The author of a stunning rebuke to insular punters last Saturday is back in Britain to discover whether they been taught due respect for horses from Germany.
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.
O'Brien four-year-old offers solid value against younger rivals Toronado and Dawn Approach
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.
Neither trainer nor jockey has been in his service as long as others who could testify gratefully to the fidelity of their patron, but both left the sunshine and flowers of the July Course with optimism that Anjaal could yet seal their growing roles at the centre of Sheikh Hamdan's racing empire.
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
While Frankie Dettori continues his mortifying hunt for a first winner since before Royal Ascot, the champion jockey himself has gained stunning impetus after ending his own frustrations at that meeting. Until overcoming a nightmare draw on Sky Lantern in the Coronation Stakes on the Friday, Richard Hughes had endured a maddening week, repeatedly finding himself stuck in traffic or caught out by the draw. As soon as Ascot was out of the way, however, Hughes promptly accumulated 20 winners in eight days – with a treble at Windsor on Monday evening completing the fastest hundred of his career.
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.
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