Sunday, June 19, 2011

Royal Ascot 2011 reviewed

Over Royal Ascot week the blog's highlighted suggestions turned in a small loss (to recorded SPs) of 0.43 points; two winners (Canford Cliffs 11/8 and Veiled 11/2) with one each-way second (Harris Tweed 12/1) from 11 selections resulted a win strike rate of 18.18%.

First day highlights included Canford Cliffs' defeat of Goldikova and Frankel's victory in the St James's Palace Stakes; there is now a distinct possibility the two horses will clash in the Sussex Stakes at the Glorious Goodwood meeting on July 27th.

Rewilding's neck defeat of 4/11 favourite SoYou Think in Wednesday's Prince Of Wales's Stakes (one recorded bet on the favourite of £20,000-£45,000) provided plenty of drama and a nine day ban for winning jockey Frankie Dettori whose action in hitting his mount 24 times in the final two furlongs has re-ignited the debate surrounding misuse of the whip.

Fame And Glory stole the show in Thursday's Gold Cup; comparisons with the great Yeats were inevitable. Brown Panther took the concluding King George V Stakes in some style; in the immediate aftermath winning owner Michael Owen was spotted wiping a tear from his eye. Connections now appear to be considering the German Derby as well the Doncaster St.Leger. The high fashion of Ladies' Day was lowered considerably when eight men set about knocking nine bells out of each other in a full-blown brawl behind the grandstand. One imagines Her Majesty would not have been amused...

Less than a fortnight after Pour Moi had crossed La Manche to claim the Epsom Derby, France recorded a 1-2 in Friday's feature with Immortal Verse beating Nova Hawk two and a quarter lengths in the Coronation Stakes.

On the final day Await The Dawn recorded an impressive victory on ground that didn't suit in the Hardwicke; connections are still dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Classic while in the space of 40 minutes trainer James Fanshawe landed a 220/1 double, sending out Society Rock to win the Golden Jubilee Stakes at 25/1 and Deacon Blues the Wokingham at 15/2.

So, what of Royal Ascot?

Rick Broadbent, writing as Couch Potato in The Times, '...remains undecided as to whether live coverage of a Middle England bender is actually sport.'

Nonetheless there remains something quaintly reaassuring in the fact that this particular meeting can generate plenty of correspondence to the same paper's letters page. On Thursday Michael Cole of Woodbridge, Suffolk wrote, 'The preponderance of black stovepipe hats is making Royal Ascot look like an undertakers' convention. The grey topper is more suitable to a summer race meeting...' Saturday's Times published seven replies making several points on various aspects of social etiquette but perhaps Brian Smith of Wells, Somerset, asked two questions on the lips of  the silent majority when inquiring, 'Why is it necessary to wear this ridiculous garb to watch a horse race? Why can't people wear normal clothes?'

Finally, a jumps note to finish on. John Francome pointed out on Saturday's Morning Line that 2011 will be a year to remember for amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen. Three months after riding Long Run to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Sam walked down the aisle to marry Annabel Ballin. Francome reported that the classic car due to take the happy couple on their way unfortunately failed to start and then went on to express his hope that a similar problem wasn't repeated later in the bridal suite...

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