Jockeys, rather than star horses, took the plaudits yesterday during the understandable dip in equine quality between last weekend's Derby and Oaks festival at Epsom and the £4.5 million Royal Ascot extravaganza that starts on Tuesday week.
Here in Newmarket Ryan Moore notched a treble on Fast Or Free, High Jinx and Havana Gold. And at Doncaster William Buick followed his example on Sir Maximilian, Starboard and Camborne, his second three-timer at the Yorkshire track in as many days.
Typically, Moore's reaction to his afternoon's work was not one of total satisfaction; he had been beaten on a couple of reasonably well-fancied mounts. "It could have been better," he said. But he could hardly criticise himself for his ride on inexperienced but progressive High Jinx to take the day's richest prize, the £32,345 Fly London Southend To Dublin Handicap.
The James Fanshawe-trained four-year-old, the 7-2 favourite, was passed by Anatolian inside the final furlong but, showing the same determination as his rider, found enough reserves of stamina to rally and score by a neck. "He's very game," said Moore, "and he's only going to get better."
Moore is a 4-1 shot to take jockey honours at Royal Ascot, third in the Hills list behind Joseph O'Brien (6-4) and Richard Hughes (3-1). O'Brien's father Aidan is 4-5 to be the meeting's leading trainer.
The best horses here, though, were not in action on the track. Early in the day Frankel starred on the gallops, putting on his usual impressive display in a routine workout as he prepares for the Queen Anne Stakes on the Ascot opening day.
"He strode out well and everyone seemed happy," reported Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the colt's owner Khalid Abdullah.
Frankel has won all ten of his races, none further than a mile, and his eagerly-anticipated step up to 10furlongs seems unlikely to happen before the Juddmonte International, backed by Abdullah's bloodstock operation, at York in August.
Although the son of Galileo is entered in the Eclipse Stakes, another of the season's top prizes over a mile and a quarter, at Sandown next month, he is not featured in the early betting issued by sponsors Coral, a market headed by last year's winner So You Think at 5-2, with Carlton House next at 5-1.
Frankel is the highest-rated horse in the world; the next-best, the Australian sprint sensation Black Caviar, had a quieter morning as she continued to recover from her 30-hour journey from Melbourne. Newmarket's newest resident, who arrived at her temporary lodgings on Friday, is bound for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Royal meeting.
If the domestic racing was of ordinary standard yesterday, it is worse today, with just two summer jumping meetings on offer. There is much better at Auteuil, where Thousand Stars, with Ruby Walsh in the saddle, goes for back-to-back victories in the Grand Course des Haies.
The grey is one of three Willie Mullins contenders for France's top hurdle prize, backed up by Zaidpour, who chased him home in their warm-up at the Paris track last month, and Mourad.
The raiding party for the Grade 1 £138,000 contest is completed by Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cape Tribulation, winner of handicaps at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.Reuse content