Racing UK

Tanya Stevenson

There is a Cougar on the prowl at York

22 August 2014

Explain that!  I refer to Taghrooda’s defeat in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks! 

The betting ring was in shock, the final furlong seemed to last forever as it was hard to process what was unravelling upon the Knavesmire. 

As the day started most believed her task at York was easier than the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.  Bookmakers reported on-course business was small. 

There was a bet of £500 at 1-4, a couple of £900 bets to win £200, but in the main those in attendance had chosen not to venture into their pockets, purses or wallets to invest in the race, instead they chose to occupy every possible vantage point to greet Queen Taghrooda. 

All appeared to be going to script, Taghrooda travelled sweetly into the straight, led two furlongs out trading at 1-50 in running on Betfair, then Tapestry’s looming presence suddenly looked ominous and the rest is all too painful for those who ploughed on at 1-4, 2-9 or indeed 1-5. 

How do you explain to first time racegoers what unfolded?  The events didn’t have the bookmakers crowing, there was an air of deflation, the layers on course in the main had resigned themselves to a tick in the winning favourite’s box. 

Did the King George take more out of her than we put into calculations, and it was interesting to note that the plan remains the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

A stat which does lend intrigue is the fact of the last 12 Epsom Oaks winners to run in the Yorkshire Oaks all but two have now been beaten - Ramruma in 1999 and Alexandrova in 2006 are the only ones in recent years to complete what now seems a very tricky double. 

Tapestry did the vanquishing, outstaying Taghrooda.  How I sympathise with the winning connections as within their celebrations there must be a sense of what might have been at the Curragh, but for the delay before the Irish Oaks and slipped saddle. 

From last in the 1000 Guineas in May to ultimate glory in the Yorkshire Oaks in August, with a bit of bad luck in between, it will be interesting to see where she goes now? 

There have been five winning favourites at the meeting, yet Taghrooda’s defeat will be the only occurrence in the forefront of punters’ minds.   

On to day three and I can’t look. My confidence has all but gone. I’m potless, barely smiling and to make it worse Rory McIlroy at time of writing was three over after 15 so I have done for him as well – no I didn’t back Taghrooda! 

William Haggas trained his 11th Ebor meeting winner since 2009 with Queen Of Ice, and there is room for more.

Ertijaal perhaps, the impressive winner from Good Friday, he goes in the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes at 3.05pm. 

It is wonderful that Wigmore Hall, with all his quirky characteristics, is towards the head of the betting for the first - he won the John Smith’s Cup back in 2010.

Mikey Ennis gave Top Notch Tonto a real peach of a ride on Thursday and he’ll need all his skill to cajole this fellow home. 

On to the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and the heart says Sole Power, but the head says Cougar Mountain and not to discount Rangali. Sole Power has met with a minor setback in his prep to this race. 

Aidan O’Brien has landed both the Juddmonte International and Yorkshire Oaks and now hopes to add the third Group One with the very lightly-raced, but very talented Cougar Mountain. 

He showed his ability when finishing fifth in the Darley July Cup on only his second start!  The form the stable is now in they are hard to ignore. Don’t discount the French challenger Rangali, he’d need a bit more rain but he has the speed.

Tanya Stevenson’s Friday tips:

3.05 York: Ertijaal at 9-1 with BetVictor, Paddy Power, William Hill

3.40 York: Cougar Mountain at 9-1 with Coral

Tanya Stevenson’s Friday pointers:

1.55 York - Sky Bet Transfer Fund Handicap:

Eight of the last nine winners carried 8-12 or higher.

Seven of the last ten winners have been drawn 10 or higher.

Only two of the last ten favourites have won.

Only one of the last nine winners had previously run at the Ebor Meeting.

Only two of the last nine winners had previously won at York.

Sir Michael Stoute has won twice since 2004 (2007 Galatic Star, 2010 The Fonz).

2.30 York - Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup

Sixteen of the last 20 winners came from the first three in the betting.

Tweleve of the last 20 winners had previously run at an Ebor Meeting.

Only four of the last 20 winners had won on their most recent run.

Of the last 20 winners the following ran in both the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup before coming on to York (2011 Opinion Poll, 2006 Sergeant Cecil, 2001 Persian Punch, 1999 Celeric, 1997 Double Eclipse & 1994 My Patriarch). This year Estimate.

Six of the last eight winners had run in the Goodwood Cup that season (12 in the last 20 years) this year Cavalryman, Forgotten Voice and Estimate.

3.05 York - Sky Bet City Of York Stakes:

Seven of the last nine winners had run in at least a Group Three previously.

Eight of the last nine winners came from the first three in the betting.

Three of the last nine winners ran in the Lennox Stakes previously (2005 Arakan, 2006 Quito, 2011 Doncaster Rover)

 Only one of the last nine winners (Polar Bear in 2004) won on their most recent run.

3.40 York - Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes:

Hot Streak and Take Cover have won on both of their York runs.

Pearl Secret and Astaire have won two of their three York runs.

Sole Power has run in 17 Group Ones resulting in three wins, two seconds and three thirds.

Shea Shea has run in nine Group Ones resulting in three wins, two seconds and two thirds.

Fifteen of the last 20 winners had race no more than 15 times previously.

Fifteen of the last 20 York winners were drawn no higher than eight.

Only three of the last 20 winners of the Nunthorpe had previously run in the race.

There have only been five winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes aged five and over since 1980 (Ya Malak 1997, 2004 Bahamian Pirate, 2008 & 2009 Borderlescott and 2012 Ortensia)

Fifteen of the last 20 winners of the Nunthorpe had gone via Royal Ascot, ten of them had run in the King’s Stand Stakes

Six of the last ten winners of the Nunthorpe had run at Glorious Goodwood.

Over the last 20 years prices of the winners range from as short as 4-9f for Mozart in 2001 & Oasis Dream in 2003 to Sole Power in 2010 at 100-1.

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