There might not have been any spectators in the grandstands but for the likes of Frankie Dettori and Jim Crowley, they had a week to remember. Here are the five standout performances which I’ll be taking out of Royal Ascot 2020.
For me, he was the highlight of the week. I know it wasn’t a vintage Ascot Gold Cup when it all boiled down to it, especially with no Kew Gardens, but it was the manner in which he won it. Like, he looked like a horse who was streaking away in a Grade 1 hurdle race from the opposition, more so than a Group 1 Flat race.
It was his third win in the race but it was a case of Stradivarius first and the rest nowhere. It was spectacular to watch and from a viewing aspect, it was great because turning in, we could all see he was going to win and we could enjoy it. Frankie was like a jump jockey looking behind him because he knew he had the leader covered.
He coasted down the straight and he was brilliant to watch. He’s won the Goodwood Cup for the last three years so you’d imagine that’s where he’ll go next. There’s talk that connections might go for the Arc later in the year but on his run against Ghaiyyath in the Coronation Cup, would he struggle to reverse the form in the Arc?
Remember, front runners were suited that day in Newmarket with the tailwind. A soft ground Arc might bring stamina into play but would soft ground really play to Stradivarius’ strengths? We’ll have to see what happens but I’m sure going for a fourth Ascot Gold Cup next year and emulating Yeats is what they’re already thinking with him.
I have to say I doubted him ahead of the King’s Stand Stakes and I doubted his Ascot record too. I thought he had been his own worst enemy in the past but he is an exceptionally fast horse and he showed us that last week. It was an unbelievable week for Jim Crowley but Battaash was the superstar for him.
Racing needs superstars and Stradivarius has been that in the staying division. Now, Battaash is the star in the sprint division but you’ll have Golden Horde, Hello Youmzain and Sceptical now all taking on Battaash and that’s the beauty of having the 5F and 6F sprints at Royal Ascot.
We’ve now some clashes on the sprinting front down the line and they might all meet in the Nunthorpe Stakes or the Haydock Sprint and it will add a bit of spice to the season. That’s something to look forward to.
3. LORD NORTH
I thought what he did in Haydock was good and I gave him a squeak in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, where he was breath-taking. He showed an incredible turn of foot and I thought he put up a hell of a performance.
It will be interesting to see if they decide to take on Enable in the Eclipse as that would be some race. The fact that he’s a gelding means that he’ll be around for a while, which is great for racing, but it will also mean that he’ll be an easier horse to train.
It’s remarkable to think that not so long ago, he was running in handicaps so that just goes to show that he’s been rapidly improving. Usually with horses like him, we don’t see them after their season as a four-year-old because they generally head off to stud but that won’t be the case with this lad. If he and Enable went head to head in the Eclipse, that will be some race.
4. ALPINE STAR
With Millisle and Albigna both running disappointingly in both 1,000 Guineas, Jessie was running the third of her big fillies from last year in the Coronation Stakes. While Alpine Star looked to be in a pocket turning in, Frankie being Frankie never panicked and he got a great split on the rail.
Away she went and you just love the way she opened up. She was the latest of some really good fillies we’ve already seen this year in Love, Peaceful and Frankly Darling and that means you could have some great clashes between these females going forward.
Like her half-sister Alpha Centauri, there are loads of options for her like the Falmouth Stakes, the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Matron Stakes. There will be some great races between these fillies down the line.
I thought he was very good in the Queen’s Vase over 1m6f and maybe he’ll be a Leger horse on the back of that. He could be a Derby horse or he even could be a Cup horse of the future but I was really taken by him. He was really good and by the look of him last week, he’s an improver and that race might just have made a man of him. For my money, he’s going in the right direction.
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