Mendelssohn a top contender to end Europe’s duck in Kentucky Derby

Mendelssohn a top contender to end Europe’s duck in Kentucky Derby

first_imgKentucky Derby news Read more Hide Quick guide Horse racing tips for Easter Monday Share on Facebook Aidan O’Brien’s Mendelssohn firmly on Kentucky Derby trail after Dubai win Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… Scat Daddy’s final crop of yearlings were the subject of a buying frenzy at last year’s autumn sales, and now that his last runners are reaching the track, everyone is trying to unearth his heir. A win for one of his sons at Churchill Downs next month could conceivably be worth hundreds of millions of dollars over a productive lifetime as a stallion.What a nerve-tingling possibility for Mendelssohn’s owners in the Coolmore Stud syndicate, as well as for both O’Brien and Ryan Moore as they look forward to one of the few races where victory would represent a significant new achievement for them both.It is still significantly odds-against, and there is so much that could go wrong both before and during the race. Mendelssohn could get to Kentucky and draw the coffin box against the rail, which has not supplied the winner since 1986. Or he could miss the kick, as O’Brien’s horses have sometimes been prone to do in the past when racing against opponents conditioned to go like fury from the bell. He could boil over when faced with a 150,000-strong crowd, or get caught in a pocket in the big field, or succumb for any number of reasons that have little to do with his raw talent and everything to do with bad luck. He might simply come up against a better dirt-bred three-year-old.In Dubai last week, Bob Baffert was telling anyone who asked that Justify, another son of Scat Daddy who has posted the two-best speed figures by a three-year-old this year in the US, could be the next American Pharoah. But Mendelssohn has the pedigree, the running style and above all the class to win in Kentucky given normal racing luck. Moore, who was blown away by his first and so far only experience of the Kentucky Derby and has a burning desire to win it, will surely never have a better chance.No horse shipping in from Europe has ever won the Kentucky Derby, though Clive Brittain, never a man to duck a challenge, went close with Bold Arrangement, who finished runner-up to Ferdinand in 1986. Arazi, who had knee surgery after his famous win in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then drew stall 17 of 18 at Churchill, trailed home in eighth in 1992 (just behind Dr Devious, who took the Derby at Epsom a few weeks later). Mendelssohn will be the first runner since Arazi to travel from Europe to Kentucky as a potential favourite.For the second year running, following Arrogate’s brilliance in last year’s World Cup, it was a race on Meydan’s dirt track that fired the international Flat season into life. It turned out to be the beginning of the end for Arrogate’s racing career, but there are strong grounds to hope and believe that Mendelssohn’s story has only just begun. Aidan O’Brien Support The Guardian Ryan Moorecenter_img Share on Pinterest Was this helpful? Horse racing tips Topics Show Horse racing Thank you for your feedback. Share via Email Wolverhampton 1.00 USS Missouri 1.30 Midnightly 2.00 Kyllachy Dragon 2.35 Scrutiny 3.10 Morning Skye 3.45 Vale Of Kent 4.20 Prince Jai Plumpton 1.55 Sussex Ranger 2.25 Tara Bridge 3.00 Bagging Turf 3.35 Beau Bay 4.10 Cassivellaunus 4.45 Mr Muddle 5.15 Moving In Style Market Rasen 2.10 The Blue Bomber 2.45 Whoshotwho 3.20 Zayfire Aramis 3.55 Admiral’s Secret 4.30 Monfass (nb) 5.05 Clondaw Bisto 5.35 Scorpion Haze Fakenham 2.15 Ascendant 2.50 Diplomate Sivola 3.25 Gran Maestro 4.00 Holbrook Park 4.35 Sackett 5.10 Argot 5.40 It’s O Kay Chepstow 2.30 Pineapple Rush 3.05 The Kings Writ 3.40 Arian 4.15 Tornado In Milan (nap) 4.50 Great Tempo (nb) 5.25 Major Hindrance 6.00 Unwin VC Reuse this content Share on Twitter Share on Messenger There were at least a few commentators on social media on Saturday evening who were left disappointed after the UAE Derby at Meydan. “I thought Mendelssohn was trending to celebrate the great classical composer,” someone said on Twitter. “But it turns out it was just about a horse.”Some horse, though. He did his stuff in daylight, long before the most valuable races card were played out under the floodlights, yet Mendelssohn’s win was still the enduring memory as the spectators streamed out to join the world’s longest taxi queue. His time was a new track record and so was his 18‑and‑a‑half lengths winning margin, and he was value for every inch of it.The Trakus system at Meydan logged Mendelssohn as having run 12 metres further than Rayya, the runner-up – and she crossed the line a second quicker than she had when winning the UAE Oaks by nearly four lengths on her previous start. This was a Group Two contest, several divisions below the standard of competition that Mendelssohn will face in the Kentucky Derby on 5 May, but they were certainly not platers and Aidan O’Brien’s colt crushed them without breaking sweat.Astonishing though his performance was, there is a sense in which Mendelssohn was doing only what he was bred and bought to do. The early death of Scat Daddy, Mendelssohn’s sire, in December 2015 meant that his remaining foals were sure to command a premium price, but Mendelssohn was still among the pricier examples when he was knocked down for $3m at Keeneland’s Select sale in 2016. Beholder, his half-sister, won 11 Grade One races on dirt in the States in a stellar career which concluded with her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita in 2016.last_img

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