Aidan O’Brien’s classy looking Fame and Glory scored an impressive win in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and you had to have lightning reflexes to catch the 12/1 that it was cut to after the race because within a few minutes he was as low as 8/1. Fortunately, I had my fast fingers poised and got a piece of the 12/1 with Mr Patrick Power as he really impressed me going down to the start and he oozed quality as you would expect from a Montjeu colt out of a Shirley Heights mare.
The victory was all the more impressive as the colt was conceding 5lb to the field for a penalty picked up for scoring in a GP1 in France last season. He will now, more than likely bid to repeat the High Chaparral/Galileo route and take in the Derrinstown en-route to Epsom.
John Oxx had stated that Mourayan would improve for the run and well he might but he looked a tricky character and possibly unlikely to be as suited to Epsom as the winner who looks a real galloper. The Jim Bolger runner-up Fergus McIver has improved a lot since finishing far behind the winner in his maiden from last year but is bred by Sadler’s Wells out of a Danehill mare so has the breeding to be a Derby winner, if not the trendier name ;-)
As to whether the 8/1 still represents value…well I think it probably does as most of O’Brien’s have been in need of the run this season so clearly he is a bit special to win so comfortably first time out and at this stage that is the most impressive Derby trial I have seen for some time so take a piece of the 8/1.
However, John Oxx may yet have a live contender for Epsom in the Galileo half-brother, Sea The Stars who won the Beresford Stakes last year. There he defeated Mourayan, an O’Brien hotpot Masterofthehorse, Recharge (who defeated Dewhurst winner Intense Focus earlier in the month) and today’s Ballysax 4th Hail Caesar by about the same distance as today’s winner. That puts him almost alongside Fame And Glory so have 1pt each-way on him at 16/1 with SportingBet as he is as short as 9/1 with Ladbrokes.
FAME AND GLORY – 5pts win @ 9.2 Epsom Derby (Betfair)
SEA THE STARS – 1pt each-way @ 16/1 Epsom Derby (SportingBet)