Another chapter in the Turf's spring of scandal was closed by the British Horseracing Authority, which announced that no charges would be brought against trainers over the use of Sungate.
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O'Brien four-year-old offers solid value against younger rivals Toronado and Dawn Approach
The celebrated belvedere was nowhere to be seen as racegoers convened here under soggy panamas, and they soon discovered that the favourite for the big race had also disappeared into the clouds. But the imposing young colt who replaced Aljamaaheer at the head of the market conversely found the easing conditions very much to his taste.
Frankel himself struggled to preserve the dignity of Glorious Goodwood last year, when obliged to compete with the London Olympics. Today the fixture’s claims as the most charming ritual of the British Turf are threatened with dilution only by the weather forecast, which has rather too equivocal a look for the liking of either punters or aesthetes. The latter most cherish the swaying backdrop of cornfields and woodland when bathed in sunlight; while the former have more practical distaste for rain clouds.
Unlike Falmouth Stakes triumph, John Gosden’s filly enjoys clear-cut success in filthy weather
For anyone who has wondered quite how the British Turf continues to seduce investment from the Gulf, perhaps a day at the July Festival at Newmarket might prove every bit as instructive as one spent among the pomp and pageantry of Ascot or Epsom. At a time of year when their homelands seem most arid, the sheikhs find themselves driven through avenues of trees between green paddocks to a racecourse full of shade and flowers. And if the quality of the sport is mixed, with plenty of maidens and handicaps as ballast to the elite contests, then there will be a corresponding air of relaxation over the next three afternoons – not least granted the benign weather forecast.
View From the Sofa:
Miccoli, and Cassano have – at various stages, and in varying degrees – seemed to absorb obsolete bulk
Even the bitter certainty that they will occasionally put a rider into intensive care is a reflection on the essential unpredictability of thoroughbreds.
Two beaten favourites at Wolverhampton on Monday made it 18 days without a winner for Frankie Dettori. Even so, it unmistakably felt like his first afternoon back in the big time. For both parties, the news that he has signed a retainer for Sheikh Joaan al-Thani – one of the Qatari investors suddenly taking on the superpowers of the Turf – represents a clarion statement of intent.
Never mind waiting for the dish to get cold before serving up your revenge. Jim Bolger had barely hosed down Dawn Approach after his ignominious Derby defeat before turning him out to win at Royal Ascot, and had to wait only a few days more to turn over the Epsom winner in the Classic he cherishes most. In his own estimation, moreover, the success of Trading Leather at the Curragh on Saturday evening represents the crowning moment of what must be acknowledged one of the most significant careers in modern Turf history.
No less than any other walk of life, it is pretty rare in racing for anyone to profess indignation when credited with a stroke of genius. Such was the case at Epsom last month, however, when Aidan O’Brien and his patrons at Coolmore maintained a scrupulous show of bemusement about a theory that their horses had collectively undermined the prospects of the hot favourite, Dawn Approach, by setting an unexpectedly slow pace in the Investec Derby.
Many trainers with limited resources can impress at a corresponding level, but the most instructive measure of their acuity is how they set about making the most of a horse eligible for higher grades. That is when you will often see them exposed, excitably shooting for the moon. In his campaigning of Winning Express, then, Ed McMahon must be commended in both raising and lowering the stakes.