The flat season is well and truly alive! Not only that, but time moves quickly and we now have also the first Classic of the new season behind us! So let’s quickly recap on what happened over the last weekend….
Gleneagles’s a proper miler…..
Isn’t he? You couldn’t say anything else after an impressive display over the Rowley Mile on Saturday. Yes, he had pretty much everything going for himself. Perfect draw, ground to suit and gaps opened when you would have wanted them to open for him.
Says he got an inch perfect ride from Ryan Moore and had the class to take advantage of the gaps when it was most needed. He romped home, stayed strongly the new trip and the 2¼ lengths winning margin is a fair reflection of how much better he is than the rest. For the moment at least.
No excuses for…..
Estidhkaar! Yes, it probably was an advantage to be in the stand side group, but no, that isn’t an excuse for his flat performance. Hanagan hard at work from over three furlongs out – Estidhkaar was simply not good enough.
My assumption proved right that the Greenham result was a rather freakish one, and I find it amusing that connections now try to blame the quick Newmarket ground on his poor Guineas performance, when he performed so well in blistering quick conditions at Newbury before.
Ivawood and The Brave One….
There were plenty of horses a bit unlucky of not getting the best of runs in the 2.000 Guineas. But two individuals do stand out for me in terms of proving a point:
Ivawood clearly stayed the trip and his third place is a very strong result given the fact that he didn’t have the benefit of travelling in the favoured stand side group. Only two horses from single figure stalls finished in the top eight eventually – he was the best of them.
Ivawood was gutsy and showed loads of talent, while not having quite a smooth ride as he had to angle out and fight for his gap. The Irish 2.000 Guineas is next on the agenda for him where he’s going to take on Gleneagles again. He may be able to finish closer then.
Home Of The Brave is an unlikely eye-catcher but in fact he was a strong one for me. He set a true pace for the stand side group and was there till the final furlong marker but didn’t quite see out the trip in the end.
He still finished a good sixth for all of that and he may can win a less demanding pattern race over a mile with an easy lead, or probably preferably, would be dropped back to 7f. He clearly confirmed that his fine victory in the Free Handicap (Listed) was no fluke.
Telescope finds a way to get beaten… again!
He was the short priced favourite in a four runner affair and looked certain to win the Jockey Club Stakes. But he got beaten – once again. Probably Ryan Moore let him loose a bit too early, yet he should have been good enough to fend off Second Step.
In his last seven starts Telescope was either short favourite or joint favourite. He won only one of these and becomes an expensive commodity to follow. Bookies on the other hand are likely to erect a statue for him.
Twilight Son is Pattern Class….
It was only a Handicap, but it’s also been only his third career start. Twilight Express was impressive to win the 6f sprint for three year old’s. Particularly in the way he did it.
This race resulted in the fastest finish on the card and Twilight Son ran just 12.18s for the concluding uphill furlong. There is clearly much more to come from this Kyllachy son.
Legatissimo a legitimate Oaks favourite!
David Wachman’s filly stormed home to land the 1.000 Guineas in some style. Though this may be a slightly disappointing result for the fillies’ mile division – as she is clearly not a miler but very much a middle-distance horse.
Many of the better fancied fillies didn’t handle ground or trip or track or all of that combined. But you can’t make excuses for everything and personally I’m slightly disappointed with the race. Lucida is potentially the one to take out of it, though. She got hampered at the start and ran out a nice second place.
Legatissimo on the other hand came into this race on the back of a Listed success over 9.5 furlongs. So to see her romping home in the way she did, dropping back to a mile, was impressive and says allot about her individual class, but also about the lack of class of most of her rivals in the field.
Anyway, she is obviously a very legitimate Oaks favourite now. On pedigree she is entitled to stay thus far, no problem. Out of a Montjeu mare, you would hope that there is more to come once she steps up in trip again.
False Rail is a positive move….
Admittedly, the newly introduced false rail didn’t prevent the field from splitting into two groups in the 2.000 Guineas, nonetheless it is a positive move and I would hope this experiment will continue. More tracks should follow suit.
Why? Because it helps to prevent horses from finding themselves short of room on the inside rail when coming from off the pace. It works at Dundalk rather well for example, where this was a huge problem for many years before the introduction of a false rail.
It also works well in other racing jurisdictions. I In this context I always like to point to South Africa where false rails are a common theme at every track. It makes for fair and exciting racing more often than not. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be in place over here as well.
Impressed me in the 1000 Guineas. She performed much better than I would have thought. Positive tactics and fast ground helped her to get home rather well over a trip that stretches her stamina to a maximum.
She’ll be reverted back to sprinting now and will be a force in that particular division this season I’d reckon.
It’s been the second year running that I went over to Newmarket to witness the 2.000 Guineas. Becomes a bit of a tradition now?! I really like the Rowley Mile. It’s a nice track, good facilities, good viewing (if binoculars on hand) and despite a huge crowd on Saturday, it never felt uncomfortable at all. Perfect!
Took in this time also some proper sightseeing as I already arrived on Friday. Walking up the legendary Warren Hill was quite an experience. Knew this place only from the comfort of my couch and TV. It’s really steep, isn’t it?!
Next stop was the National Stud. Said hello to Toronado and Dick Turpin and rounded up the day with a beautiful walk along the July Course and the Rowley Mile in splendid sunshine. Saturday followed the Guineas – it’s been fantastic I have to say.
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All Photos Credit: Florian Christoph