Royal Ascot 2020 – great races, great horses
Gary McKenzie look back at a Royal Ascot that produced great races for great horses
I could be inviting some criticism here but I did not miss the fashion segments at Royal Ascot last week. Anyone who knows my fashion sense will not find it surprising. I understand it is part of the whole event and next year I am sure ITV will have their style experts back on course. And I am not going to mention the Scotch Eggs .I just think the horses should get nearly all of the coverage.
I enjoy the films looking back at great horses and great races. And there is over three hundred years of racing at Ascot to talk about. So, let’s look back at what was a great week.
I am going to start with our two established superstars.
I thought Stardivarius may struggle in the conditions but he was just spectacular.
It was probably a career best despite the opposition possibly being below some of those he has faced in previous years. He is now only the third horse to win three Gold Cups. Surely, he will try to emulate Yeats next year.
Battaash finally got his Kings Stand win. There was no Blue Point this time which helped, but the lack of a crowd may also have helped him settle better. As a gelding he can continue until he loses his form. A trip to the Breeders Cup could be on the cards.
From a personal point of view Japan disappointed. He was my nap of the meeting but missing the break would not have helped. I am hoping that this run will sharpen him up for his next assignment.
Lord North is an improving horse and if he can run to this level of form again he is a player in the big ten furlong races. Addeybb showed he doesn’t necessarily need soft ground.
Circus Maximus is the latest horse to make a fool of me. He keeps coming up with the goods in these Group 1s. Three wins and a second in five races at this level over a mile since running in the Derby shows he is the real deal.
Terebellum looks a lovely filly and she will surely be feared back against her own sex. Mohaather looked unlucky so I’m sure I will go in on him again next time out.
Golden Horde pretty much made all in the Commonwealth Cup. He had good two-year-old form so not a massive surprise. A few blew the start including the placed horses so any rematch would be very interesting.
On the Saturday we were treated to three Group 1s in under 90 minutes. Palace Pier made the step up from all-weather handicap to St James Palace Stakes winner. He beat the second and third from the 2000 Guineas in the process. He looked good.
Pinatubo has run another good race and will surely win a top race somewhere. Not sure over which distance though.
Alpine Rose emulated her sister Alpha Centauri when winning the Coronation Stakes. She got a lovely clear run up the rail but she was probably the best filly on the day anyway. She could stay a bit further on breeding and she hit the line well.
Hello Youmzain is one of my Tote 10 to Follow for the season and I think he did well to get back up after being headed. Dream Of Dreams was flying at the end. The six-furlong division will be very interesting when the three-year-olds take on their elders.
Frankly Darling looks to have a good chance in the Oaks following her Ribblesdale win. This was only her third start so she may come on again.
I was fortunate to win a few shillings on Saturday when Hello Youmzain, Alpine Rose, and Campenelle were part of my yankee.
The fourth leg was The Grand Visir who was just beaten by Who Dares Wins in the last race of the meeting. That horse was trained by Alan King, who is more often associated with jumps horses, and was his third winner of the meeting.
His three winners were the first wins at the Royal meeting for Thore Hammer Hansen, Hollie Doyle (pictured , and Tom Marquand respectively. Rossa Ryan also gained his first success last week. Kevin Stott went one better with his first two winners including a Group One.
Jim Crowley looked odds-on for the top jockey spot after three days but that man Dettori showed why he loves this place so much and the final day treble was enough for him to win the trophy for the seventh time due to the number of placed horses he rode.
In winning the Coronation Stakes Frankie completed the full set of Group Ones at Royal Ascot.
There were some cracking two year old races, and Dandalla and The Lir Jet are high on my list of juveniles to follow. Nando Parrado caused a massive shock when winning the Coventry at odds of 150/1. A few on Twitter had thought he could get in the frame but he definitely outran his odds.
My favourite performance from the youngsters was in the Chesham. Battleground is far from the finished product but he won the race in good style. He already looks like one to watch for next season as he is a big lad already and should get better as he matures.
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