My attempt to escape the Monday & Tuesday columns has once again been thwarted this week. As I want to look at what happened at an absorbing Royal Ascot. This week will be last time that you must put up with my Monday & Tuesday thoughts. Although I will be back in the hot seat when there are big festivals at the likes of Galway & Goodwood.
Inside todays and Tuesday’s main pieces. I will be looking back at events at Royal Ascot. You’ll be able to read my thoughts on the performances and talking points of the week. In addition, there will be some of those all-important Royal Ascot eyecatchers.
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Royal Ascot Review – Part 1
It was hot at Ascot both on and off the track last week.
Was it a vintage Royal Ascot? I would say it was a good one without being a vintage one.
There were plenty of good performances and some interesting talking points to come out of flat racing’s Olympics.
Looking at the talking points first.
The draw on the straight course
There was much talk revolving around draw on the straight course in the early part of the meeting and it certainly paid to be drawn middle to far side. The jockey’s decided to avoid the near side and it was difficult for those drawn high to get involved.
Up until Saturday there had been 14 races on the straight course and only one horse drawn higher than 18 won and that was Heredia from stall 21 in Friday’s Britannia Stakes (Handicap). That was 1 winner from 82 runners. Compare that with those drawn in stalls 1 to 5 which produced 8 winners from 65 runners 14 placed. Indeed, backing all those in the stalls 1 to 5 would have produced a £22.87 profit to a £1 level stake.
That all changed on Saturday. There were four races on the straight course, and it paid to be drawn high:
Chesham Stakes – The winner Holloway Boy was drawn 12 of 13.
Jersey Stakes – The winner Noble Truth was drawn 14 of 15.
Platinum Jubilee – The winner Naval Crown was drawn 20 of 24
The higher drawn horses trounced the rest in the Wokingham Handicap. With Rohaan drawn 19 being produced to win his race close to the near side rail. The second was drawn in 29, the third in 31, the fourth in 28 and the fifth in 27. As the jockey’s decided to race near side those drawn in single figure draws never really stood a chance. Especially as the main pace was among those drawn in high.
Jockeyship: A tale of two jockey’s
It was a tale of two jockeys. Not for the first time it was Ryan Moore’s meeting as he was crowned Champion Jockey for a 9th time. Ryan produced arguably two of the best rides of the week on Saturday. He got the fractions absolutely spot on when making all on Broome to win the Hardwicke Stakes and then went on to give Rohaan a perfect hold up ride to win the Wokingham Handicap without having to use the whip. We even got to see a rare smile from Ryan after his Wokingham win.
In contrast to Moore. Frankie Dettori had a week he’ll want to forget. Inspiral apart in the Coronation Stakes Frankie had a bit of a ‘mare’. On Wednesday he couldn’t get the blindfold off Lord North quickly enough in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. He lost many lengths at the start and any chance he had was gone. He then found himself publicly criticised by trainer John Gosden after his rides on Stradivarius in the Gold Cup and Saga in the Britannia Handicap on Thursday. Frankie’s not having the best of June’s – 2 wins from 26 rides 8% in the past 14-days. He'll be licking his wounds after last week that's for sure. The more I think about it. The more I wonder if Frankie will still be stable jockey at the Gosden's yard next season.
Performance of the Week:
I could have gone for Nature Strip after his win the King Stand Stakes on Tuesday. The Australian sprinter put in arguably one of the best sprint performances seen in Europe in many years. Ok, he beat an average bunch of sprinters to the sword, but you had to be impressed by the way he powered clear of them a furlong out.
Then there was State Of Rest’s win in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Granted he got a great front running ride from jockey Shane Crosse but the colt has now won Group 1/Grade 1 races in Australia, United States, France and now England. That is some achievement by a very tough horse who should make up into a very good stallion.
Inspiral sizzles in the Ascot sunshine
The performance of the week must be Inspiral’s win in the Coronation Cup. Four from four as a juvenile ending last season with a win the Group 1 Fillies Mile. She had been forced to miss the 1,000 Guineas, hadn’t come to herself, taking down my 12/1 ante post bet in the process.
There were some doubts about her coming into her belated seasonal reappearance on Friday. However, she produced a simply sizzling performance to beat what looked a high-quality field. The turn of foot she displayed a furlong out to win the race was top draw. Only impressive Irish 1.000 Guineas Homeless Songs was missing. Let’s hope we get to see a clash between those two high class fillies sometime this season. Although, Homeless Songs won’t run on good to firm ground. I would also love to see Inspiral take on the colts & geldings in the Susses Stakes at Goodwood as I think she would beat them.
In tomorrow’s column it’s my Royal Ascot eyecatchers and there are plenty of them.
After all last week’s action, it’s inevitable that this week sport is going to pale in comparison. Although it does get better as the week goes on. Today looks moderate, albeit there’s an interesting Fitzdares Sprint Series Qualifier at Windsor (6:05) which provides Monday's selection.
6:05 – Nine are set to meet the starter for this 6f handicap. You can give most of them some sort of chance. Capote’s Dream and Treacherous were separated by a short head when first and second in last year’s final of the series. The latter is 7lb better off today but the Capote’s Dream’s form figures over C&D stands re 2121. He hasn’t fired on either start this season and the first visor is applied today. Treacherous put in his best effort of this season when a 3-length 5th of 11 at Leicester last month. He’s had a wind-op since that run and is on a very attractive mark when returning to form.
Nelson Gay did best of those who raced up with a strong pace when a 2 ½ length 5th of 14 to Mr Wagyu at Epsom last time. Mitrosonfire took advantage of dropping below his last winning mark when successful at Nottingham 11-days ago. Nudged up 3lb for that win but its hard to knock an inform sprinter and he won twice last June. Punchbowl Flyer is 6lb below his last winning mark andis 3-4 over C&D but all those wins came on soft/heavy ground so unless the rain arrives to significantly ease the ground, he’s not one for me.
Verdict: If the first-time visor has the desired effect Capote’s Dream has a big chance given his C&D record and he could be worth a nibble. As could Treacherous who is down to an attractive mark but you’re taking a chance he responds to the wind surgery first time. Last time out winner Mitrosonfire hit form last June and kept his form well after. He’s the solid if unoriginal pick for a yard among the winners.
6:05 – 1pt win – Mitrosonfire –
Good luck with your Monday bets.