If the success here at Newmarket yesterday of Goldikova was akin to the restoration of a damaged masterpiece, then that of Misheer might be counted an early draft of a new one.
Brilliant winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile last autumn, Goldikova had made an alarming reappearance at Longchamp in May, but the ground was pretty filthy that day and she showed much of her old élan to win her fourth Group One in the Falmouth Stakes.
Admittedly she never seemed quite in full cry inside the final furlong after easing past Spacious, who had controlled a steady pace, but nor was she ever going to let Heaven Sent past, holding on by half a length under a tender ride from Olivier Peslier. Spacious plugged on for third, just ahead of Rainbow View who had quickly come off the bridle when the pace picked up.
The suspicion persists that Goldikova will mirror the progress she made in the second half of last season, and Freddie Head, her trainer, is already making a return to Santa Anita her overwhelming priority. In the meantime she is likely to run at Deauville next month.
"The ground at Longchamp was so bad, and the filly could not get out of it," Head said. "I also had a virus in my yard earlier in the season, but hopefully that is over now and the horses are all coming on. She came early and I was a bit scared, but she kept finding something. It was a funny race, you can't just sprint for 800 yards – it's hard to get away." Peslier offered an interesting insight. "She did just enough, and still might not be 100 per cent," the jockey said. "She was a bit cheeky after I gave her a slap. Next time she might be better."
Misheer, meanwhile, could easily be back for the Falmouth next year, judging from the characteristic effusion of her trainer, Clive Brittain. The man who trained Pebbles, Sayyedati and User Friendly, among others, reckons the stylish winner of the Cherry Hinton Stakes to be "as good a filly as I've had in a while".
Always handy, she got first run on Habaayib and was never going to be caught thereafter, over three lengths clear at the line. Misheer had been beaten by the flying American filly Jealous Again at Royal Ascot but had missed her last gallop when needing treatment for a sore back.
Brittain is now inclined for her to try a seventh furlong in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. But while the sponsors make Misheer 16-1 for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas next year, she has a speedy pedigree and is by no means certain to get a mile.
Lynch has been let off lightly
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has duly confirmed the curious punishments meted out to two jockeys charged with breaches of its rules after the collapse of the "race-fixing trial" in 2007. On the face of it, Darren Williams has little to complain about, in a three-month suspension. But his legal team is vexed that the BHA negotiated a plea bargain with Fergal Lynch, whose £50,000 fine permits him to continue his flourishing new career in Philadelphia – despite admitting to far graver offences than Williams.
It does seem difficult to maintain that the disciplinary panel is wholly independent when it has in effect rubber-stamped an arrangement so congenial to Lynch. Williams has acknowledged little more than a naïve relationship with Miles Rodgers, the disqualified owner who also walked free from charges of conspiracy at the Old Bailey. Lynch, in contrast, has accepted charges of brazen corruption, notably "stopping" Bond City at Ripon in August 2004.
The recommended entry point for this, the ultimate riding offence, would ordinarily be a 30-month worldwide ban. But various mitigating factors were acknowledged by the BHA (all of which applied equally to Lynch) while Lynch's lawyers also undertook that he would not to apply for a UK licence for 12 months. This self-imposed "exile" has somehow been accepted as tantamount to the suspension he would otherwise have received, even though the BHA has promised not to seek reciprocation from any other jurisdictions. Very rum.
BHA verdicts on Rodgers and Karl Burke, the trainer enjoying the best season of his career, are expected this week.
Grey can put us in the black
The middle day of the July Festival is the only one not decorated by a Group One race, but the TNT July Stakes remains a very eligible centrepiece.
Though he only won by a head on his debut at Newbury, Arcano had loads in hand and three of his nearest pursuers have since won maidens of their own. The third, Party Doctor, went on to fill the same position in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Party Doctor's trainer, Tom Dascombe, made his big breakthrough in this race last year with Classic Blade and his candidate this time, Orpen Grey (2.00), conforms formidably to precedent.
He won the same Salisbury conditions race as Classic Blade, only by eight lengths rather than two, and while the opposition was fairly modest the same can not be said of the time.
The day's other Group Two prize is the Princess of Wales' Blue Square Stakes, where that beautiful colt, Campanologist, has a good chance to liven up his stable's summer. But Duncan (3.10) unmistakably sets the standard after crowning his rapid progress since joining John Gosden with a fine run in the Coronation Cup, going down less than a length to the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ask.
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Baunagain (2.55 Warwick) Made an eye-catching start for his new stable when just failing to get up in a photo at Newmarket, having been delayed in his challenge. Faces a flourishing rival in Victoria Sponge but she may be caught out by dropping in trip round this sharp track.
Class Is Class (2.35 Newmarket) On the face of it the handicapper has taken few chances on his maiden success at Yarmouth, but that form as it stands is strong enough and this progressive son of Montjeu is likely to relish the extra two furlongs here.
One to watch
Halsion Chancer (J R Best) Remains on a lenient turf rating judged on his all-weather form and can be excused both defeats since his easy Lingfield win – last time apprentice-ridden and poorly drawn at Windsor on Monday.
Where the money's going
Captain Brilliance (J Noseda) 4-1 from 5s with sponsors for the Ladbrokes Bunbury Cup (Newmarket, tomorrow).Reuse content