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It’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby day and I’m up with the finches and robins this morning to fly to Ireland to attend one of travel retail’s great social and sporting events.
On the eve of this year’s big race, the great sporting festival (Dubai Duty Free sponsors three days of racing and a charity dinner) has been boosted by the travel retailer’s decision to extend its sponsorship “until at least 2017”.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman Colm McLoughlin (pictured centre below) said: “We have been working together with the Curragh racecourse to create a festival that incorporates premier racing, fashion, food and fun. Over the years we have added more ancillary activities both on and off the track.
“This year we worked with the communities in Newbridge and Kildare Town to have more activities off the track in a bid to create a sense of festival in the surrounding areas. We are delighted to be the title sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.”
Great news and all part of a commitment to community, sports, art, Ireland and the UAE that sets Dubai Duty Free apart as a leader in our industry.
Now, as usual, I am bringing The Moodie Report’s anonymous tipster with me, to help racegoers and online viewers alike sort out the likely (or unlikely) winner of this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. His (it appears to be a him, wouldn’t you say?) track record is pretty impressive though he says so himself.
However, there has been the odd disaster along the way, notably in 2012 when I was forced to sack him… sorry, he decided to pursue other challenges… after recommending that readers avoid the red-hot 1/5 favourite and wonder horse Camelot because of a squilimetre of rain that had fallen the night before and instead back noted mudlark Light Heavy (pictured below in its new career as a shire horse).
“Put your mortgage on it,” urged the Tipster. Apparently more than one reader did and the Tipster was forced into hiding for three years under a hay bale in a barn just outside Wicklow.
Today though, in honour of Dubai Duty Free’s decision to extend its sponsorship, we are matching fire with fire and extending The Moodie Tipster’s contract (though possibly not his life) and bringing him back “until at least Saturday evening”.
With our standard statutory guidance that the value of your investment may (and probably will) go down as well as up, here is how The Moodie Tipster sees today’s prospects.
Of the eight runners, the perennially successful trainer of winners in this race Aidan O’Brien has four of them. That’s half the field according to The Moodie Tipster’s finely tuned mathematical analysis and each one of them is as big a danger in this race as Light Heavy is to the shire mares in its Kildare paddock.
O’Brien declared the track at the Curragh in “beautiful condition”, but only one owner, trainer and jockey (and maybe a certain Tipster) will be saying that come Saturday evening. So here we go:
Jack Hobbs: Runner up in the Investec (English) Derby and thus hotter than a Russell Hobbs (no relation) kettle at boiling point. Actually you’d need a boil over for the favourite to be beaten – he’s going out at 4/5, which means if you bet €400 million and Jack Hobbs wins, then you’ve just made €100 million. This is a superb investment strategy which could transform the fortunes of the travel retail industry if followed. However, there is a slight snag. If Jack Hobbs loses, then it will be like having two Gulf wars, SARS, MERS, the volcano ash cloud crisis, the Asian financial crisis and the Great Depression all occurring on the same day of trading. And believe me, there will be a snag…
Highland Reel: This appears to be O’Brien’s best hope of maintaining his remarkable success record, having run a great race to be second in the French Derby and having top jockey Ryan Moore onboard. Currently 4/1 but the odds are set to be shortening. So will Jack Hobbs’ legs have to be though for this 3yo bay colt to win. Back this one and you’ll be settling for a Highland malt to drown a Reel disaster.
Qualify: O’Brien’s most intriguing runner, a shock 50/1 winner of the Oaks at Epsom and ridden by none other than Colm McLoughlin! Sorry, I misread the race guide, make that Colm O’Donoghue. But that’s close enough for me and listen to the words of O’Brien: “Qualify is the interesting one. Colm gave her a lovely ride in the Oaks, and the last furlong she came home very strong. The Curragh will suit her.” It will indeed. I can see The Moodie Report headlines now: “Colm rides winner of Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby!” You read it here first.
Giovanni Canaletto: Sounds like a brand of Italian ice cream and almost certainly likely to melt in the heat of the long Curragh finishing straight. Despite O’Brien’s influence, save your money and go buy a Cornetto instead.
Kilimanjaro: The last of O’Brien’s quartet and that’s exactly where he will finish. You can dismiss O’Brien’s comment “I think a small field will suit him better” – that just means he’ll be beaten by fewer than usual. By all means put your money on him becoming the first horse to scale the famous Tanzanian mountain of the same name but save your investment here.
Radanpour: Interesting. But so was Solzhenitsyn and the great Russian author’s chances are probably better than the so-far unbeaten colt’s chances today. Radanpour has a high-quality trainer in Dermot Weld but it might as well be Dermot Davitt for all the hope he has today. He gained his entry by winning the King George V Cup at Leopardstown earlier this month, no mean feat. But Jack Hobbs’ are no mean feet either and Radanpour’s simply won’t be quick enough, especially as he loves soft ground. With the weather looking good, it’s a case of when it (doesn’t) rain it Radanpours.
Storm The Stars: Third favourite at around 8-1, the Investec Derby third-placed runner won’t be storming anything today except the horse cart to take it home. Its trainer is a certain William Haggas and while there’s no connection to the like-named Scottish savoury pudding, the latter has all the heart and lungs you need. Storm the Stars doesn’t. I worry about William Haggas’ quote too – “The horse is very well and we came to the conclusion if we didn’t run he couldn’t win.” Mmmm… Mr Haggas clearly has a very sharp brain. But we’ve come to the conclusion that even if Storm The Stars does run assisted by Lewis Hamilton towing him behind his Formula 1 Mercedes, he couldn’t win.
Carbon Dating: Now you would need to use carbon dating to find any trace of form in this 3yo Irish colt’s background. But at 100/1 this long shot represents an interesting, albeit high-risk betting opportunity.
Let’s take that €400 million that you’ve decided not to put on Jack Hobbs after all and place it on the 3yo Irish colt instead. Let’s just say that there is a terrible pile-up mid-way through the race after Jack Hobbs takes fright at the fact that the rest of the field are a lap behind and turns back to join his mates. Let’s just say that Qualify then spots a beautiful brood mare in season in a nearby field, jumps the fence and has his wicked way. Let’s just say that all the other jockeys are banned after getting off their horses, pitching their tents and boiling up some tea while waiting for Carbon Dating to catch up. Let’s just say, ok? Then you have just made €40,000,000,000! You are a trillionaire! And all down to me. So you will share it won’t you?
The Moodie Tipster’s Prediction:
- Qualify (Ireland)*
- Jack Hobbs (England)*
* Qualify and Jack Hobbs will actually dead heat but Qualify wins in a penalty shoot-out as everyone knows the English can’t play football.
3. Carbon Dating (because at 100 to one if you bet your €400 million on a place, and he runs third, you’ll still get €4 trillion).
Postscript: Despite The Moodie Tipster’s defence that he had picked Jack Hobbs as “the joint winner”, he is once again pursuing other opportunities after the abject failure of his main tip, Qualify, in Saturday’s big race. Jack Hobbs thrashed his seven rivals, winning by a record-winning five lengths from Storm the Stars, Giovanni Canaletto and Kilimanjaro. Qualify only beat two home, the hapless Carbon Dating and the out of sorts Radanpour.