Second Step to frank the form

June 27th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

It was not a successful Royal Ascot for me, though I thought it a marvellous meeting. Looking back now, backing Wild Illusion in the Ribblesdale was a mistake. (I separate ‘mistakes’ from ‘losers’ because one category, mistakes, can be avoided, whereas there will always be losers we needn’t regret.) There was always a good chance Magic Wand would reverse the Oaks form on much faster ground. She did, of course.

Dreamfield was hard to oppose in the Wokingham, although the price, a truly ludicrous, well-nigh unbelievable 2/1, saved me and probably saved you, as well. When bookmakers are genuinely worried about something they’ll try their darnedest to stop you betting unless you’re prepared to take the sort of risk that common sense is trying to eliminate.

I felt sorry for those who burned their fingers because when Brian Meehan has a prestigious winner (Bacchus) we can all afford to look on and cheer. This was only his eighth winner of the season and it came about with a horse absent since last October. I’m most unlikely ever to catch Meehan on the right day.

Blue Point did well to reel in Battaash in the King’s Stand but William Buick could hardly believe his luck when Jim Crowley tried to make all at a fierce pace. It was just a question of waiting until the right moment as Crowley (not his best ride) went for the kitchen sink and left the way open for the Godolphin horse.

There are no certainties in horseracing although, if there were, Crystal Ocean qualified on Saturday. Not only is he highly progressive but Aidan O’Brien was perfectly happy for Ryan Moore to ride him, even though there were two Ballydoyle contenders in the field, one of whom, Idaho, is clearly no longer in love with the game. The reason playing at odds-on is inadvisable is that your strike-rate needs to be very impressive indeed, though I must say the 4/7 about Crystal Ocean was actually quite tempting.

I think the right race for Mabs Cross after her third in the King’s Stand is the King George at Goodwood rather than the Nunthorpe and I wouldn’t lose faith in Upstaging for a race like the Stewards Cup ‘consolation’ because he was there passing the two-furlong pole in the Wokingham and it was his seasonal reappearance. He was third in the Stewards’ Cup itself at a big price last year.

More immediately, it will be interesting to see what price is offered about Roger Charlton’s SECOND STEP at Newmarket on Saturday. He was beaten six lengths by Crystal Ocean in the Aston Pak at Newbury and it was only a five-runner field but I liked the way he moved through the final furlong. He is ultra-consistent for Charlton, as he was for Luca Cumani, and he will be the main weekend bet.