Saturday may have been a disaster for Spain’s national football team as they crashed out to Russia in the FIFA 2018 World Cup. But there was consolation for Carlos Gallego Muñoz of Travel Retail Spain.
Carlos, a partner in the airport commercial revenues consultancy, came the closest to picking the winner in our annual Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby pundits’ contest.
It’s an uncanny case of history repeating itself in a Moodie Davitt contest as German travel retail executive Steffen Brandt also stormed into the lead in our FIFA 2018 World Cup Charity Competition after his national football team crashed out of the event. The lesson is clear; if you want your football team to prosper in the World Cup, do NOT enter a Moodie Davitt competition.
As noted in my last Blog (see below), the winner of our competition wins a ticket in the retailer’s ‘Millennium Millionaire’ raffle – offering the chance to win – yes, really – a million Dollars. US Dollars that is. All you had to do was choose which horses you think would finish first, second, third and fourth in one of the world’s great horse races.
Easy right? Especially with our occasional columnist The Moodie Tipster to help. Wrong. This year’s race turned out, a bit like the FIFA World Cup, to be full of surprises. And in this case, we’re not talking Dubai Duty Free’s Finest Surprise draw.
14-1 shot Latrobe triumphed in a tight finish ahead of the unfancied 25 to 1 Rostropovich with hot favourite Saxon Warrior in third ahead of Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon (the horse, not the building).
With a result like that, it’s no wonder that most of our would-be millionaires came up as short as a horse with three legs might have in the big race itself. But honourable mentions to Jonathan Holland of Singapore-based travel retail agent & distributor Jonathan Holland & Associates who was trackside to see his choice for second (Saxon Warrior) come third and his plump for fourth, Delano Roosevelt, fill exactly that place. May the fourth be with you ‘Chaps’. Close but no cigar.
There’s also no stogie but a judge’s commendation for the ever-optimistic Patrick Dorais of Dubai-based camel milk chocolate supplier Al Nassma, who also had Saxon Warrior in second and Delano Roosevelt in fourth. That’s suggests Patrick is either as expert in Derby runners as he is in dromedaries or that he was peeping at Chaps Holland’s notes.
But both of their aspirations were dashed by Carlos who picked Rostropovich to win. And if only the finishing line had come 5 metres earlier, the plucky three year old would have done just that. Carlos also correctly selected Delano Roosevelt to come fourth. His choices for second, Dee Ex Bee, and third, Bandua, did indeed finish in that order together but alas as seventh and eighth.
Nevertheless, as Carlos comes to terms with the exit of his national side from the World Cup, his week just turned a little better. And it could be a lot for the better if his ticket is duly drawn in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire raffle.
I must apologise for the atypically astray predictions of The Moodie Tipster, whose rolling annual contract is now being urgently reviewed.
In his defence, however, he did suggest that Latrobe would get close. Writing, “With a name that sounds like some kind of fearsome penetrative medical instrument, Latrobe is clearly worth exploring. Like a fishmonger gambling on what will be his best-seller, put your money on a plaice.” It’s just that the Tipster didn’t expect it to be first plaice, I mean place. Perhaps we should not have made him our sole adviser.
He was rather wider of the mark with Rostropovich, noting, “Go no further than the words of Racing UK. ‘Could come out of the pack if they crawl here, but vulnerable otherwise.’ I’m sorry but the last time any of the other horses in this classy field crawled was the day each of them was born, and even then, as they struggled to stand on their wobbly young legs they’d be too quick for a horse named after a little-known Russian Borscht. No doubt jockey Donnacha O’Brien will feel like he’s riding through a thick soup on a Moscow mule long before the finish.”
The Tipster was closer to the mark with the hot favourite, opining, “Warrior? I reckon it’s going to be more a case of worrier for his owners, trainer and backers.” But with only one out of his four picks finishing in the leading quartet, contract negotiations with the Moodie Blog’s senior executives are expected to be rigorous this week.
Thanks to Dubai Duty Free for a great day out, and for their amazing hospitality. And thanks to all who entered. Who wants to be a millionaire? Carlos clearly does.
MY EARLIER BLOG FOLLOWS BELOW
It’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby time again, with Ireland’s biggest, most prestigious horse race due to take place at the Curragh, just outside Dublin, this Saturday.
Once more The Moodie Davitt Report has teamed up with Dubai Duty Free to offer our readers a fantastic chance to win US$1 million. And once again The Moodie Tipster, our infamous anonymous horse racing expert, is doing his best to guide one lucky reader towards a fabulous US$1 million prize.
The winner of our competition wins a ticket in the retailer’s ‘Millennium Millionaire’ raffle – offering the chance to win – yes, really – a million Dollars. US Dollars that is.
All you have to do is choose which horses you think will finish first, second, third and fourth from the entries below and send them (your choices, not the horses) by e-mail marked ‘Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby’ to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com before the start of the race (you must work in the travel retail industry to participate).
Simply put each of your selections by no 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The winner will be selected on a countback process, starting from first place through to fourth and if necessary beyond until we have a clear winner. In the unlikely event of a tie, a Dubai Duty Free executive will draw the winner from a hat. My hat as the judge’s decision is final.
To help you, I hand over to someone much wiser about the elegant equine examples on show this weekend, The Moodie Tipster, who as you see bears no resemblance to any of our owners, management or staff. He has picked the winner numerous times in previous years. So let’s cross over to the course to The Moodie Tipster.
Thanks Martin. And they’re off! Well, ok, they’re not off yet but they soon will be. At least some of them. A couple of the candidates look as though they’ll be lucky to get out of the starting gates. So, let’s examine the best and worst of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby field 2018-style.
Trainer: Dermot Weld. General odds: 33-1
According to Racing UK, this American-bred colt “stays at home”. And so it should have. For what chance does a horse made out of bread have in a top-quality field such as this? Admittedly it is unbeaten in two starts but this is a huge step up in class for the three year-old. A bit like a Kindergarten child (or Donald Trump if we want to go down a grade) entering Harvard or Yale University. Will its owners be singing that Paul McCartney & Wings hit ‘Bandua on the Run’ afterwards? Frankly, if you’re thinking of a wager, opt for another McCartney composition… ‘Let it Be’.
- CARLO BIRAGHI
Trainer: Fozzy Stack. Odds: 66-1
With a trainer named more like the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band, things don’t look too good for young Carlo. Quite frankly this Italian-named horse would be better playing the famous equine role in Godfather 1, where at least he’d get to sleep on a comfortable bed rather than in a stable after running last. Won a Curragh maiden on debut here but when stepped up in a class a month ago “ran out of gas”, according to Racing UK. Petrol Fossil Stack may have filled him up this time, but the fuel is likely to be leaded. Like Carlo’s legs.
Trainer: Mark Johnston. Odds: 4-1
Those readers who are cleverer than me – and that by definition is everyone bar perhaps Fozzy Stack – will deduce that the name Dee Ex Bee is a devilishly cunning word play on the moniker for Dubai International Airport – DXB. Not surprisingly then, he flew home in the (Epsom) Derby to snatch a brilliant second. Just imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t transited through the UAE! This dashing 3 year old might be named after an airport but his chances are anything but terminal.
- DELANO ROOSEVELT
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 20-1
“Continues to give the impression of a horse capable of winning a decent prize after some eye-catching efforts,” says Racing UK. The trouble is, unless you’re Will Ferrell, Rob Brydon or Steve Coogan, there are no prizes for doing impressions. Perhaps the sentence should simply read, “Continues to give the impression of a horse.” Got himself behind in the Derby and last week’s King Edward VII Stakes, staying on when it was too late, a bit like that really annoying guest at your dinner party. He may be named after two famous American presidents from earlier eras but don’t expect him to use the name of the current incumbent to trump this field.
- KNIGHT TO BEHOLD
Trainer: Harry Dunlop. Odds: 20-1
With that great jockey Frankie Dettori onboard, you couldn’t count this recent Lingfield winner out. But we wouldn’t count him in either and frankly Frankie you’d be better off simply running the course on your own. After his charge flopped in the Epsom Derby, trainer Dunlop suggested that the course did not suit. It was all that grass and need to run around a track, you see. Nor will this one. Dettori, we’re told, will ride the colt with “more restraint”. Even if that means tying all four legs together, he’d probably get around quicker.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien. Odds: 20-1
He’s won once and been second three times in four starts. Not bad but not great either. In fact his best performances were two of those runner-up slots, when he chased home the easy (and classy) Royal Ascot winner Hunting Horn and when he came second in the Gallinule. With a name that sounds like some kind of fearsome penetrative medical instrument, Latrobe is clearly worth exploring. Like a fishmonger gambling on what will be his best-seller, put your money on a plaice.
- OLD PERSIAN
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Odds: 10-1
Three wins from four starts this season, including a big win in the King Edward Stakes (which go very well with King Edward potatoes but I digress). Had quite a hard race at Royal Ascot, which was only eight days ago, and Racing UK tells us he has more on his plate again here. So that’s steak, potatoes and veg. Look for another selection on the menu to win, but he’s likely to be just behind the top three. May the fourth be with you.
- PLATINUM WARRIOR
Trainer: Michael Halford. Odds: 20-1
This interesting contender is running in the colours of Zhang Yuesheng, a Chinese billionaire who has spent heavily on thoroughbreds under his Yulong Investments banner. Bought for €200,000, Platinum Warrior is a son of Galileo, which either suggests top-class equine breeding or worrying evidence that a world-famous astronomer was doing things he shouldn’t have been in the stables one night. He won the Gallinule, ahead of Latrobe, and is improving all the time. Will the Curragh distance be a case of too long for Yulong? I don’t think so. A top three contender. You read it here first.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 25-1
Go no further than the words of Racing UK. “Could come out of the pack if they crawl here, but vulnerable otherwise.” I’m sorry but the last time any of the other horses in this classy field crawled was the day each of them was born, and even then, as they struggled to stand on their wobbly young legs they’d be too quick for a horse named after a little-known Russian Borscht. No doubt jockey Donnacha O’Brien will feel like he’s riding through a thick soup on a Moscow mule long before the finish.
- SAXON WARRIOR
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 4-7
A quick glance at those odds says that you ain’t gonna pay off your mortgage even if you stick your life savings on and the red-hot (as in poker or Vesuvius in full-scale eruption) favourite triumphs. But everyone said the same in the Epsom Derby when he was more wimp than warrior and finished a disappointing fourth. This track, so they say, is easier, and his trainer more often than not wins the big race. But The Moodie Tipster is nothing if not bold and says that at least one of the others will be just too good once more. Warrior? I reckon it’s going to be more a case of worrier for his owners, trainer and backers.
- THE PENTAGON
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 22-1
Oh, oh. If this trend towards American names continues, we’ll discover that Donald Trump is riding here as a jockey next year. And quite frankly I reckon the rather full-figured US President might get around this course faster than the horse named after the HQ of his Department of Defense. In fact, so might the building.
Trainer: Jim Bolger. Odds: 100-1
Not again! As in Theobold Roosevelt? No, no, no, that was Theodore, you history eejit! It’s folly, of course, to ever scoff at a Jim Bolger runner but according to Racing UK he’s been well-beaten in all three starts in 2018. As in eggs being prepped for an omelette. The difference is that to be served up as a winner, Theobald would need a lot more whipping.
THE MOODIE TIPSTER VERDICT:
- DEE EX BEE
- SAXON WARRIOR
- PLATINUM WARRIOR
- OLD PERSIAN