Tote Flat Power Rankings – June 2016

What a fantastic month of flat racing we have just witnessed; Harzand gave Dermot Weld a first Epsom Derby winner, Postponed produced a jaw-dropping performance in the Conoration Stakes and Royal Ascot lived up to its billing as the greatest week of flat racing in the world. As expected there is plenty change in our Power Rankings but the more evidence we gather the more robust they become.

1) Postponed

Trainer: Roger Varian

Last month’s ranking:  6 (Up 5)

Postponed looked a horse that was improving with age in Dubai at the Spring Carnival but he truly hammered home that impression in the Coronation Stakes at Epsom last time. Given, Found didn’t appear to enjoy the track, but the manner in which he sprinted away from a smart field suggests he is going to be very difficult to get the better of this summer. You can expect him to defend his King George title at Ascot next month which could set up a fascinating clash with three-year-old US Army Ranger.

Epsom Friday
Minding (Ryan Moore) wins The Oaks Epsom 3.6.16 Pic: Edward Whitaker

2) Minding

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien    

Last month’s ranking: 2 (Down 1)  

Minding looked near untouchable in her 1000 Guineas romp at Newmarket but things didn’t quite go to plan in the Irish equivalent. She banged her head on the stalls that day which may or may not have put her off her game enough to be beaten by Jet Setting but she was back to her brilliant best just 12 days later at Epsom. Coming down the hill it looked again like it wasn’t going to be her day but Ryan Moore manged to negotiate his way clear of the traffic and unleash a remarkable turn of foot to reel in Architecture. At this point she appears to be superior to her male peers but it will be very interesting if she does eventually take them on.

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Order of St George – Ryan Moore wins from the field The Gold Cup In Honour of The Queen´s 90th Birthday (British Champions Series) (Group 1) Royal Ascot 16/6/16. ©Cranhamphoto.com

3) Order Of St George

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Last month’s ranking: 5 (Up 5)

A horse that has always featured highly on this list due to his performances last season, it was satisfying to see him vindicate his place with a dominant performance in the Ascot Gold Cup. He shaped as much the best stayer in that race and even looks to potentially have the class to compete at the top table over 12 furlongs. It is obviously very early days, but comparisons with his stable alumni, Yeats, don’t seem too far off the mark in terms of ability. He looks the highest class stayer that we have seen for some time, his test now is the durability of both his body and mind long-term.

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Galileo Gold – Frankie Dettori wins from The Gurkha – Ryan Moore The St James´s Palace Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) Royal Ascot 14/6/16. ©Cranhamphoto.com

4) Galileo Gold

Trainer: Hugo Palmer

Last month’s ranking: 4 (No Change)

At this point it looks like there is a classy crop of three-year-old colts but no stand out star. With this in mind they could jump up and down the rankings as the season goes on but right now Galileo Gold appears to have the edge. Maybe marginally unlucky in the Irish 2000 Guineas when Awtaad and Chris Hayes got first run the tables were tuned in the St James’ Palace at Ascot where Frankie Dettori was much the best. It tough to draw any solid conclusions from that race and it would be no surprise were The Gurkha or Awtaad to turn the tables again.

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Galileo Gold – Frankie Dettori wins from The Gurkha – Ryan Moore and Awtaad – Chris Hayes The St James´s Palace Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) Royal Ascot 14/6/16. ©Cranhamphoto.com

5) The Gurkha

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Last month’s ranking: 2 (Down 3)

After being so impressive in the French 2000 Guineas it had to be a disappointment for The Gurkha’s followers to see him beaten in the St James’ Palace. There is an argument that Ryan Moore and Chris Hayes rode to beat each other and forgot about Galileo Gold and as the race panned out he clearly wasn’t best placed. He looks capable of turning the tables with Galileo Gold on another day and will probably be best suited to 10 furlongs in time.

Epsom Saturday
Harzand (Pat Smullen) wins the Derby Epsom 4.6.16 Pic: Edward Whitaker

6) Harzand

Trainer: Dermot Weld

Last month’s ranking: Not-ranked

Still very early to make a judgement on the quality of this year’s Epsom Derby as all its main protagonists remain unexposed but it is safe to assume that Harzand is a very smart colt. Almost declared a non-runner for the race after spreading a plate and pricking his foot in transit, he showed the courage of a champion to hold off and ultimately stretch away from the charging US Army Ranger. The first test of his legacy will be Saturday’s Irish Derby where he will have to be at his best to confirm form with Epsom-third Idaho. From there you would think that a soft ground Arc would have to be on his agenda.

Royal Ascot day 4
Quiet Reflection (Dougie Costello) wins the Commonwealth Cup Ascot 17.6.16 Pic: Edward Whitaker

7) Quiet Reflection

Trainer: Karl Burke

Last month’s ranking: Not-ranked

Sprinters are often overlooked but Quiet Reflection is a joy to watch with her searing turn of foot which is proving to be an incredibly potent tool. A winner of 6 of her 7 career starts the Commonwealth Cup was her first Group 1 success and she is a smashing filly for connections. She is probably going to find this tough for the rest of the season as she will likely be forced to take on the older horses but she deserves her place on the list until her run of wins comes to an end.

Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas day
Fascinating Rock and Pat Smullen win the Tattersalls Gold Cup The Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann 22.05.2016

8)  Fascinating Rock

Trainer: Dermot Weld

Last month’s ranking: Not-ranked   

After an underwhelming start to the season Fascinating Rock reversed form with Found in no uncertain terms in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. He was a hardy campaigner last year that seemed to improve with racing and he looks like he could still be on the upgrade. 10 furlongs on soft ground is his ideal conditions and the British Champion Stakes is surely on his agenda again.

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Tepin – Julien Leparoux wins from Belardo – James Doyle The Queen Anne Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) Royal Ascot 14/6/16. ©Cranhamphoto.com

9) Belardo

Trainer: Roger Varian

Last month’s ranking: 7 (Down 2)

Beaten into second in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, Belardo probably emerged as the leading older miler in Ireland and the UK. He just couldn’t wear down American crack miler Tepin inside the final furlong but was nicely clear of the rest. The QEII is likely to be his major target now and he should be able to cement his position at the top of an average group of older milers.

Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas day
Chris Hayes celebrates winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Awtaad The Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann 21.05.2016

10) Awtaad

Trainer: Kevin Prendergast

Last month’s ranking: Not-ranked

A fairy-tale winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas for the legendary Kevin Prendergast, Awtaad was a shade disappointing in the St James’ Palace where he could only manage third. It is possible that it came a bit too soon for him after his guineas exertions but he was clearly only third best. He’s still a horse of great potential and it will be very interesting to see what he next port of call is.

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