Scenic the master blaster in fastest show on earth

Australian sprinter holds court as royal meeting plays host to cosmopolitan festival

The notion that Gladiatorus might open proceedings here yesterday by proving himself the best horse in the world – in conformity with official ratings – barely lasted a furlong. Inside the hour, however, Scenic Blast had made a perfectly credible case as the fastest thoroughbred on the planet; and, soon afterwards, Mastercraftsman was suggesting himself to be among the bravest.

This is still the place to come, in other words, to measure global standards – and the odds were that Richard Hannon would himself be setting some of his own, in the car park afterwards, when toasting Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs. Richard Hughes rode both those winners for his father-in-law, and then followed up on Judgethemoment. Even that remarkable achievement, however, could not define a day rounded off by the 33-1 success of Strike The Tiger, whose only previous start had been in a claimer at Churchill Downs. This most English of arenas has now become cosmopolitan in a far more meaningful way.

The thunderous exhibition of Scenic Blast will reverberate across the oceans. Since the pioneering success of another Australian speedball, Choisir, in 2003, it has become increasingly obvious the biggest fish among our own sprinters have been operating not so much in a small pond, as a puddle. But none of the five overseas raiders to have exported the King's Stand Stakes in six years has made a bigger splash than Scenic Blast.

He has all the brutal speed and prowess of Choisir, but embroiders those dimensions with a brilliance seldom found over the bare five furlongs. Steven Arnold, having his first mount on these shores, did not dare ride him with quite the restraint he had shown on home soil. As it was, in sweeping to the front before the furlong pole, Scenic Blast had the race settled in a trice and only his indolence thereafter enabled Fleeting Spirit to confine the formal margin to three-quarters of a length.

Dan Morton, his young trainer, will not try to emulate Choisir by turning out Scenic Blast in the Golden Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the meeting. But they will be sticking around for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, and while Saturday's race may yield stronger opposition than they found here, Coral's offer of 3-1 resembles a private mint.

Morton expressed decorous gratitude to all those who have helped since his horse took up lodgings in Newmarket, though everything briefly threatened to unravel when the horse's paperwork was found to be incomplete on arrival at the racecourse. Some hasty nocturnal faxes from Perth were required for his participation to be confirmed, but ultimately it turned out that there would be no other way of stopping him.

Aidan O'Brien, a rather more familiar face here, is producing another masterpiece in Mastercraftsman. Like so many of his champions, this colt just gets better and tougher with racing, and he rallied bravely for Johnny Murtagh to salvage the St James's Palace Stakes after Delegator, having cruised in his slipstream, led inside the last. This race is a showcase for stallions and O'Brien's patrons at Coolmore Stud have few better measures of their trainer than the fact that he has now won it for them six times in 10 years. "He's like all the great horses I ride for Ballydoyle – they never know when they're beaten," Murtagh said. "I committed him early enough, but when Delegator came to him, you could see my horse put his head down."

Delegator might yet be worth trying in the July Cup himself. Mind you, much the same had been said about Paco Boy, who exploited the implosion of Gladiatorus – which was perhaps accelerated by undue haste in his young rider – to win the Queen Anne Stakes.

Hannon blamed his previous defeat at Newbury not on the distance, but a foot infection. Funnily enough, a similar debate will now be ignited over Canford Cliffs, whose leisurely six-length success in the Coventry Stakes was one of the most arresting juvenile performances here in recent years. "If he was one of Aidan's, he'd be 4-6 for the 2,000 Guineas," Hannon grinned.

As things stand, Stan James make him 8-1 favourite but this precocious, energetic Tagula colt may struggle to last a mile next year. "He's the best I've ridden by far, a freak," Hughes declared. "I gave him a half-spin one morning, and I've never seen anything like it in my life. This horse shouldn't have won today – I've never known a horse pull that hard, and still win."

It is in settling so well, of course, that Scenic Blast conserves his acceleration. Arnold admitted afterwards that he had played his hand rather too soon, but all that was immaterial to his compatriots as they squeezed on to the rostrum and raucously pledged a night of revelry. No doubt some patrons took a supercilious view of the cheery pandemonium, but nowadays Ascot does not want to confine its variegation to millinery.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot