|Thursday 28th August 2014|
Taghrooda Drifts In Arc Market Following York Defeat
The major talking point of last week’s Ebor Meeting at York came in the Yorkshire Oaks when unbeaten filly and massive 1/5 favourite, Taghrooda, was beaten into second place in one of the biggest shocks of the flat season so far. The John Gosden three-year-old came into the race as the Oaks and King George winner but she was unable to hold off the challenge of Tapestry who is a horse that seems to be getting better with every run. Taghrooda travelled into the race well and looked the winner for much of the contest but Tapestry just followed in her slip stream before going past the daughter of Sea The Stars to gasps from the crowd on the Knavesmire.
The two fillies pulled well clear of the rest of the field which gave the form a very strong look and connections of Taghrooda offered no excuses for the defeat in the immediate aftermath. The intention of Gosden and Hamdan Al Maktoum has always been to send Taghrooda to the Arc at Longchamp in October and although that remains the case, doubts have now been raised about her chances in Europe’s richest race. The bookmakers reacted to Taghrooda’s defeat by easing her Arc price out to 8/1 from 3/1 immediately after the race and it would seem that she remains friendless in the betting with Stan James offering a standout 10/1 about her winning in Paris on the 5th October.
Some suggested that Taghrooda was outstayed by Tapestry at York which would be a major negative for her Arc chances, especially with the ground likely to be a lot more testing come race day. By the same token though, it would be foolish to write off Taghrooda after one narrow defeat by a very good horse and with an age and sex allowance on her side if she does run in the Arc, few would be surprised if she bounced back in glorious style in October, especially given the success of fillies and mares in the race in recent years, with the last three renewals resulting in the females getting an upper hand on their male counterparts, two of which were three-year-olds taking advantage of the age and gender allowance which can be up to 11lbs with the older horses.
Taghrooda was one runner who perhaps performed below expectations during the Ebor Festival but the same can’t be said of Australia who could be a major rival to her in the Arc. The Epsom and Irish Derby winner cruised to a relatively comfortable success in the Juddmonte International Stakes over 1m2f and he continues to build a famous career. The Aidan O’Brien horse has been talked about as a superstar for a long while now and he has duly delivered on that potential as a three-year-old with some stunning displays.
Out of Ouija Board and by Galileo, Australia is an impeccably bred horse who appears to have both speed and stamina on his side which he once again showed on the Knavesmire. Connections were quick to say before the Juddmonte that Australia was far from fully fit but you wouldn’t have known it as he travelled into the final furlong like a good thing before picking up well under Joseph O’Brien, who had sweated down to 8st 12lbs to take the ride. Excellent horses like Telescope and Mukhadram were not match for Australia as he followed horses like Sea The Stars and Frankel in winning the International at York in recent years. He has shown he can win over 1m4f as he did in the Epsom Derby, while he was also placed in the 2000 Guineas over the straight mile at Newmarket and Australia is another one that perhaps wouldn’t want the ground too soft at Longchamp if he is to be seen to best use and the decision is split amongst bookmakers about his chances in the Arc with BetVictor as short as 9/2 whilst Coral are offering 10/1.