Looking back at Royal Ascot

June 21st, 2015 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

By Marten Julian
Looking back to the events at Royal Ascot last week my overall verdict would be that it was challenging. from a betting perspective, but a great success for the occasion.

From the betting viewpoint I just about broke even. There have been far too many seconds this season and the trend continued this week, but my select list of horses to note for the meeting in the Bulletin Book came up trumps when all three horses won. The fact that was done without the benefit of entries just goes to show how important it is to focus on specific horses rather than get drawn into analysing a race simply because it is there.

On day one I was pleased with the way Cougar Mountain ran, finishing strongly into third behind Solow. This effort was far in excess of his 109 rating and a Group 1 looks sure to come his way. Consort did well to get placed in a Group 1 in the St James’s Palace Stakes. Gleneagles just carries on winning and if he keeps this up he may well live up to Aidan O’Brien’s suggestion that he’s the best miler he has trained. I gather Windsor Castle Stakes winner Washington DC had worked better than Coventry Stakes runner-up Air Force Blue in their preparation for this meeting.

Acapulco put up a breathtaking performance in the Queen Mary Stakes. The imposing daughter of Scat Daddy has the scope to progress and has to be on the shortlist for the Breeders’ Cup. Free Eagle was probably fortunate to just beat The Grey Gatsby, who was short of room inside the final furlong. He has the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc as future targets. Old friend Gm Hopkins at last landed the big race his talent warrants when digging deep to win the Royal Hunt Cup. My concern beforehand was that the ground could be on the sharp side for him. He can now tackle Listed and Group races.

Time Test, one of my Premier List qualifiers from the Dark Horses Annual, looked Group 1 material in the Tercentenary Stakes. Peacock, over three lengths back in second, was rated 109 going into this race so the winner must have run to a mark around 115. He is bred to be even better over a mile and a half. Curvy was a gutsy winner for us in the Ribblesdale Stakes and the progressive Trip To Paris beat the luckless Kingfisher in the Gold Cup. Forgotten Rules, in third, will be seen in a far better light on softer ground. I was disappointed that Udododontu didn’t quite manage to win the Britannia. This would have been a very welcome result for Richard Guest, who may not get another chance to have a winner here.

Balios, another Premier List horse, made the anticipated improvement to win the King Edward VII Stakes. He should have won on his return at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting and I expect him to be competing at Group 1 level before too long. I was surprised to see Muhaarar win the Commonwealth Cup with such ease. Charlie Hills has never concealed the high esteem in which he holds the horse, but I have to say I never expected such a victory of such authority. Ervedya won what will probably prove a very decent renewal of the Coronation Stakes. Lucida had looked a little unlucky in the 1,000 Guineas and she was again unfortunate here, staying on well from her outside draw in stall nine of nine. Arab Dawn was another winner for the Bulletin Book in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Ballydoyle, along with stable-companions Sir Isaac Newton and Kingfisher, was unlukcy not to win the Chesham Stakes. Her inexperience found her out through the race and, as on her debut, it was only in the final furlong she was getting the message. She is proving a slow learner. Mahsoob may join stable-companion Eagle Top in the King George. He won the Wolferton here off 106 and will be rated around 113/155 after this. Snow Sky put his proven stamina to good use in the Hardwicke Stakes, once it was clear that nothing else was going to go on. Eagle Top stayed on well after being intimidated by Postponed in the final quarter mile. Brazen Beau was unlucky not to win the Diamond Jubilee after having to race along up the stands’ side.

There is much to glean from the meeting which proved every bit as good as it promised to be.

Bye for now