Over-reaction to Fame And Glory’s Ballysax success hard to swallow

THAT was some over-reaction by the bookmakers to Fame And Glory’s success in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday.

It was a decent performance on the part of the Montjeu colt, of course, but to note him yesterday as the 6-1 second favourite for the Epsom Derby took a bit of swallowing.

Right now it is far from clear as to how strong a race the Ballysax was and, until one or two of the beaten horses run again, we will have difficulty getting a handle on the precise value of the contest.

There is no doubt Fame And Glory is an imposing colt, very much going in the right direction.

I didn’t overly fancy him at Leopardstown, on the basis he had a crippling 5lbs penalty for winning what appeared to be a moderate Group 1 at Saint-Cloud last November.

He went there on the back of one run, a maiden win at Navan. Mind you, Ballydoyle clearly knew he was a particularly smart colt in the making at that stage. They ran four in the Saint-Cloud heat and Fame And Glory was the obvious number one, with Johnny Murtagh in the plate.

Whatever about his Epsom prospects, it will be a surprise should he not continue to prove, as the season progresses, that he was easily the best horse in the Ballysax.

Admittedly, Mourayan, who eventually claimed third, didn’t have the best of runs and it wasn’t Michael Kinane’s finest hour.

But it is still hard to envisage him ever reversing placings with Fame And Glory, on 5lbs worse terms.

The notion, however, that punters might be falling over themselves to get on Fame And Glory for Epsom is almost ridiculous.

As usual the hype was led by the bookmakers’ touts. This is what Kate Miller of William Hill was quoted as saying: “Punters will not leave Fame And Glory alone. We’ve seen some sizeable bets from some shrewd judges.”

I’d say Kate is as sound as a pound, after all she did offer us some of her mother’s freshly-cooked flapjacks at Cheltenham.

When it comes to “spinning”, however, she is up there with the best of them. There is so much water to flow under the bridge on the Derby front that attempting to unravel the puzzle at this early stage is well-nigh impossible.

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WE will have the first classic of the season, the English 2000 Guineas, at Newmarket on Saturday week and it is going to be mighty interesting to see how the Ballydoyle and John Oxx challenges shape up.

I have been hearing the odd thing over the last ten days or so and will be watching closely to see how they pan out.

For instance, my rumour-mill is telling me that Rip Van Winkle, rather than Mastercraftsman, may well emerge as the principal Ballydoyle hope.

John Oxx has two possibilites in Arazan and Sea Of Stars. Arazan is currently a top-priced 12-1, while you can have Sea Of Stars at 16’s.

But again, if the surface threatens to be on the quick side, the word I’m getting is that Sea Of Stars will do duty for the stable.

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LOVE the way Jim Bolger’s Vocalised is progressing. He went to the Group 3 Greenham at Newbury on Saturday with a maiden win at Leopardstown and a Listed success at the Curragh under his belt.

It looked an ordinary enough Listed event, although Vocalised won it easily and impressed with his attitude.

But his Newbury performance was nicely in advance of anything which had gone before. He travelled beautifully through the race, picked up when asked and then found loads when required.

Maybe, he won’t go all the way, but I’d say keeping him on our side through the campaign won’t do us any harm all the same!

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ANYONE else more than impressed with the way Chris Hayes is riding? He was terrific on Jakarta Jazz, yes talking through the pocket, at Naas on Saturday and on Vaticano at the same meeting.

He won both races by a short head and then followed up on Chibcha and Count John at Limerick on Tuesday night.

His orders from Kevin Prendergast regarding Chibcha, apparently, were to be last out of stalls and to try and ‘trick’ the filly into winning. It was a masterful display by the young man.

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