Racing: Rare precedents for Pivotal performance

Luke Ardley begins a weekly assessment of the season's top achievers
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The Independent Online
Rarely has a three-year-old burst into the front rank of sprinters quite so out of the blue as did Pivotal in taking the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. The top speedsters have tended either to be a long time coming, like Lochsong or Lochnager, or to be champions making up for lost time, after abortive campaigns at the wrong distance, like Dayjur or Habibti.

You have to go back to the explosive victory of Bay Express in the Temple Stakes of 1974 to find a parallel for Pivotal. But Bay Express had the benefit of a winning outing in the Field Marshal Stakes, whereas Sir Mark Prescott's charge was making his reappearance.

It is well chronicled that the money was down for Pivotal at Royal Ascot, but it did not require a stable insider to see why. His reputation was backed up by strong juvenile form lines. At Folkestone, Pivotal beat Singing Patriarch, rated 104 in the Free Handicap, more comprehensively than Rio Duvida and the Oaks third, Mezzogiorno, had at Newmarket.

A rating of 119 for Pivotal would have been far more justified than the figure of 86 the official handicapper initially came up with. The colt is now fairly rated on 120.

The sprint division is the only one in which this year's three-year-olds had so far been a match for their elders. Pivotal should continue that trend in the July Cup tomorrow, when the only unknown quantity will be the French-trained Anabaa, who is unproven on fast ground.

RATINGS FOR JULY CUP ENTRIES

126 Bijou D'Inde, 120 Pivotal, 119 Mind Games, 117 Cayman Kai, 116 Lucky Lionel, 114 Cool Jazz, Gothenberg, 111 Branston Abby, Iktamal, Royale Figurine, 110 Danehill Dancer, 109 Hever Golf Rose, 106 Royal Applause, 101 Lucayan Prince, -- Anabaa

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