Aidan O’Brien may have to make one of the most difficult decisions of his training career today -whether to run or not run Camelot in this evening’s Irish Derby. To quote O’Brien himself he has labelled the conditions as “National Hunt ground” and “tough going” at the Curragh after the recent deluges that it has suffered. He does not want the first evening running of the classic to be the twilight of his colts legendary status at the hand of potentially his own stablemate Imperial Monarch – who has already shown ability on this ground. Crockford believes that given his description of the conditions he is unlikely to take the risk and will pull the favourite opening up the race to others (including his own Imperial Monarch and Astrology).
The super cell flood almost cost us the Pitmans Derby at Newcastle too. If you had seen the paddock and course on Thursday afternoon you would never believe that it would dry up to the extent it has. The 2m contest is always competitive and will be again so today but made even more difficult by the ground.
Looking across the cards Crockford fancies that Hannon will have a good day with runners such as City Image, Libranno, Annunciation and Coup De Ville.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Well Painted (3.45 Chester)
The two runs of this Haggas horse have caught Crockford’s eye. Winning a good maiden at Newbury that has produced winners and then going on to run a good second in a competitive race in soft ground at York this dead cert should hand punters a good profit this afternoon.
Crockford’s Whisper – Gulf of Naples (3.20 Newcastle e/w)
This whisper came straight from Mark Johnston himself who described Gulf of Naples as his best chance of the day and expected to finish in the frame. Having run a brilliantly game race in the Ascot Gold Cup he has the strongest form and should handle the conditions as well as any other. With the Plate always being competitive the rivals to watch may be the in form Crackentorp who is also excellent each way value and Montaff. Given the trainers recommendation Gulf of Naples looks an attractive proposition at around 9/1.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses:
Newmarket – Michelangelo (2.00), City Image (2.30), Dandino (3.00), Libranno (3.35), Disclaimer (4.05) and Dangerous Midge (4.40 e/w)
Chester – Annunciation (2.10), Zain Glory (3.10) and Well Painted (3.45)
Curragh – Gordon Lord Byron (5.55) and Cristoforo Columbo (6.30)
Newcastle – Gulf of Naples (3.20 e/w) and Fire Ship (5.30)
Windsor – Coup De Ville (4.00) and Pearl Ice (4.35)
Lingfield – Royal aspiration (6.20) and Exning Halt (9.00)