Just seven days ago we were looking back at a weekend of Classic action. High class racing that took place under blue skies and warm sunshine.
What a difference a week can make… Granted there was no lack of racing around the country. But it wasn’t the strongest summer Saturday in terms of quality. Even worse, the weather was more akin to October than ‘flaming June’. There had been plenty of rain about on Friday & Saturday, which meant the going at Haydock, the days’ feature meeting, had changed to heavy.
This week it’s the 2-year-olds who take centre stage, including some Royal Ascot thoughts.
Liberty Set for Royal Ascot
It was a big Saturday for Yorkshire trainer John Quinn. As the trainer had three winners at three different tracks. Safe Voyage landed Haydock’s feature race the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes. At Chelmsford, it was the turn of Lord Riddiford to land a competitive Class 2 sprint handicap.
Probably his best winner came at Beverley, with Liberty Beach taking the Hilary Needler Trophy. Despite stall 8, the filly was suited by the strong pace set. Held-up she made excellent headway coming to two out. Finishing her race off powerfully, she finally collared the long-time leader inside the final 100yds to win going away.
The daughter of Cable Bay is now 2 wins from 2 runs. On the evidence of this run, she should get 6f but first, she will be heading to Royal Ascot and the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes over the minimum trip. It’s a race that the trainer won last year with Signora Cabello.
For relatively small yard John Quinn’s record with juveniles at Royal Ascot is excellent. The 2-year-olds that he sends to the Royal Meeting, that had won their last races, are 2 winners from 4 runners +28. A decent run from Liberty Beach seems likely, and she should be a decent price too.
Apart from the performance of Liberty Beach there weren’t really any other highlights from Saturday’s racing. The form at Haydock should be treated with a great deal of caution, and seems unlikely to be replicated unless it’s heavy again.
Royal Ascot Juvenile Thoughts
This time next week we’ll be on the eve of the best week’s flat racing in the world – Royal Ascot. I have already highlighted the claims of one juvenile bound for Ascot.
The other one that has impressed me is, arguably, the best juvenile we have seen so far, in Arizona. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the son of No Nay Never has made a pleasing racecourse debut when finishing 2 nd of 17 at the Curragh. Back at the Curragh, on quicker ground, he took a major step forward from his debut. Always up with the pace, he was sent for home 2f out and soon pulled clear of his eight rivals. He probably didn’t beat that much, but you couldn’t fault the ease of his win.
It’s likely the colt will now head for the Coventry Stakes, a race that the trainer has won three times in the past ten years. He’s a best priced 5/1 with Bet365 for the race. He also has an entry for the Chesham Stakes, and will take plenty of beating.
On Friday we saw Aidan O’Brien introduce another couple of nice juveniles who could be heading for Royal Ascot. Lope Y Fernandez & Kipling finished first and second in the 7f maiden at the Curragh. The winner travelled well throughout the race and showed a good turn of foot to win the race by 3 ¾ lengths. After the race the trainer suggested the Chesham Stakes as a possible target. The ground was good to yielding at the Curragh on Friday evening and, given his sire is Lope De Vega, then he could be at his best with a bit of ease in the going.
Kipling, a son of Galileo, was also talked about as possible for the Chesham after this pleasing racecourse debut. He possibly wasn’t as forward as his stablemate, and he should come on plenty for this run. On better ground there shouldn’t be much between the pair.
I will be looking at Royal Ascot in more detail next week.
Salisbury Racecourse Stats
Having looked at Windsor and Brighton, I’m turning my attention this week to Salisbury, which races on Tuesday.
The course is right-handed and similar in layout to Goodwood and Hamilton. There is a 7f long straight with a loop at around the 3f mark. The finish is uphill from the 4f mark, which can really test the stamina of juveniles on rain softened ground.
I have three trainer stats and one jockey stats for the racecourse. Starting with the trainers:
8 winners from 19 runners 42% +17.16 12 placed 63%
5 winners from 16 runners 31% +0.08 8 placed 50%
Those 5/1 & under are 5 winners from 8 runners 63% +8.08 6 placed 75%
4 winners from 11 runners 36% +11.5 6 placed 55%
Race Distance: 7f to 1m
14 winners from 56 runners 255 +54.8 25 placed 45%
Until next week