Can Clockwork Chai Make It Six from Six in AP Million?

AP Million – Grade I [BC]
AP   Race #5   1 1/4m   Turf   Graded Stake
Purse $1,000.000  For Three Year Olds And Upward.

1 Romantic Pirate, trained by Drabfantasy
This three year old has only raced four times for one win but with a work of sub 1.35 for the mile and the three year old weight allowance you have to take a serious look at him. Running from a bad gate in his last start over five furlongs he got within a length of the winner which was a good effort but that is a long way from a mile and a quarter against the best routers in the game. There are a million reasons why this colt cant win but just the two that say he can, that work and the three year old allowance. Even with those significant advantages a win would be a shock.

2 Cju, trained by Maxmillion Farm
A top class five year old he was a brilliant second in the BC Turf last year although with only the four wins he does find one or two too good at times. He started off the year in good style taking the San Marcos Stakes but then lost his way a little before bouncing back to his best last time when very nearly winning the grade one Manhattan. Just a neck behind Spanish Showboat in that race a similar run would see him in the mix today. This would be just about his best trip so expect a bold show from a good gate.

3 Spanish Showboat, trained by Mb Stables
Just when you think this amazing seven year old is ready to hang up his racing shoes he bounces back. Thats what happened in the grade one Manhattan last time when he raced from a  horrible gate but managed a neck win. He definitely found the fast part of the track that day so the form must be treated with caution but there is no doubting the 2014 winner of this race is in very nearly his best form. So can this seven year old add to his $3500 worth of prize money? well he is working just about as good as ever, he is drawn well and he has the Mb factor, 3 very good reasons for thinking he can.

4 Twisted Flyer, trained by Scarletandgraystable
This five year old has always promised a bit more than he delivered but he seems to have hit the ground running this season and may be the best he has ever been. Whether that is good enough against this very good field i doubt but he takes his chances and cant be written off especially if the ground comes up a bit soft. In his last start he beat three rivals in the King Edward BC Stakes and has won three of four this year so deserves this shot at the big purse.

5 Clockwork Chai, trained by Mb Stables
With a record of five from five this year all of them black type he could be heading for horse of the year if he takes this race and goes onto BC victory. His wins in the PEN Mile and San Francisco Mile were top draw but he had his stamina tested in a fast run BEL Derby last time but still came out on top by a neck. With the three year old weight allowance he looks nigh on unbeatable as his works and race times are equal if not better than the horses he gets weight from. A much better draw today and the only thing that may beat him would be rain.

6 Lunar Blaze, trained by John Henry
Beaten a couple of lengths into seventh in the Manhattan he finished the race off well enough to suggest he can get into this.He tried making all in the Woodford Turf Classic in the race before that but got collared and beaten a half length suggesting that he may do better today if he takes up a closer early position. He was favourite for this race last year and won easily but that was with the three year old weight allowance so wont have it so easy this time. He is working nicely and on his win last year would be a good choice but his form hasnt been so impressive this year and i worry he is suffering from the sort of flattening of form that the four year olds tend to suffer from.

7 Raj Action Packed, trained by NightRider Stables
Has been brought along slowly this year after improving steadily as a three year old but has run well enough in his two starts to suggest he isnt far off his best. I do worry about four year olds in this type of race and he isnt the best of them either so he may do well to get some place money at best.

8 Muscle Shoals, trained by TwinTowersRacing
A nice enough sort who has run pretty well against top opposition but he hasnt shown enough to be part of this sort of field. Having said that he has one big thing going for him and that is a drastic change in racing surface. I have seen it happen at HRP a few times where a good horse on one surface suddenly switches and runs the race of their lives and that may be the only reason to support this one.

9 Carnival O Wow, trained by Oval Express Farms
Won the Fort Mercy at BEL before a super run in the Manhattan where he was only beaten a length from the 14 box. On that performance i had him as a cert in his last start, the Stars And Stripes, but he ran an absolute stinker to end up last. If that race was a mere aberration then a 1.34 and 1 work at PRX and that run in the grade one give him a decent chance from a slightly better draw.

10 Darth Andedudu, trained by Diablo Diablo
Only a length off of Clockwork Chai in the BEL Derby i see no reason he can beat that horse today but he may be good enough to take second. Drawn ten that day he gets ten again today which isnt ideal but the three year old weight allowance coupled with some strong works make him a must choice for first three punters.

11 Chrsytal Pip, trained by Mb Stables
Second in the Man O War and then third only beaten a quarter length in the Manhattan make him a top chance and gives Mb Stables a very strong hand in this race. This trip may be a little sharp for him but he is a solid sort and will be running on at the end if he isnt being used as a pace maker for his more illustrious stable companions.

12 War Scent, trained by Our Athletes
We are getting into the cheap seats now but this is no forlorn hope even from the twelve box. Bought at auction for just fifty dollars he started off very well for his new owner takeing the grade two Fort Lauderdale and has not stopped since. A nose second in the Whittingham Stakes was followed in his last start by a career best second in the United Nations. Just beaten a head that day by the three year old Darkest Days he may struggle again against the three’s but must be a sneaky place chance at his best.

13 Super Charger, trained by Maxmillion Farms
Came from relative obscurity to win the Whittingham last time, beating War Scent, he is clearly improving but may have copped a cheap shot here being drawn 13 in such a strong field. Tough and consistent he will have to run a lifetime best if he is going to be in the mix today.

SUMMARY
A very strong race with some good and great older horses taking on the three three year olds. Unfortunately i think it will be between those three year olds but the likes of Spanish Showboat, Cju, Lunar Blaze and Carnival O Wow will make them fight for their hay.



Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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