Gary McKenzie on York’s superstar performances
Gary McKenzie looks back at the superstar performances of the Ebor Festival 2020
Ghaiyyath does it again and I’m a convert
Before Ghaiyyath ran on the opening day of this year’s Ebor Festival, he had run eleven times and won eight of them. Three were at Group 1 level. He was four from five over ten furlongs. His last two runs have seen him win the Coronation Cup and the Eclipse.
My question is this. Why did I go against him in the Juddmonte International?
He keeps it simple. He pops out. Bowls along and is strong enough at the end to repel any challengers.
Last season he won the Grosser Preis von Baden by 14 lengths and I thought it was a bit of a weak Group One and when he was well beaten in the Arc my opinion didn’t change.
Now I am, finally, a convert following his three wins this season. I can’t see how he can be beaten, over ten furlongs at least.
If you go with him you may have little left for the final furlongs. If you sit off him you need him to come back to you (which he doesn’t seem to do).
I think he must have some lung capacity to run that pace over that distance.
We all love a fast finisher so maybe that is why he has had detractors.
In my younger days I would back against a very good horse called Reference Point. He was another who would tow the field along. Steve Cauthen was his jockey, and of course he was brilliant from the front, but you need a horse with the ability and attitude to match.
There is talk that Ghaiyyath will bypass Longchamp and head to the Breeders Cup. But he is still in the Arc and on current form he is certainly a player despite last years heavy defeat.
Pyledriver beat two multi million pound colts in the Great Voltigeur, and he must be on the shortlist for the St Leger. I was on each way but he was always going well.
Still on love
What do we think of a horse who wins a Group One race by five lengths without really hitting top gear? Love won her third race in a row and I am not sure we have got to the bottom of her yet. She may not have beaten the best of the best but the manner of her victory was the thing.
In the early part of the race she looked like she wanted to go faster but Ryan Moore got her in behind the leader and in the straight he let her just stride out to the line. Minimum fuss.
The Arc will be a much harsher challenge but she won’t be scared of any rivals. She gets 7lbs from Enable and 10lbs from the likes of Ghaiyyath in a race where three year old fillies have a great record. The first Sunday in October is starting to look a bit like Christmas.
Gold Wand also enhanced Love’s Oaks form when she won the Galtres.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Miss Amulet is one of only two horses to have finished in front of the exciting Frenetic and she was allowed to go off at 15/2 in the Lowther. She looks likely to reappear in the Cheveley Park next month.
The first four in the betting fought out the finish of the Clipper Logistics Handicap. Three had won last time out. The handicapper must be feeling pleased with himself this morning.
The one I will take out of the race is Ouzo. He finished fifth on his first run as a gelding and yet was still keen. He may be worth a close look next time.
Battaash. York specialist?
He’s done it again. Battaash won his second Nunthorpe. Not bad for a horse thought by some not to be in love with the place.
It wasn’t the destruction we are used to however.
But great champions (and that is surely what he is) find a way to win. We are used to him being in front early but Que Amoro was the one who took the field along. And she stayed on the rail which surely helped. Battaash edged over and I think that getting that close to the leader helped him really get serious.
But what a run from Que Amoro. She has run five times at York winning twice, finishing second twice and also getting a third. My tip, Moss Gill, was third. That is his worst finishing position on the Knavesmire. Definitely two horses for the course.
Oh Enbihaar. What a lovely big mare you are. She was stepping up to two miles and she saw it out so well. Her best performances have been on fastish ground but the going yesterday, although officially good, looked to be just on the soft side judging by the way the turf was cutting up. She seemed to cope ok and she has a lovely big stride on her. Could she be a player in the Gold Cup next year?
You’d have to be impressed with Minzaal. He won the Gimcrack despite a slow start. And he was not stopping at the line. It was only his third ever start so he will surely improve again. These are the horses you dream of having.
The form of the Winkfield Stakes is working out nicely. Fourth placed Saint Lawrence won the Washington Singer stakes last weekend. The runner up, Cobh won a listed contest at Salisbury yesterday and third placed Naval Crown blitzed his rivals in the maiden at York by four lengths. Chindit won the Winkfield so he is definitely one for the notebook.