The Alex Hammond Blog: A Triple Crown Contender in Auguste Rodin, Goshen at Ascot and More! | Racing news

The Alex Hammond Blog: A Triple Crown Contender in Auguste Rodin, Goshen at Ascot and More!  |  Racing news

Sky Sports Racing presenter Alex Hammond looks back at Auguste Rodin last Saturday and looks forward to an excellent weekend at Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Before we focus on this weekend’s excellent jumps, let me tell you about something that happened to me on Saturday that doesn’t happen very often.

Horse racing is full of disappointments if you think about it. For those of us lucky enough to work in the industry, for punters or casual racing fans, you are constantly disappointed.

Say there are eight races on a card, how many winners can you find? Even on a successful day there are disappointments. Now I don’t want this to sound sour because I’m naturally sunny, but I’m also a realist. But last weekend, Auguste Rodin gave me the kind of thrill that doesn’t happen often.

In the immediate aftermath of his victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, I suggested to my Sky Sports Racing colleague Jamie Lynch that this horse could win a British Triple Crown.

Nijinsky was the last horse to achieve this unusual feat back in 1970, and Camelot came close to achieving it with wins in the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, before an agonizing narrow defeat in the 2012 St Leger.

Like Auguste Rodin, he was also trained by Aidan O’Brien and I wonder if a Triple Crown bid is in the back of our minds as we head into the winter quarters?

Auguste Rodin wins at Doncaster in fantastic fashion for Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien
Auguste Rodin wins at Doncaster in fantastic fashion for Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien

It’s an old-fashioned route for horses these days, so perhaps Sky Bets 50/1 available for the colt to win the Guineas, Derby and Arc is more realistic.

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Auguste Rodin excited me more than any two-year-old has for a long time with his exceptional victory on unsuitable ground at Doncaster. The only disappointment from my perspective is that I wasn’t there to see him in the flesh.

He is 5/1 favorite with Sky Bet to win the 2000 Guineas, 3/1 for the Derby and 14/1 with the same firm for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Exciting times.

All eyes on Goshen at Ascot

We have to put that behind us for now and focus on the winter game. I’m going to Ascot on Saturday and as a result have looked carefully at the card.

All eyes will be on the enigmatic Goshen while making his chase debut in the Ascot Underwriting Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Following Goshen has been a roller coaster ride with some incredible highs and some crushing lows. He’s talented but quirky and it’s hard to forget how badly he hung right-handed at Lingfield’s Winter Millions meeting in January.

However, fences can only focus his mind. His rider Jamie Moore has reported that his schooling has gone well and believes the track could be the ideal place to start him over fences. He is a class act and he should be the best horse in the series and is 6/5 with Sky Bet.

Goshen (on the other side) and Song For Someone are set to meet again at Ascot
Goshen (the other side) makes his hunting debut at Ascot

Anyharminasking is another market leader at Ascot and at the time of writing is 3/1 to win the second race, the Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle.

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It has been widely mentioned that he is the only horse to have beaten Constitution Hill thanks to his victory in an Irish point-to-point in April 2021 and that is a heavy burden to carry.

He has looked impressive when winning two handicap hurdles in the North and could still be ahead of his mark. His trainer Jonjo O’Neill won this with Soaring Glory last year and I hope this boy can do the same.

Later in the afternoon, Mister Malarky can be each way value in the Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase feature. He is 11/1 in an open race, but he is about to have a Richard Bandey makeover and his two starts for the trainer have seen him show signs of his old spark.

Mister Malarky's last win came in the Silver Cup at Ascot in December 2020
Mister Malarkys has track form at Ascot, and won the Silver Cup 2020

He is not badly handicapped, is still only a nine-year-old, and David Bass can suit him well. Regal Encore deserves an honorable mention as he makes his fifth start in the race at the grand age of 14.

He is an old legend and won this in 2020. Leave Of Absence is the one I like in the GI Events Novices’ Hurdle. Chris Gordon is one of the fittest trainers in the country at the moment, and this horse is an exciting recruit for hurdles.

Finally at Ascot, I’m keen to see how Bannow Bay Boy prizes in the concluding Molton Brown Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

I have lined up Matata as a horse to follow in this column recently and that horse broke up in a novice hurdle at Fakenham recently.

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Bannow Bay Boy finished second to Matata in his Irish points and makes his regular debut here for Tom Lacey. Away from Ascot, the Bet 365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby is the highlight.

Bravemansgame faced defeat, in fact he was absolutely hammered at Aintree, behind Ahoy Senor on his last start of last season, and he is back now after having wind surgery.

The two lock again on Saturday and are the main characters in the market for this three-mile contest. It’s not just a fight, Eldorado Allen and Secret Investor add spice to the track and Sam Brown and Paint The Dream complete the line-up.

It should be informative and the Nicholls horses may just be more ready to rock ‘n roll here in a race he has won with See More Business, Silviniaco Conti and Cyrname in the past. He is Sky Bet’s 6/4 favourite.

Have a great weekend and I hope you find lots of winners, even if not all of your picks come home ahead!

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