Well the heatwave ended big style on Saturday and in the process easing the going.
You can find my thoughts on last week’s big race action, including a few eyecatchers, and a tip from Windsor inside this week’s post.
Golden Couple Light Up Ascot
Few horses let alone jockeys transcend the sport of horse racing. However, there’s a couple who do and it’s Enable & Frankie Dettori. I waxed lyrical about the mare, after her recent win the Coral Eclipse and Frankie after his recent big race wins. I’m about do more of the same.
Enable continued her journey to racing immortality on Saturday in the King George VI at Ascot. On paper it looked a high calibre renewal of the race with the likes of Crystal Ocean, Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck, Defoe and French raider Waldgeist all in opposition to the odds-on favourite.
An historic race on a historic stage. We hoped for a good race and we got one. Well, we got a superb one.
Frankie Dettori Should Be Sports Personality of the Year!
I wrote last week about Frankie's ride to win the Irish Oaks. Well he continues to rides the big races better than any other jockey riding. He really should be favourite for this years BBC's Sports Personality of the Year. I doubt he will win that prestigious award, but he deserves to.
Enable Overcomes Wide Draw
Pretty much everything went wrong for Enable in the early part of the King George VI. Drawn out wide, she also had to deal with legitimate “race tactics” from opposing jockeys. Which meant she found herself in a poor position, compared to her nearest rival in the betting Crystal Ocean. The latter was in dream position just behind the leaders on the rail.
To avoid coming into Swinley Bottom, three or four wide Frankie had to shuffle the mare further back than he would have wanted.
Turning for home, I though she might be too far back, but Frankie never panicked and once in the straight the mare quickly closed, on the now leading, Crystal Ocean coming to two out, as Frankie pushed her into the lead after the two-furlong point.
Crystal Ocean Goes Down On His Shield
Crystal Ocean, to his credit went down on his shield, beaten just a neck, and deserves plenty of praise for his effort.
He went hoof to hoof with Enable in the final two furlongs and was still upsides her until the final few strides. However, the mare is as tough as nails and seemed to have a bit more in hand than the official margin of victory suggests.
From a purely handicapping perspective Enable only won courtesy of her mares’ allowance. However, she was only just doing enough and would still have won the race at level weights. As she gets older, she seems to know what she must do to win a race and only does what’s required to do it.
Enable probably hit the front a bit too early and Frankie only had to give his mount one tap in the final two furlongs. It was a virtually a hands and heels ride all the way to the line.
Races Don’t Get Any Better Than This
This years King George VI will go down in history as one of the best races at the track for some time. Races with so much hype attached, tend not to deliver the goods. But this one did and it was a great to see the big two run their races and all in front of hundreds of thousands on ITV Racing.
Forget gimmicks like ‘Team Racing' or ‘City Racing'. If the sport can’t attract new followers, after a race like this then it never will.
French raider Waldgeist wouldn’t have been suited to the rain that fell before the race but still battled all the way to the line. He finished 7 lengths clear of the 4th and was only 2 lengths behind Enable. In the process he wasn’t that far from his form in last year’s Arc behind Enable.
It was a meritorious performance from the 5-year-old and would have been good enough to win plenty of recent renewals of the race which shows how good this race was. Given some of his best form has come at Longchamp, he has to be taken very seriously for the Arc.
Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck was beaten fully five furlongs from home. Granted the ground probably didn’t suit him but he’s increasingly looking like a disappointing Derby winner.
Coronation Cup winner Defoe was also unsuited by the rain softened ground and was another well beaten horse
As promised, here are two horses for your trackers. The first is from Ascot.
Blue Mist, trained by Roger Charlton, had caught the eye when finishing 6th in the Victoria Cup on his seasonal reappearance. The 4-year-old was suited to the easing ground and bounced back to form when finishing third to Raising Sand and Kaeso.
He just didn’t have the pace of the first two home and looks worth a try back at a mile. Away from quick ground, I'm sure there's a good handicap in the gelding.
Jawwaal, trained by Michael Dods, bounced back to form when finishing third behind stablemate Dakota Gold in the Sky Bet Dash on Saturday. The 4-year-old looked the most likely winner when coming to challenge his stablemate a furlong from home. He probably travelled too powerfully in the early stages of the race on the soft ground.
He will be nudged up a few lb for this effort but will remain on a competitive mark and has a decent pot in him in the coming weeks.
Goodwood & Galway Festivals
Today’s see’s the start of the Galway Festival and tomorrow it’s the start of the Qatar ‘Glorious’ Goodwood Festival.
One trainer stat worth noting at Goodwood this week.
William Haggas has had 8 winners at the Goodwood festival in the past 5-years.
Those in the first two in the betting have produced 8 winners from 18 runners 44% +21 10 placed 56%.
He’s 0 winners from 32 runners 7 placed with those runners outside the front two.
If you want my exclusive previews and selections from both meetings you can join me here.
Today’s selection runs at Windsor.
7:50 – Windsor Sprint Series Final and a field of 16 have declared to go to post. The going has eased to good, good to soft in places.
Molls Memory has won her last two starts, last of those came over C&D 42-days ago. Both wins came on good to soft, so any ease in the ground will suit.
She’s only been put up 2lb for that win and although she needs to improve to win this company there’s a good chance she can.
Open Wide has two C&D distance wins to his name. The last of those wins came two starts back when he put in a career best, according to Racing Post Ratings. He’s since finished runner-up over 5f, at Ascot 16-days ago. The quicker the ground the better but he shouldn’t be far away again.
Embour, also won here two starts back, off 3lb lower, and then finished two places behind Open Wide at Ascot. He will also the appreciate the return to 6f.
The 4-year-old is 5 wins from 8 runs 7 placed, when racing within 17-days of his last start.
It's Embour for me, just ahead of Molls Memory & Open Wide.
Until next week.