Emperor surely the best juvenile at Ballydoyle!

HE'S an exciting colt that Holy Roman Emperor, isn't he?

That was some performance by the son of Danehill, in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, and you would have to say there is no other horse one would want to be on right now for next year's English 2000 Guineas.

His time for the six furlongs was quick and marginally faster than that taken by the three years older Moss Vale in the following Group Three. Aidan O'Brien has a history of running very high-class horses in this particular event, as evidenced by the likes of George Washington, Oratorio, Johannesburg and Fasliyev. Only one of his eight winners of the race, George Washington, has gone on to success at Newmarket, but Holy Roman Emperor could easily double that tally.

He is surely the best juvenile at Ballydoyle!

I have heard Duke Of Marmalade and Trinity College mentioned alongside him of late, but Holy Roman Emperor has achieved a lot more than them.

Trinity College, winner of a moderate Cork maiden, owes his lofty reputation to the now well-publicised comments of Kieren Fallon, “He could be as good as his father (Giant's Causeway)”, while Duke Of Marmalade has looked a grinder so far and doesn't have the class of Holy Roman Emperor.

Anyway, those of us bulling to back Holy Roman Emperor on Sunday morning had just about lost interest with quotes of odds-on in most places. By the afternoon, however, the world had changed dramatically.

Apparently, some faces who should have been backing the market-leader, were ploughing into English challenger, Hellvelyn. Amazingly, O'Brien's charge became almost friendless and opening offers of evens soon extended all the way out to a returned price of 13-8. This about a horse who had been supplemented for the race and who was sure to come home really well.

I had been told that the six furlongs might just be on the short side for him and, if it was seven, there was no betting! At 6-4 and 13-8, though, you had to be a player. He trounced Hellvelyn by a length and three parts and was clearly value for more, had Fallon so wished.

If Holy Roman Emperor's display was a most enjoyable experience then the same could not be said of Mustameet's performance in the Group Two Royal Whip Stakes.

Mustameet has been good to us on more than the odd occasion, but I just couldn't see him getting ten furlongs on a stiff track like the Curragh.

Before Sunday, he was a specialist miler and such beasties nearly always fail to get an extra two furlongs, especially when a strong pace is guaranteed.

Heliostatic and Chelsea Rose set a spanking gallop and we waited for Mustameet to cry enough in the straight. It was never going to happen and the way he saw out the contest indicated that a mile and a half may not be beyond his capabilities.

You'd imagine the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown will prove a bridge too far, but Mustameet is, at the same time, fully entitled to his shot.

One of the most remarkable features of the current flat season has been the brilliant riding of Declan McDonogh, who is making a tremendous effort to be champion jockey for the first time.

At Galway, as he returned aboard yet another winner, a racing-insider remarked: “did you think the new first jockey at Ballydoyle was good there?”

The comment left me speechless, a phenomenon with which I was previously unfamiliar.

Tackled your man, it really was killing me, a couple of days later and he stood by his earlier statement-in no uncertain manner.

“Did I ever put you wrong before?”, he says. “No”, was the somewhat tame response. Could he be right, could McDonogh get the biggest job in racing, if Ballydoyle-Coolmore feel that Fallon riding for them on a limited basis just isn't good enough?

Honestly haven't a clue, I merely pass on what has been said for whatever it is worth.

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