Roderic to brush off French foes
RODERIC O'Connor should take the beating in the Prix Du Jockey Club this afternoon. The race lost some of its distance in 2005 and much of its lustre.
Prior to the reversion from a mile and a half to an extended mile and a quarter, some truly great horses landed this contest. Old Vic, Hernando, Peintre Celebre, Celtic Swing, Montjeu and Dalakhani all landed the race in its old form.
Aidan O'Brien can today scratch the Chantilly race from his to-do list. Cape Blanco disappointed last year but there is no obvious reason to expect Roderic O'Connor to underwhelm. The son of Galileo is likely to improve for the step up in yardage and that is key to his chance. As a two-year-old, he was a quick learner. After a maiden win, he made all to beat Belmont Stakes fancy Master Of Hounds, before trouncing everything except Frankel in the Dewhurst.
This son of a Danehill mare then made light work of a trip to France when running away with the Group One Criterium at Saint Cloud on easy ground over a mile. That suggested a fast-ground mile would be the bare minimum he would need at three.
His Newmarket flop hardly quashed that suspicion so his effort to win the Irish Guineas two weeks ago was extremely laudable. Quite whether the plan was to make the running or not is hard to say but O'Brien's outsider High Ruler was unable to keep up with him.
Roderic O'Connor set pretty fast fractions and was too strong for Dubawi Gold, the Newmarket runner-up whose ride by Richard Hughes was criticised by everyone from trainer Richard Hannon to Hughes himself.
However, I got the impression that the best horse won and Dubawi Gold was not as unlucky as the visual evidence might imply. Roderic O'Connor was still moving strongly at the finish and after setting a strong pace, that is the sign of a really talented horse which needs further ideally. Today he gets that and faces what looks an ordinary batch of French three-year-olds and Casamento, which has to put a poor Newmarket run behind him. Roderic O'Connor, remarkably, has already been ridden by five different jockeys but today he has the superb Ryan Moore to help him.
Roderic O'Connor to win Prix Du Jockey Club, 1pt at 9/2 (Betfair, or best morning odds)
AS is usually the case with popular types of bets, handicap wagering in GAA is one that punters should watch. Tipsters take a team to "cover the handicap" but nearly always at odds-on, despite the bookies' other get-out clause of the handicap draw.
So the many people who fancy Dublin to beat Laois by at least five points today should think hard about it. I did -- and still cannot get away from its lustre.
The Dubs' full-forward line of the Brogan brothers and Diarmuid Connolly is very strong. An adequate performance should see them home by at least five.
Dublin -4 to beat Laois, 2pts at 4/5 (William Hill)
AND so it is left to the men who know best. Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer contest the French Open final today and the underdog, Federer, is in such form as to suggest he can make a fight of it. Andy Murray ultimately surrendered against Nadal but he managed to break his serve and, with that in mind, Federer should win at least a set.
Lay exactly three sets in Nadal-Federer, 1pt at 2.6 (1.6pt liability, Betfair)
YEAR TO DATE
Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€227.82
Still running: €65
Sunday Indo Sport