hughes seemed impressed when riding her in a piece of work on Saturday but I am sure Stoute would sooner have Moore retain the mount. I was most impressed with the manner of her win at Newbury, although that form falls a few pounds short of the level achieved by the 1,000 Guineas winner.

I am working hard this week on both Epsom and Royal Ascot, with the Bulletin Book due out on Wednesday week.

Bye for now.

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