There has been an International feel to the site this week with bets in France on Sunday and Wednesday. I am not looking so far afield on Thursday as the bet is down the road at Chelmsford City but the horse in question might be off across the pond to the U.S.A. in the near future.
Aidan O’Brien is hoping U S S Michigan can show he is worthy of a tilt at the Kentucky Derby when the colt lines-up in the inaugural running of the £60,000 Woodford Reserve Cardinal Stakes at 3.35 over at Chelmsford City on Thursday. The mile event is the last of seven races in the European 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' series. Horses running in the series qualifiers gain points depending on their finishing position, with the highest earner receiving an invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on 4th May.
Second on debut to Viadera at the Curragh on sole start at two, he won at short odds in a 6f maiden at Dundalk last month on seasonal bow and you would expect plenty of improvement for the run and step-up in trip. I have the 9-4 bpg early with Hills.
Talking at his Press day earlier this week O’Brien said: “Antilles and U S S Michigan will both run at Chelmsford. If we were to have a horse for the Kentucky Derby, U S S Michigan would be the only one. I’m not yet sure if a win at Chelmsford would be enough to get him in to Kentucky, but he is a big, long-striding cruiser and we always thought he would get a mile and further.”
“Last year was a good experience to witness it and see it – it was totally ruthless,” said the trainer. “We learned a lot and the fierceness of the whole thing surprised us. It was a good experience and there are things we need to improve on.”
The Kentucky Derby is, of course, a race O’Brien would love to add to his CV having so far failed to train a winner in ‘The Run For The Roses’.
Dangers include two from my notebook Dark Vision and Fanaar.