Once again I dine on humble pie. Cracksman, to me, was a one hit wonder when he won the Champion Stakes in such emphatic style last season. He won the Ganay easily enough but his last two runs, in the words of Shania Twain, didn’t impress me much. And then he goes and does this. Frankie even had time to wave his whip on the run in.
It was a great day at Ascot which started with Stradivarius winning, again, and Sands Of Mali was a slightly surprising winner of the Sprint. Having said that he was second in the Commonwealth Cup (possibly drawn on the wrong side) and was a Group Two winner earlier in the season.
Lah Ti Dar was one of the favourites I had doubts about and she was beaten by two battle hardened fillies. But she may improve again with another year on her.
Roaring Lion is just brilliant. He was running on ground that probably didn’t suit him and he had to get his head down and tough it out. Surely the horse of the year. This is in stark contrast to what I said about him after The Derby “I fear Roaring Lion will be one of those horses who will keep finding one too good at the top level” Oh well. More of that pie to tuck into.
The fact that the going was soft will lead to some questioning the overall form. And some of the placed horses either ran well above their rating, or others were below par. But it shows that if you have a go it can pay off.
Subway Dancer came from the Czech Republic and returned with £139,000 after finishing third behind Cracksman. And not too many would have had Donjuan Triumphant ahead of the likes of The Tin Man, Librisa Breeze and Tasleet, but he made the frame. It gives us all hope.
Luca Cumani is to retire from training after forty three years. He will be concentrating on his stud business so I guess he is not technically retiring as that seems like hard work.
He hasn’t had so many big winners in recent years but in the eighties and nineties he was one of the top men. He won two Epsom Derbies and the Irish 2000 Guineas with Barathea, who was unlucky to come up against Zafonic in the Newmarket version that year. His first Classic win was in the 1984 St Leger with Commanche Run.
He was also very successful abroad. Tolomeo was the first European horse to win the Arlington Million in 1983, the aforementioned Barathea won the Breeders Cup Mile, Alkasaad won the Japan Cup, and he was half a length away from being the first British based trainer to win the Melbourne Cup when his Purple Moon was just edged out in 2008.
But this is just the hors d’oeuvres. One of my favourite horses was also trained by Signor Cumani. Between April and December 2003 Falbrav ran ten times, all at Group One level, and won five.
He was just behind High Chaparral twice in two of the most dramatic races run this century. His win in the QEII was bitter sweet as I had deserted him for the first time but this is my favourite of his wins, which means it is my favourite Luca Cumani moment.