The holiday’s over, and I am back in the Monday hot seat. It’s great to be back and I wouldn’t wanted to have missed what I witnessed on Saturday.
You can read my thoughts on Saturday’s action and find out why I fancy a well handicapped horse running at Ripon.
Ready, willing and Enable
July is the month of the season when the classic generation meet the older horses at Group 1 level. It all began on Saturday with the Coral-Eclipse. Sadly the 3-year-old presence in the Eclipse was poor with just Telecaster racing for the classic generation.
Dual Arc heroine Enable made her long-awaited seasonal return in the Coral Eclipse on Saturday. Enable looked magnificent in the parade ring. All good horses have a presence in the paddock, they have poise and balance, and she has both of those in spades.
Hunting Horn as expected set a good gallop for his stablemate Magical, with Enable chasing him in second. Taking it up two furlongs from home Enable only had to be shaken up to hold off Magical and the staying on Regal Reality. Her final margin of victory over the runner-up was just ¾ length but that doesn’t reflect just how dominant she was at the finish.
Telecaster was a bit keen on the outside without cover but even so never looked like he would threaten. He needs to be dropped back in class to get a bit of a confidence booster.
The goddess of racing
Owner Prince Khalid Abdulla has arguably had the best colt in the past 30-years, in Frankel, and now he’s got the best filly that I have seen racing. Yep, she's that good and what a straightforward ride she is? That's why she’s such a great horse.
It’s important for any sport to have its Champions and flat racing has it with Enable. After the race the crowd stampeded to see her come back into the winner’s enclosure. Granted there was an element of the “Frankie Factor” to some of the crowd’s reaction, but in truth most had come to worship their goddess.
It’s been a low-key flat season so far but hopefully Enable has now lit the fuse to this summer of racing.
John McCririck RIP
John McCririck, sadly lost his long fight against lung cancer on Friday.
Opinionated, dinosaur and misogynist are some of the words that were used to describe McCririck during his life and they were probably accurate descriptions of the man.
No one can deny that Big Mac, as he was popularly known, was a larger than life character, certainly in public, although in private he a was more insecure and shyer person.
For over 30-years he was one of the few figures in racing recognised by people outside the racing bubble. When the non-racing mainstream media wanted a view on a big racing or betting story, he was the man they went to.
The deerstalker wearing, cigar smoking persona was the face of Channel 4 racing’s coverage for three decades. However, by the end of his time with the broadcaster his eccentric act had run its course.
Love him or loath him, there is no doubt he was on the side of the punter and of course it’s worth remembering he was an award-winning investigative journalist when he worked on the Sporting Life.
No one could ever describe McCririck as politically correct but ironically when it came to the use of the whip his views differed from most in the sport. He had long been an advocate of banning jockeys from hitting horses with the whip.
For many years he was also a patron of the Greatwood horse charity, alongside wife Jenny aka ‘The Booby’.
There won’t be another John McCririck in our lifetime that’s for sure.
RIP Big Mac.
Newmarket July Cup Thoughts
We have three days of racing on Newmarket’s July course to look forward to this week. The feature race of the meeting is the Group 1 July Cup on Saturday. Looking at some of the key trends:
Nine of the ten winners were 3yo or 4yo 9 winners from 74 runners. Whilst those aged 5yo+ are 1 winner from 60 runners.
Eight of the last ten winners ran at Royal Ascot on their last start. Of those 8 winners 7 of them were aged 3 or 4 7 winners from 52 runners. Whilst those aged 5yo+ are 1 winner from 46 runners. The sole older Royal Ascot winner was Slade Power in 2014.
Digging deeper into the stats. Those horses who were dropping back from a mile at Royal Ascot are 2 winners from 7 runners 3 placed. The two winners were US Navy Flag in 2018 and Dream Ahead in 2011. There is one possible runner who fits that profile in Pretty Pollyanna.
Ante post favourite Advertise, deserves his place at the head of the market and looks value at around 4/1.
Fairyland was doing her best work at the finish when 5th of 12 in the King Stand Stakes and will be suited by the step up to 6f.
Pretty Pollyanna was well down the field in the Coronation Stakes but could be suited by the drop back to sprinting and she did win over C&D here 12 months ago.
Both Fairyland 16/1 and Pretty Pollyanna 33/1 look at generous odds.
Hopefully this year’s winner will be one of the above three horses.
Today’s tip runs at Ripon this evening.
8:10 – Granted Benadalid ran poorly in the Cumberland Plate 12-days ago but there’s no denying that the 4-year-old has dropped to a tempting handicap mark, 3lb lower than his last win.
Hopes of a bounce back to form rest on a return to Ripon, a track where his form figures are 313 and the fact that all three of his career wins have come when racing between 11 and 25 days since his last run.
It looks like he will be one the outsiders of the field but if all eight stand their ground he can hopefully run into the places at the very least.
Benadalid – each way
Until next week.