2.30 Unfortunately, the magnificently monikered Run Fat Lass Run was a non-runner in the Albany Stakes, where Newfangled [15/8], a New Approach filly who won on soft at Newmarket, started as the red-hot 15/8 favourite. Send My Love to Rose [who won her only start at Navan], for rookie Irish trainer Andy Oliver, got down in the stalls and Eddie Ahern was lucky to escape relatively unharmed. Luckily though, the filly was fine and will compete in some of the top two year old races later on in the season.
Favourite Newfangled broke in front and moved beautifully from the start. Once William Buick said go, she quickened well and burst away from the pack. She quickly went six lengths clear, and though she seemed to tire late, when Agent Alison [2nd] got closer, defeat was never in question, despite the record of the second-placed horse’s jockey in the race.
Jamie Spencer had won this race in the last three times he rode in it; at odds of 10/1, 50/1 and 16/1]and Premier Steps [3rd] closed the distance to two and a half lengths.
The winner is already being quoted at 8/1 by William Hill for the 1000 Guineas next year.
It’s been a remarkable week for Jim Bolger’s New Approach, who , in his first season at stud, has produced the best two-year-old filly in Newfangled and the best two-year-old colt in Dawn Approach (who won on Tuesday). Check back to grannykiller.com next week, when we will have a full interview with the Master of Coolcullen and he will talk about his genetics company Eqinome, which is helping him identify the optimum distance for his promising crop of two-year-olds.
Connections admitted their initial plan was to get settled in behind and come from off the pace, but the horse had other ideas.
“I was a passenger,” admitted jockey William Buick. “It wasn’t the plan [to jump out in front], but she jumped first and I had to let her go. When you get into a fight with a racehorse, there is only ever one winner. She picked up very well and she is real quality. For the moment six furlongs is the max, though she might get stronger and be a miler next year.”
Trainer John Gosden said, “she has a lot of natural speed. She has been athletic from the get go. We will wait until August to see her today. She handles any trip so at home, so she might be a miler yet.”
3.05 The King Edward VII was billed a battle of the Derby runners-up. Astrology, for Aiden O’Brien, who finished third at Epsom went off as the 8/11 favourite (with one brave punter staking £50,000 with bookmakers on the rails) and Thought Worthy, who finished down the field. Noble Mission, a full brother to Tuesday’s wonder-horse Frankel, Thomas Chippendale and Initiator made up the field.
Ryan Moore took Astrology to the front from the start, as he did at Epsom. He was the first horse beaten, though, as Noble Mission, Thought Worthy and Thomas Chippendale swamped him from the outside. He was employed as a pacemaker for Camelot in the Derby, and it’s more than possible that those exertions took too much out of him to be at full tilt today.
For a few strides, it looked as though Thought Worthy would hold them off, particularly as a late swerve seemed to check Noble Mission’s progress in behind him. But Noble Mission went past him and had his chance if good enough. But Thomas Chippendale, under a classic Johnny Murtagh ride, swooped down the outside to collar his stable-mate at Henry Cecil’s yard and land the prize.
“[Noble Mission] came there, but my lad was just getting organised,” said Murtagh afterewards. “But once he got himself sorted, he accelerated again and we won going away. He is still a bit of a baby. It’s just a pleasure to ride a winner for Mr Cecil at Royal Ascot.”
3.45 The Coronation Stakes was billed as the race where the top filly of the year would be decided. Homecoming Queen, who started as favourite in this race, ran away with the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but was then turned over at odds-on the the Irish equivalent by Samitar (9/2 third favourite today), ridden by Martin Harley and trained by Mick Channon, who also has the second-favourite Laugh Out Loud in the race.
Personally, I was a layer of Homecoming Queen. I just couldn’t fancy a horse that has only four wins from 15 starts (and a first victory coming in her eight race – a fairly muddling handicap at Cork when she was rated 72). She won the English 1000 Guineas because she was a pacemaker (for Maybe) who simply got away from the field.
Homecoming Queen went out in front, stalked again by Samitar in an exact replica of what happened at the Curragh. Homecoming Queen started to founder (she finished third last out of the ten runners) and Samitar started to come past her, but Fallen for You [12/1] and William Buick, came with a wet sail down the outside and simply ran away from them. In all probability, Homecoming Queen, Samitar and Laugh Out Loud went off too fast and burned away their chances come the end.
Starscope (also trained by John Gosden) and Irish History also sailed past Samitar, who finished fourth, but were six lengths off the winner at the end to finish in second and third respectively.
“We always thought she was our best filly last year,” said trainer John Gosden afterwards about Fallen for You. “I gave the wrong instructions for her in the Fillies Mile and we were just riding her inside out. We were ready for it today. She is classy, it’s not a fluke.”
William Buick agreed with his bosses’ assessment. “I always thought that things conspired against her before. But she finished the race very easily and it is no fluke. I was very impressed with her, taking on the best of her generation. I thought I had a great seat out there because I was covered up from that wind out there. She just flattened out a bit and I think the ground went against her.”
As to where it leaves us on the question of which is the best filly out of the lot of them; we are no closer to answering that question. In my opinion, Samitar is still probably the best of the bunch, her fourth place today on ground that would have been too soft for her, combined and her Irish Guineas form, is probably strong enough and I’d stick with her, especially if the ground is on the good side.
4.25 What a day it’s been for William Buick! The 23-year-old, tipped by many to be racing’s next superstar, bagged his third winner of the day on Gatewood in the Wolferton Handicap. Black Spirit and Mhijar (second and third respectively), pushed hard, but were swamped by the well-backed (3/1), well-fancied Gatewood.
There are many stories around about Buick, who was raised in Norway, but the one which best illustrates his talent is the one where he arrived at Ian Balding’s yard the best part of ten years ago to ride out. He weighed five stone or thereabouts and was a bit of a whippet. But the veteran trainer was so impressed that he went out with the scrawny teenager, brought him to a local bookmakers, and placed a bet on him at 1000/1 that Buick would someday be named champion jockey. There’s a nervous bookmaker somewhere, as this was Buick’s 50th winner of the year.
“It’s fantastic,” said a delighted Buick afterwards. “It’s a day that jockeys dream of. To have a winner is fantastic, but to have three winners in one day is just amazing. So far, everything has gone my way. The horses are in good form and I’m just really grateful. I wanted to be close to the pace [with Gatewood]. He is better than the winning margin and will be when he steps up in trip to a mile and a half. He is certainly going places.”
5.00 The Queen’s Vase won by Estimate – the Queen’s horse. Athens in second and Ed de Ga in third. It just had happen really, didn’t it? The Queen gets her first winner of the Royal meeting in her Jubilee year, and to be fair, the reaction from the crowd was fantastic.
Ryan Moore’s mount, trained by Michael Stoute, came strongly at the three furlong mark and immediately took the sting out of the rest of the field. Athens and Joseph O’Brien tried hard to reign them in, but never looked likely to overhaul the leader and so it proved.
“It’s great,” said Michael Stoute afterwards. “I had hoped that we’d get a royal winner with Carton House, but we’ve had to wait. She’s bred to stay, and I thought after Salisbury that she might just be a Vase winner and so it proved.”
3.05 Royal Ascot Memphis Tennassee. Was very impressive at Chester last time out and can make Saturday a better day than Friday (where Homecoming Queen and Astrology were very disapppointing) for Aidan O’Brien.
3.45 Royal Ascot Black Caviar. The Aussie superstar will aim to close the week in the same style Frankel opened it. He’ll win, it’s just a question of how impressively.
5.35 Royal Ascot. Simenon. We missed him earlier in the week, but Willie Mullins and Ryan Morre team up to go for a double in the week. We’ll not miss him this time.