You have to go back to Rock Of Gibraltar, in 2001, to find a winner of the Gimcrack Stakes with the sort of class exuded here yesterday by Showcasing. A well-backed favourite – despite the advantages strictly enjoyed, in both experience and form, by Monsieur Chevalier and Orpen Grey – he smouldered over the fast ground and, once working his way into the lead approaching the furlong pole, raked thirstily clear of another speedy colt in Taajub. He passed the line, two lengths up, as the author of a new juvenile track record.
As such the instinct of his trainer, John Gosden, is to keep him to six furlongs in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket next month. But it would be no surprise, beyond that, were he tempted to take him to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup. If Showcasing is going to get a mile anywhere, it will be round the turns on fast ground at Santa Anita, and there is no mistaking the sense that he has more innate class than Donativum – the colt who won the juveniles' turf race for Gosden at the meeting last year.
Certainly Showcasing would not be embarrassed for speed. Here it was probably still inexperience that caused him to miss the break, but he soon settled into a smooth rhythm as Orpen Grey burnt himself out along the rail. Monsieur Chevalier meanwhile looked pretty much the same animal over a sixth furlong as he had over five, outpaced before staying on for third, half a length behind Taajub.
Showcasing is aptly named as potentially the brightest advertisement yet for his impressive young sire, Oasis Dream – who was in turn supervised by Gosden, in his days as champion sprinter. "He's very like his father, in fact the most like him of all the ones I've trained so far," Gosden said. "He's very strong behind the saddle, with powerful hindquarters. I never had to train Oasis Dream for speed, and it's the same with this one. He has a lovely, laid-back attitude. At this moment, this boy tells me he's a sprinter, that's what he says right now. There's an awful lot of speed in the family – I trained the grandmother to win the Cheveley Park – and with that strong tailwind, and on that fast ground, it was probably more like five and a half furlongs. But he has done well, against seasoned streetfighters. Remember he came here off winning a Yarmouth maiden with his ears pricked."
Gosden had twice abandoned plans to run Showcasing when the rain came, and of course the one guarantee at Santa Anita would be suitable conditions. Either way, with Canford Cliffs defending his unbeaten record in France on Sunday, it is edifying to see signs of life among the British juveniles – not least in a prize sponsored by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.
On Tuesday, of course, the biggest prize of the week had been surrendered to a field comprising just four Irish colts. And yesterday the valuable and historic Totesport Ebor Handicap itself was dominated by two raiders, Sesenta just stemming a gamble on the Ballydoyle colt, Changingoftheguard.
The runner-up was stranded on the rail for much of the straight, full of running under Johnny Murtagh – who could hardly barge his way out, having already accumulated so many suspensions for interference on various visits to these shores this season. As the Flat season approaches its climax, he will be wary of triggering a lengthy ban through any further misdemeanours here.
As it was, he had to sit and suffer and by the time he angled out Sesenta was in full cry under her promising young rider, Gary Carroll. Changingoftheguard closed to within a head, however, in the process looking a legitimate candidate for the Ladbrokes St Leger. Skybet's offer of 12-1 straight after the race proved too generous to resist, and was soon forced down to 9-1; the Doncaster sponsors meanwhile go 10-1.
Sesenta's success will meanwhile have prompted relief among Flat trainers that Willie Mullins largely confines his attentions to jumping. His other runner, Deutschland, was still bang there when hampered inside the last, while Sesenta herself had failed only narrowly to win another big handicap at Royal Ascot.
"She's only 15 hands, so she's not going novice chasing, that's for sure," Mullins said. "We just entered her in the biggest handicaps hoping for a light weight. She has been running all year round – the only big meeting she missed was Liverpool. We will have to try for some black type now."
As for Carroll, Mullins had given him a chance in a race last year and thought him "one of the best kids I have ever seen on a horse." That is some reference, from the man who employed Ruby Walsh from the very beginning. On four legs and two, it was an afternoon for the young guns.
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Admin (3.15 Lingfield) Unlucky not to win a similar race under this apprentice over course and distance last week, flying late to join a photo finish. That was his first start after a break, and confirmed him to be well treated on the pick of earlier form in maidens.
Deadline (5.40 Fontwell) Looked another improved performer for Alison Thorpe when winning at Bangor last month and easily forgiven a tame run when turned out just five days later in heavy ground.
One to watch
Class Is Class (Sir Michael Stoute) had to pass the whole field in the opener at York yesterday – and got past all bar a progressive frontrunner, who had controlled the pace to his liking. Excusably flattened out after that big move, but definitely capable of winning a good handicap.
Where the money's going
Amour Propre is 7-1 from 8-1 with Paddy Power for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York tomorrow.