The first day of Royal Ascot is done and dusted! It’s been pretty spectacular, although it didn’t quite open with big the bang we all expected. But one could say the big guys from Godolphin and team Ballydoyle will be happy at the end of the day – they clearly wrote some of the most important stories. So let’s have a look at what happened and wrap it up…
Solow wins; Able Friend flops
I admit: My initial reaction was disappointment. Of course, the horses I sided with got stuffed. Instead the French star Solow won.
From a racing fan perspective: It was a bit of a let down. We didn’t get the eagerly anticipated clash of the superstars in the closing stages. Instead it was somewhat disappointing, given the fact that some of the ‘lesser’ opponents have been able to finish so close.
Of course is was a good performance, nonetheless. Solow just won the most prestigious 1 mile race in the world. But it was not a super impressive monster like performance, which I would have hoped we would see from one of the horses in the race, given all the hype surrounding them – which I wanted to believe. It was a good performance. Nothing more but nothing less either.
Able Friend was not himself unfortunately. He just didn’t handle the track, was very sweaty in the preliminaries as well. He seemed to settle but not to travel. There were no signs of his trademark turn of foot today. Shame that we didn’t get the race we all wanted so badly. But then this just shows that we are dealing with animals and not machines.
Buratino rocks the Coventry
A big winner for Godolphin – Buratino justified strong market support in the Coventry Stakes and followed up on his tremendous Epsom performance a fortnight ago. He travelled much the best, enjoyed the rattling pace, got a dream run through guided by William Buick and quickened when it mattered. A sharp, precocious juvenile he is, he may have a very bright near future.
Hat-trick denied for Sole Power
It was not the result many would have hoped for in the King’s Stand Stakes. Sole Power lacked the sparkling turn of foot of former days but also wasn’t quite advantaged by the way the race was run. Not quite a blistering pace, the first three where all close up. Goldream won it – the horse I called out from the bigger prices in my preview. But of course didn’t back it.
A 20/1 shot who beat a 50/1 shot in thriller – that’s the way it can go in these sprint races from time to time. But what is highly unusual is the fact that Medicean Man achieved a career best at the grand age of nine! He was a runner-up denied in a photo, but clearly this was his best ever performance. Some training performance from Jeremy Gask!
Gleneagles the star that keeps giving and giving….
I was prepared to take him on, but there was absolutely nobody able to match strides with him in the closing stages today! Gleneagles travelled like the winner throughout and put the race to bed like an odds-on shot should do it. He’s a real star and you simply can’t fault him. He’s done it all. Stepping him up to 10f now? That’s the question Aiden has to answer.
Consort tried to be positive and I thought that was the right move. He wasn’t good enough in the end. Disappointed with Make Believe, who I would have expected to try to make all. But he faded as soon as the pace heated up. Something didn’t seem right with him.
Clondaw Warrior stays the trip
Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore teamed up to win the big marathon Handicap. The eight year old Clondaw Warror, who was last season already quite prolific on the flat, clearly proved to stay every inch of the 2m 4f trip and eventually prevailed in a tight finish under the typical Moore drive! He went off a rather short 5/1 favourite but justified all the market support.
Washington Dc saves the day
It could have been disastrous, but thankfully Ryan Moore and Washington Dc saved the day. He won the final race on the card, the 5f Listed sprint. The US filly went off like mad, seemed to think it’s a domestic 4.5f sprint on the dirt. Fair play, she did really well, but it also suited Washington Dc who fend off the challenge from Areen in the closing stages. This completed a 54-1 treble on day for the man who many believe is the best jockey in the world.