What was supposed to be a celebratory Yorkshire Oaks procession for the unbeaten Taghrooda, on all previous form by far the best of this year’s crop of three-year-old fillies, turned out to be nothing of the sort as Tapestry cut her down late to produce the shock of the summer.
Taghrooda had looked so good when winning the Oaks at Epsom in June and even better in beating her elders in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month that few seriously believed she could be beaten. One of those believers, however, was Aidan O’Brien. Fresh from Australia’s triumph in the Juddmonte International, he was confident that this would be no one-horse race.
“We have always thought that Tapestry was a really good filly and she stays so well,” said the Ballydoyle trainer after the daughter of Galileo, previously runner-up in the Irish Oaks, had nailed the 1-5 favourite by half a length. “And it was amazing she managed to finish so close in the Irish Oaks, considering her saddle slipped.”
Taghrooda’s trainer, John Gosden, offered no excuses for her defeat, saying, “She was outstayed by a very good filly, that’s all there is to it”, and she remains on course for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where she may again cross swords with Tapestry (on whom Ryan Moore incurred a four-day whip ban). Both are now trading at around 10-1.
The extremely fast Tiggy Wiggy beat Royal Ascot winners Cursory Glance and Anthem Alexander in the Group Two Lowther Stakes, with all three dipping inside the two-year-old course record for six furlongs.
Tiggy Wiggy had been beaten narrowly by Anthem Alexander in the Queen Mary Stakes, but then won at Sandown and in breathtaking fashion at Newbury, all over five furlongs.
After another dominant display her jockey, Richard Hughes, acknowledged that she was coming to the end of her tether over the extra furlong: “She travelled so easily, but in the end I was wanting the line.”
Tiggy Wiggy was quoted at around 16-1 for next year’s 1,000 Guineas, but races such as the Prix l’Abbaye at Longchamp in October and the new Group One sprint for three-year-olds at Royal Ascot next summer look more likely targets. Cursory Glance, on the other hand, should improve for longer distances and has been promoted to 12-1 favourite for the Newmarket Classic in some lists.
One of the performances of this season, by both horse and rider, came at Royal Ascot when Hughes produced Sole Power fast and late to land the King’s Stand Stakes. Sole Power would appear to have the perfect draw in today’s Group One Nunthorpe Stakes, right next to the trailblazing Take Cover.
Both are seven-year-olds, but with quite different career profiles. Sole Power had already run 20 times (and won this race in 2010 at 100-1) when Take Cover first saw a racecourse.
However, the latter – who won his first Group race at Goodwood at the start of this month – is only now beginning to realise his full potential. So Take Cover may well deny Sole Power a second Nunthorpe triumph.
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