Sunday, July 24, 2011

Looking back...and looking forward

A dramatic renewal of the King George this year with Nathaniel's victory overshadowed by Rewilding breaking a leg as he started his challenge up the home straight and having to be put down as a result of the injury. In difficult circumstances both winning jockey William Buick and trainer John Gosden spoke eloquently to camera immediately after the race, paying tribute to the Godolphin runner. At the time of writing Nathaniel is 8/1 for the Arc. Last year's Arc winner Workforce looked the likely winner of this year's King George until he veered badly off a straight line in the final furlong, hanging left and going down by two and threequarter lengths. Since the laying of the new course and the building of the new stand at Ascot, I have previously seen some horses hang towards the stands rails in a similar fashion, particularly when the sun casts a shadow over the track. I guess connections will be at a loss to explain this running; Workforce is a 7/1 chance with Coral to win this year's Arc.

Here's my interpretation of the King George tactics... The word beforehand was Debussy would set a honest, even gallop but in the event he did nothing of the sort. Ahmed Ajtebi took his mount to the front and then promptly but the brakes on. With Rewilding settled at the back, I'm assuming the plan was to make opposing jockeys, particularly Ryan Moore on Workforce and William Buick on Nathaniel, restrain their mounts and thereby waste valuable energy. Full marks to Buick who quickly adapted to circumstances and let his mount stride on. For the spectator, though, it led to a messy race.

One final note from Ascot... During TV coverage Clare Balding told viewers that Willie Carson had received a strong tip for 40/1 chance Palace Moon in the International Stakes. In the event the gelding was declared a non-runner but might be worth a second look if seen out in the next couple of weeks.

Two meetings to monitor in the coming week - Glorious Goodwood (Tuesday - Saturday) with the much anticpated clash between Frankel and Canford Cliffs set to take place in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday and the Galway Summer Festival (Monday - Sunday) with the Galway Plate scheduled for Wednesday and the Guinness Galway Hurdle for Thursday.

Finally, it's been a fair week's work for golf agent Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler. This time last week Chubby was interviewed on BBC TV as Darren Clarke collected the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich. Six days later and Chubby was amongst the winners once again as his Hoof It, owned in partnership with golfer Lee Westwood, landed York's six furlong Sky Bet Dash with something in hand. Connections now have Saturday's Stewards' Cup firmly in their sights...; this evening Hoof It is the 7/1 favourite with most layers.             

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