The level of omnipotence of Godolphin could, of course, never be sustained, and signals are here that the watershed has been reached. Balanchine, who may one day find her head on the stamps of the Emirates thanks to her achievements last season, disappointed on Tuesday, while Options Open and Darnay, failed yesterday, albeit narrowly.
That the fates might be becoming rather mischievous was best exemplified when Deceive, a Godolphin runner in the Jersey Stakes, was spooked on the way out of the parade ring (probably by glinting ear-rings) and crashed into a railing so heavily that she had to be withdrawn. The evidence, therefore, suggests that good fortune has jumped saddle, a theory that will be tested when Moonax, who has much in his favour, runs in the Gold Cup today. The colt is trained by Barry Hills, but had the exotic Center Parc treatment this winter in Dubai.
When Hills visited Moonax on the colt's oil-sponsored holiday at the Al Quoz stables in March he could have been excused for marching straight past his box. The chestnut looked as if he had been on a Multigym such was his improved musculature, and he confirmed his appearance was no deception when winning the Yorkshire Cup on his reappearance. Moonax (3.45) should progress further now he is stepped up to a longer trip.
The boys with the black stuff are also represented in the Cork and Orrery Stakes by So Factual. Even though he has the firm ground he requires, the colt will be hard pressed to turn around York form with the prospective champion sprinter Lake Coniston (4.20).
Hills should also be successful earlier with Mubhij (3.05), while victory for that colt would be a timely pointer for the prospects of Bahamian Knight (4.55) in the Chesham Stakes.
The closing event of the afternoon is the trickiest, but inevitably offers potentially the greatest return. Monarch's win at Newbury last Friday, not to mention his link with the figure in the lead carriage this week, will persuade many that he is the one, but his previous race at Chester suggests that CHERRINGTON (nap 5.30), from Geoff Wragg's healthy stable, is the beast weighted to win.
At the other end of the day, when the wallets should still be as thick as builders' sandwiches, Dance A Dream, the Oaks runner-up, will have a huge crowd of supporters. However, animals that have turned out at Epsom routinely perform here as if they have spent the intervening days down a salt mine in Siberia. With such history in mind, a better selection is a lightly raced filly such as Segovia (next best 2.30).