The Racing Week That Was 20-6-21

14-6-21

Monday, we start at Gowran. There was a double for Colin Keane with Zola Sakura and Tazaral. There was a second winner in two days for Siobhan Rutledge onboard Duquesa Beach. At Kilbeggan, there was a double for Henry DeBromhead with Annexation and Demain Des L'aube. At Lingfield, there was a double for Oisin Murphy with Adaay In Asia and Tomouh. At Carlisle, there was a double for Mark Johnston with Tellmeyourstory and Dreams Unwind. At Windsor, there was a double for Richard Hannon with Rhythm and Mr Tyrell. At Nottingham, Mike Appleby was on target with Merry Secret.

15-6-21

Tuesday, the next five days blog will focus on Royal Ascot. Day one began in glorious sunshine. Palace Pier justified odds-on favouritism in the Queen Anne Stakes to get Royal Ascot 2021 off to a perfect start for Frankie Dettori. Entering the final two furlongs, those who took the 2-7 price about Palace Pier might have been a little concerned as Dettori got lower in the saddle to ask for his effort. But while the response was not immediate, Palace Pier got into top gear with a furlong to run – and the race was over as he took two lengths out of the others. He just had to be kept up to his work as Lope Y Fernandez emerged from the pack to claim second, a length and a half away, with Ascot specialist Sir Busker back in third.

Oxted returned to his brilliant best to run out victorious in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Roger Teal’s sprinter was reunited with an inspired Cieren Fallon – who had partnered him to success in the July Cup last season – and the young rider was able to stand up in his saddle to salute the watching crowd a few strides from the line. The pace in the early stages was red hot, with even Wesley Ward’s Maven struggling to keep tabs on the flying females Que Amoro and Winter Power. As Que Amoro began to weaken, Winter Power was left in front – but Jim Crowley appeared to have her covered on Battaash with a furlong to run. However, last year’s winner, who had a setback in the off-season meaning he was making his seasonal debut, failed to pick up when Crowley asked for an effort and he was eventually swamped, although he clung on gallantly for fourth. Oxted (4-1) had been under pressure for a while but powered through close home to win going away by a length and three-quarters from Arecibo and American raider Extravagant Kid. It was the first Royal Ascot winner for both trainer Roger Teal and jockey, the son of six-time champion Kieren Fallon who himself enjoyed so many memorable days at the showpiece meeting.

Poetic Flare produced a performance of supreme brilliance to leave his rivals toiling in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Jim Bolger’s charge had won the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier in the season, run respectably in the French equivalent on soft ground and then been touched off by stablemate Mac Swiney in the Irish version. As he had already won a Guineas trial before Newmarket he was having his fifth run of the season – and had obviously thrived for it. Kevin Manning waited until a furlong and a half out before pushing the button and the response was immediate. The 7-2 favourite shot clear and crossed the line four and a quarter lengths clear of Lucky Vega. Battleground ran on for third, with Maximal fourth. This was a brilliant performance. Poetic Flare was advised to our members 1pt each-way at 4/1.

The Rest of the Royal Ascot card. Berkshire Shadow sprouted wings in the closing stages to land the Coventry Stakes for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy. Reshoun just held off the late lunge of Ryan Moore and M C Muldoon to give Ian Williams his second victory in three years in the Ascot Stakes. Amtiyaz and Hollie Doyle just held off the late lunge of Jamie Spencer on Dubious Affair to win the Copper Horse Stakes. Juan Elcano (14-1) struck to take the Listed Wolferton Stakes for Andrea Atzeni and Kevin Ryan. The chance tracked the leaders and made his challenge with half a furlong left to travel. Patrick Sarsfield looked all over the winner when kicking clear under Tom Marquand, but could not quite see it out. Solid Stone was third, with both the placed horses having started as 4-1 joint-favourites.

16-6-21

Wednesday, we start with Day two of Royal Ascot. Quick Suzy provided trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Gary Carroll with their first Royal Ascot success in the Queen Mary Stakes. Carroll delivered Quick Suzy from off the pace on the stands side to challenge favourite and eventual runner-up Twilight Gleaming a furlong out, stretching clear to win by a length and a quarter at 8-1 – with 50-1 outsider Cheerupsleepyjean almost another two lengths back in third. Charlie Appleby’s Kemari belied his inexperience to win the Group Two Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot on just his third career start. William Buick, striking for the second time at this year’s meeting, always had Kemari close to the pace just behind the leaders before challenging early in the straight and striking for home.It proved the right move as the Dubawi gelding surged clear and then had enough in hand in the final furlong to comfortably resist the late challenge of Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite Wordsworth. The 15-2 winner had a length and a half to spare at the line, as Wordsworth stayed on strongly after being unable to find a change of gear when it mattered most, and Stowell was another length and a quarter back in third.

Frankie Dettori posted a landmark 75th Royal Ascot winner as John and Thady Gosden’s Indie Angel sprang a surprise in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes . Dettori, striking for the second time for the Gosden's at this year’s meeting, bided his time on the 22-1 winner as Parent’s Prayer set out to make all and then Lady Bowthorpe made her bid for Group Two glory. The Italian manoeuvred into position to challenge on the stands side, took over from eventual runner-up Lady Bowthorpe and had two and a half lengths to spare at the line – with favourite Queen Power staying on to take third, just another short head away.

Love had to battle hard for a triumphant return in what proved to be an epic renewal of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Aidan O’Brien’s dual Classic heroine was back on a racecourse for the first time in 300 days, since completing a clean sweep of three 2020 victories when she added the Yorkshire Oaks to her 1000 Guineas and Oaks successes. In the absence of Lord North, who would have been her market rival but was pulled out of his attempt to defend his crown here because of fast ground, 11-10 favourite Love made all – but had a fight on her hands all the way up the straight as James Fanshawe’s Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya launched a persistent challenge. But Love would not be denied and was on top at the line by three-quarters of a length from Audarya, who was also having her first run since last year, with O’Brien’s second-string Armory third. This was very tenacious from Love it was great stuff.

Chipotle (22-1) sparked scenes of delight in the winner’s enclosure with victory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. The Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster at the start of the season – travelled at the rear of the group on the far side of the track in the hands of Charlie Bishop, who timed it to perfection in picking off his rivals. Dig Two was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with Boonie another head away in third. Lola Showgirl (12-1) prevailed in the inaugural Kensington Palace Stakes for Laura Pearson and David Loughnane. The filly made all of the running and was never passed. Loughnane also took the runner-up slot as Ffion finished second, with Waliyak coming third.

Rising star Marco Ghiani gave a jubilant celebration as he stormed to victory aboard Real World (18-1) for Saeed bin Suroor in the Royal Hunt Cup. The talented apprentice had fellow Godolphin runner Eastern World from Charlie Appleby's yard for company as the pair blazed along on the far rail – but once Ghiani hit top gear on the winner he shot clear. It was all over from there, and even though favourite Astro King tried to make late gains he was still four and three-quarter lengths adrift. Grove Ferry and Ouzo took third and fourth respectively.

17-6-21

Thursday, Day 3 of Royal Ascot , Subjectivist provided Mark Johnston with a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, as Stradivarius – chasing a fourth win of his own – met trouble in running and could only finish fourth. Joe Fanning sat second throughout as Amhran Na Bhfiann set steady fractions at the head of affairs, while Frankie Dettori on Stradivarius was happy to let the race unfold in front of him. Fanning kicked clear with over two furlongs to run, just before the field turned into the straight, and as the runners bunched up Dettori found a wall of horses blocking his path on the favourite. Subjectivist – so impressive in the Dubai Gold Cup last time out and a Group One winner in France before that – took three lengths out of the field and was never likely to be found out for a lack of stamina. As he kicked clear Amhran Na Bhfiann was weakening rapidly – right into Dettori’s path – and all of a sudden Stradivarius was up against it. Tony Mullins’ mare Princess Zoe came out of the pack to chase Subjectivist and although Dettori tried valiantly to weave his way through, he found himself with too much to do. Subjectivist (13-2) had five lengths to spare over Princess Zoe, with Spanish Mission a further half-length back in third, just ahead of the 5-6 market leader. Princess Zoe was advised (0.5pt each way) 28/1 to our members.

Loving Dream caused an 18-1 upset for John and Thady Gosden and jockey Robert Havlin in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. The apparent second-string from the Gosden yard given Frankie Dettori was on Gloria Mundi, the daughter of Gleneagles took a huge step forward from her fifth place in the Lingfield Oaks Trial. Running in the famous pink colours of Lordship Stud, she hit the front a long way out and there were plenty of challengers queueing up behind her. Deep inside the final furlong, it was Roger Varian's previously unbeaten Eshaada who broke free of the pack deep inside the final furlong to throw down the biggest challenge. However, to Loving Dream’s credit, she found more for pressure and held on to win by three-quarters of a length. Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Nicest and Divinely were third and fourth while Noon Star, who beat the winner at Wetherby earlier in the season, was forced wide into the straight and finished unplaced.

Perfect Power (14-1) prevailed in a blanket finish to the Norfolk Stakes as Paul Hanagan recorded an emotional success. Trained in Yorkshire by Richard Fahey, the son of first-season sire Ardad only got off the mark at Hamilton eight days ago. The field split into two groups, with Go Bears Go making a bold bid on the far side looking to give David Loughnane his second winner at the meeting after taking the closing race on Tuesday, while Wesley Ward's Lucci led the other group. Perfect Power had plenty to do entering the final furlong, but coming widest of all in the stands side group, he began to hit top gear as close to the rail Project Dante, another northern raider, was also making gains. Go Bears Go was still in front on the far side and had seen off Cadamosto, as it became a case of which group would come out on top. There was nothing in it as the juveniles flashed by the post, but Perfect Power just got the verdict by head from Go Bears Go, with the Bryan Smart-trained Project Dante a nose back in third.

Mohaafeth (11-8F) continued his rapid progression up the ranks when winning a dramatic running of the Hampton Court Stakes. Unfortunately Mohaafeth then began to hang right-handed towards the rail – while also quickening clear with Roman Empire – and although going clear of his only rival, the Frankel colt ended up drifting to his right and Ryan Moore had to stop riding briefly on Roman Empire. The stewards inevitably had a look, leading to a tense wait for connections of Mohaafeth before he was confirmed the winner by a length and three-quarters.

Marcus Tregoning registered a first Royal Ascot success since 2003 as Perotto (18-1) landed the Britannia Stakes. Perotto had his stamina to prove racing over a mile for the first time – which was a marked rise in trip from his two-year-old days when he even ran over five furlongs in the Flying Childers. Settled at the rear of the pack by champion jockey Oisin Murphy, there was little between the two groups and Perotto made a bold move a furlong out. Joseph O’Brien’s Liffey River was charging home late but failed to get there by half a length, with Quintillus and Dubai Honour fourth. It was good news for our members as Perotto was advised (0.5pt each way) at 20/1. The famous Juddmonte silks were carried to a poignant victory by Ralph Beckett’s Surefire (5-1) in the King George V Stakes. It was a first Royal Ascot success for jockey Hector Crouch and possibly a final one celebrated by Teddy Grimthorpe, who steps down from his long-standing role as racing manager to the late Khalid Abdullah on Saturday. The closing Buckingham Palace Stakes went the way of John Quinn’s Highfield Princess (18-1), providing jockey Jason Hart with a first winner at the meeting. Lord Rapscallion was advised  (0.5pt each way) 25/1 placed.

18-6-21

Friday, Day four of Royal Ascot. Campanelle was awarded the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot following a dramatic stewards’ inquiry – having initially been beaten in a photo-finish by Dragon Symbol. Winner of the Queen Mary 12 months ago, Campanelle was in the firing line throughout under Frankie Dettori and while all her rivals were seemingly feeling the pressure in behind, Wesley Ward’s filly was still travelling well. However, suddenly Oisin Murphy’s mount Dragon Symbol (4-1) quickened smartly and headed Campanelle, with the two then pulling clear of the pack. With Campanelle (5-1) drawing back alongside Dragon Symbol, Archie Watson’s three-year-old began to drift to his right, carrying the American across the track with him. Murphy switched his whip into his right hand, getting his mount straightened up, and the two went at it hammer and tongs for the final half a furlong. There was little between them as they flashed by the line together, with Dragon Symbol a head in front before the inevitable inquiry was called.

Johnny Murtagh celebrated his first winner as a trainer at Royal Ascot when Create Belief turned the Sandringham Stakes into a rout. Well-backed when the torrential rain hit overnight, Create Belief was sent off a 6-1 chance in a field that saw nine non-runners due to the worsening conditions. Ridden by Ben Coen – another to be celebrating a first Royal Ascot winner – Create Belief put the race to bed a long way out. She cruised into the lead with a furlong and a half to run and despite being put up 10lb for a win in a big handicap at the Curragh last time out, she sprinted clear. Michael Stoute's 5-1 favourite Samoot was the only filly to give any sort of chase, but she had no answer and was beaten five and a half lengths. Messidor was third, with She Do fourth.

Oisin Murphy secured his second win of the day, and his fourth at the meeting, as 7-2 favourite Quickthorn relished the conditions in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. Murphy settled on the heels of the pacesetting Zabeel Champion and was perfectly placed to make his challenge as the field turned for home. Hollie Doyle shot up the inside rail on last year’s victor Scarlet Dragon, while Raymond Tusk and Mirann tried to take a hand in the finish, but Murphy had plenty up his sleeve on the Hughie Morrison-trained Quickthorn, who stretched clear in the final furlong. Raymond Tusk was a length and a half back in second, with the gutsy Zabeel Champion beaten three-quarters of a length in third. Clifford Lee rode his first Royal Ascot winner as the Karl Burke-trained Significantly just held on in the closing Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes.Sent off a 10-1 shot, Significantly had posted an eyecatching piece of form last time in finishing second to Dragon Symbol, who was first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup before being demoted to second earlier in the afternoon. Lee set sail for home with a couple of furlongs to run on Significantly and although he tired at the finish in the heavy ground, he fended off the late burst of Boomshalaa.

Alenquer backed up the form of his Sandown win with a stylish success in the King Edward VII Stakes. William Haggas' colt won the bet365 Classic Trial at the Esher track with subsequent Derby winner Adayer back in second, and connections had been considering supplementing him for Epsom or going for the German Derby. However, a setback meant those thoughts were short-lived and now they may be wondering what might have been. Sandrine maintained her unbeaten record in the Albany Stakes to provide Andrew Balding with his second two-year-old winner of the week. In very contrasting conditions to the first three days of the meeting, the ground had turned extremely testing and the fixture had to survive a lengthy inspection before being given the go-ahead.

19-6-21

Saturday, Day five of Royal Ascot. Dream Of Dreams finally won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes after two previous near-misses in the final day feature of Royal Ascot. Sir Michael Stoute - who has trained more winners at the meeting than anyone else - was recording his 82nd success at the fixture and having been beaten in two photo-finishes in the past two runnings, he will be delighted to have won with the chestnut. Blue Point edged him out in 2019, while 12 months ago it was Hello Youmzain, and he was sent off the 3-1 favourite to make amends. Tim Easterby's Art Power - a winner 12 months ago in handicap company - set out to make it a real test and by halfway had most of his rivals in trouble. They included Glen Shiel, successful on Champions Day last season for Hollie Doyle, but to his credit, he battled all the way to the line. As Art Power's stride began to shorten Ryan Moore sensed the time was right to attack on Dream Of Dreams, and despite having two lengths to make up when he started his challenge with a furlong to run he was almost on terms. Glen Shiel did not go down with a fight, and Art Power stuck on gamely, but with Moore in full cry and a willing partner there was only going to be one outcome as the seven-year-old prevailed by a length, with three-quarters back to the third. Glen Shiel was advised (0.75pt each way) 7/1.

The Queen very nearly got a winner in the first race on her visit to the final day of Royal Ascot. But try as Frankie Dettori might on Reach For The Moon in the Chesham Stakes, he could not quite hold off Ryan Moore aboard Aidan O'Brien’s 10-11 favourite Point Lonsdale.  Creative Force led home a one-two for Charlie Appleby in the Jersey Stakes. Unbeaten in three previous starts this season, the winner was deserted by William Buick in favour of Naval Crown. But Buick picked the wrong one, with James Doyle and Creative Force taking top honours, as the pair were returned 5-1 joint-favourites. Vadream was third.

Wonderful Tonight (5-1) picked up in tremendous fashion to seal victory in the Hardwicke Stakes. David Menuisier’s star had won on Champions Day in similar conditions – and again showed her class. Rocketing clear when asked by William Buick, she had enough left in the tank to readily hold 9-4 favourite Broome. The David Evans-trained Rohaan (8-1) has been a revelation this season and continued his winning ways with a classy late burst to take the Wokingham Handicap. Oisin Murphy secured the top jockey of the week award for Royal Ascot 2021 with victory aboard Foxes Tales for Andrew Balding in the Golden Gates Stakes. Murphy said: "It’s beyond my wildest dreams to be top jockey here. I watched this meeting with my parents and never thought this armband belonged with me. The last few days have been incredible." The concluding race went to the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum, whose victory at 4-1 in the marathon Queen Alexandra Stakes was a fourth of the week for Ryan Moore. Stratum was advised (0.75pt each way) at 5/1.