Ian Heitmann assesses the July meeting and Royal Ascot
Ian Heitman looks at the Newmarket July meeting and the rest of Royal Ascot
Two of Flat racing biggest meetings take place in August, the five-day Qatar Festival at Goodwood at the beginning of the month and York’s Ebor Festival four-day from 22nd to 25th. Both meetings offer some of the best prize money of the year and with plenty of Group races and interesting maidens, they are meetings to look forward to.
The last issue featured the first three days of Royal Ascot, before going to look at Newmarket’s July Festival and the other significant races that have taken place recently, here’s a catch-up on the three two-year-old races held on the final two days of the Royal Meeting.
The Group Two Albany Stakes over 6f on day four saw MAIN EDITION extend her unbeaten record to three with a neck win over LA PELOSA with FAIRYLAND doing best of those that raced on the far side of the track half a length away in third. Main Edition was just the second Royal Ascot two-yearold winner for Mark Johnston in the last 10 years.
Johnston was widely expected to take the Listed Chesham Stakes over 7f on the final day with NATALIES JOY who had produced one of the fastest 6f times seen at Goodwood for a long time and was the 5/4 favourite to confirm that debut promise. She lost her chance at the start, awkward out of the stalls and never landing a blow from midfield. The clock at Goodwood suggested she was high class but after this performance she has a bit to prove. Victory went to ARTHUR KITT trained by Tom Dascombe who held off the challenge of NATE THE GREAT inside the last 100 yards, a neck separating the pair at the line with three and a quarter lengths to DUKE OF HAZZARD in third. Arthur Kitt has the scope to progress throughout the year and he emulated his dam Ceiling Kitty by winning at Royal Ascot, she won the 2012 Queen Mary. Duke Of Hazzard ran well in defeat on his next start at Salisbury on July 14th, beaten a neck by FEDERAL LAW who was winning at the second attempt for Archie Watson.
Having lost out by a neck in the Chesham, Nate The Great’s trainer, Archie Watson went one place better in the 28 runner Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over 5f when SOLDIER’S CALL beat SABRE by half a length and gave Watson his first Royal Ascot winner, leading the group that raced towards the stands side and having enough in hand to hold off Sabre who finished strongly having been held up. DOM CARLOS ran a remarkable race to be third for Joseph O’Brien, as he was last and seemed to be struggling in the larger group that raced far side before picking up strongly with a furlong and a half to go to snatch third on the line.
Soldier’s Call will head for one of Goodwood’s feature two-year-old races, the Molecomb Stakes where he will have a leading chance given the pace he showed at Ascot.
NEWMARKET JULY FESTIVAL
The three-day July Festival has a mix of Group races and maidens for two-yearolds. The Group Two July Stakes over 6f was one of the feature races on the opening day and with perfect fast ground a field of eight lined up. ADVERTISE, second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, was the well supported 11/10 favourite for Martyn Meade and Frankie Dettori and looking in good shape in the paddock beforehand it was easy to see why he was preferred in the betting to LEGENDS OF WAR who had missed the Coventry due to illness. Whereas Advertise is a strong wellmade colt, Legends Of War, who was sold for 900,000 guineas at a breeze-up sale in the spring, is a much racier type and doesn’t have the scope of Advertise, he was the 2/1 second favourite. VAN BEETHOVEN, representing Aidan
O’Brien had finished fourth in the Windsor Castle and had subsequently won the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh, the 13th time O’Brien had won the race since 1997, comfortably beating British raiders, MARIE’S DIAMOND and CERTAIN LAD.
Also in the line-up were KONCHEK and CHARMING KID, fifth and eighth respectively in the Norfolk Stakes on their previous starts, DUNKERRON, winner of two novice races for Alan King and only the second two-year-old to run in Group company for the yard since 2015 and SPORTING CHANCE who had been a beaten odds on favourite at Kempton on his previous start.
There weren’t too many concerns for those who had supported Advertise as he made good progress from the rear to take the lead a furlong from the finish and only had to be pushed out by Dettori to win by two lengths from Konchek who ran well on his first try over 6f with Charming Kid a neck away in third. Dunkerron ran a fair race to be fourth but both Legends Of War and Van Beethoven were disappointing, finishing well beaten in sixth and seventh respectively.
Advertise has no immediate targets but races like the Gimcrack at York and the Middle Park at Newmarket would be ideal races for him. His pedigree suggests he should stay 7f which could bring the Dewhurst into play, but he has only raced on fast ground and 7f on soft ground in the autumn could stretch him.
Konchek could be one for the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood given this good showing whilst Charming Kid, who doesn’t have too much scope, could easily drop to 5f for his next start.
A 6f maiden fillies race was the second two-year-old race on the opening day card. HANDMAIDEN was the 7/4 favourite to improve on her good debut second at the track a couple of weeks earlier. Taking on fillies only this time, she was beaten by Quorto on her debut, she attracted plenty of support, ahead of POETRY who was narrowly beaten at Pontefract on her debut with LOVER’S KNOT, also second over course and distance on her debut, third favourite.
Half of the field were making their racecourse debuts with LADY COSETTE, the first two-year-old runner of the year for Jeremy Noseda, impressing in the paddock beforehand, a scopey filly by Wootton Bassett, she wasn’t given a hard time by Paul Hanagan finishing sixth.
Lover’s Knot led all the way under William Buick and held off the challenge of Handmaiden, who travelled strongly, inside the last furlong with YOURTIMEISNOW faring best of the newcomers in third. NO WAY JOSE was very unlucky not to be closer than her finishing position, fourth. She was denied a clear run inside the last 100 yards and will be very hard to beat next time. Less than four lengths covered the first eight horses and the time was relatively slow (slowest 6f two-year-old race to be run at the track in 2018) so it might not be the strongest form but there should be a couple to win next time. Lover’s Knot will be aimed at the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot on July 28th.
The Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (formerly the Cherry Hinton) was the feature two-year-old race on the second day with Main Edition looking to extend her unbeaten record to four. Amongst her eight rivals were four who had finished behind her in the Albany, La Pelosa (second), Angels Hideaway (fourth), Pretty Pollyanna (fifth) and Chicas Amigas (seventh). The runner-up in the Queen Mary, Gossamer Wings and impressive Leicester winner, Chaleur also lined up, this was a good renewal of this Group 2 contest.
La Pelosa was just preferred in the betting to her Ascot conqueror Main Edition, but the pair lost any chance they had when Frankie Dettori aboard Angel’s Hideaway edged right into the pair a furlong and a half from the finish, James Doyle doing very well to stay on board Main Edition. Pretty Pollyanna was in front at the time and she stayed on very strongly to record a sevenlength win, the widest margin of victory in the race since 2006, with Angel’s Hideaway keeping on for second and Chaleur making late progress to snatch third. La Pelosa and Main Edition finished fifth and seventh respectively but would have been contenders for places had the interference not occurred. The stewards gave Dettori a 10-day suspension which rules him out of the King George meeting at Ascot at the end of July and all of the Qatar Goodwood Festival where he would have had strong chances in the Group 1 races aboard Without Parole and Stradivarius.
There was no fluke about Pretty Pollyanna’s win and she provided Michael Bell with his biggest two-yearold success since 2008 when Art Connoisseur won the Coventry Stakes. The bookmakers were impressed enough to promote her to favourite for the 2019 1000 Guineas ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s impressive maiden winner, GODDESS, who ran away with a maiden at Leopardstown the previous evening.
Pretty Pollyanna will have no problem staying the mile trip of the 1000 Guineas and will be hard to beat in the Lowther Stakes if connections decide to run her with a penalty she will have to carry for this Group 2 win.
Having been out of luck with Gossamer Wings in the Duchess Of Cambridge, Aidan O’Brien had the favourite, MOUNT TABORA, in the 7f maiden. Sent off at 2/1, he had every chance racing in touch with the pace in the centre group but was no match for the impressive winner, AL HILALEE who stayed on strongly to lead inside the last furlong to win by three and a quarter lengths from AL MUREIB who collared Mount Tabora close home to grab third.
Al Hilalee was the fourth debut winner of 2019 for Charlie Appleby and his 16th from 59 runners at the July course. A well-bred colt by Dubawi out of a Group 1 winning mare, Al Hilalee had the pedigree to be high-class and he should be making his mark in Group races before too long with the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy a long-term target.
The two-year-old highlight on Newmarket’s final day was the Group 2 Superlative Stakes over 7f which saw a strong favourite in QUORTO who had impressed on his debut over 6f at the
July course three weeks earlier when he easily beat Handmaiden by two and three-quarter lengths. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, a brother to high-class pair, Highland Reel and Idaho, and the winner of his third start in Ireland was joint second favourite with CERTAIN LAD, who had finished third in the Group 2 Railway Stakes on his latest start having won his first two races. Also part of the seven strong field were novice winners, NEVERLAND ROCK, DAAFR and FORSETI with BLOWN BY WIND having his seventh start of the year on the back of a conditions win at Pontefract last time out.
Cape Of Good Hope was allowed an easy lead, but he had no answer to Quorto who swept past with a furlong to go and stayed on strongly inside the last 100 yards to record a very impressive three and three-quarter lengths victory from Cape Of Good Hope who outstayed Neverland Rock for third with a further four and half lengths to Certain Lad in fourth. Blown By Wind dropped right away and finished well beaten last of the seven.
Quorto emulated his sire Dubawi by winning the Superlative, the second winner in three years for Charlie Appleby, and he will bid to further follow in Dubawi’s hoofprints by winning the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh on his next start. A first foal for Listed winner Volume, Quorto is a very exciting prospect.
Having won three of the five twoyear-old races at the meeting, Appleby was responsible for the favourite in the concluding juvenile race of the meeting, ASSEMBLY OF TRUTH who was narrowly beaten into third on her debut by subsequent Duchess Of Cambridge winner, Pretty Pollyanna at Yarmouth. Sent off the 9/4 favourite in a field of 11, Assembly Of Truth had every chance leading the main group but was headed a furlong from the finish by newcomer NEW JAZZ who was herself headed by ANTONIA DE VEGA with 100 yards to go and she saw it out well beat ZAGITOVA by a length and a quarter with New Jazz third. GALLIC kept on well to take fourth ahead of Assembly Of Truth who faded to fifth.
Antonia De Vega was the third winning newcomer of the year for Ralph Beckett, his second winner, SCINTILATING was an impressive winner at Newbury on July 5th and both fillies have good futures. Zagitova is a halfsister to smart sprinter Garswood and she is sure to win races for Aidan O’Brien as too will New Jazz for John Gosden. MISS SERENITY travelled well for a long way before tiring inside the last furlong and a half and was beaten six lengths in sixth. She should improve a lot next time for Hugo Palmer who has had a quiet year with his juveniles, only one individual winner at the time of writing.
Away from Newmarket, Karl Burke continued his excellent record his France when LITTLE KIM got up close home to beat Chelsea Cloisters and Shumookhi, who had finished behind her in the Queen Mary, in the Group 3 Prix du Bois on July 3rd. This was the third Group winner in France for Burke in 2018 following the Group 1 successes of Laurens in the Prix Saint-Alary and the French Oaks. The Queen Mary has produced a number of next time out winners, SO PERFECT also recorded a Group success when she won the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Curragh on July 1st. Other winners from the Queen Mary include SECOND GENERATION who won at Windsor in good style on June 30th, RED BALLOONS in novice company at Nottingham on July 7th and nursery winners, LUCHADOR (won the first nursery of the year at Haydock on July 5th) and KODYANNA who won at York on July 13th. It will certainly be worth keeping an eye out for Shades Of Blue who finished third and Kurious who finished ninth in the Queen Mary.
Karl Burke was doubly represented in the Listed Dragon Stakes over 5f at Sandown on July 6th with LIFE OF RILEY and COLLECT CALL with Life Of Riley faring best of the pair, beaten three quarters of a length by WELL DONE FOX who won comfortably for Richard Hannon and Ryan Moore. Always going strongly close to the pace, Well Done Fox picked up well
to lead inside the last furlong and kept on well with Life Of Riley and CHAPELLI keeping on taking second and third. Well Done Fox looked in good shape in the paddock beforehand, has got warm before his races previously, and he will head to Goodwood for the Molecomb Stakes for a meeting with Windsor Castle winner Soldier’s Call with preference for Soldier’s Call who showed so much speed at Ascot.
Sandown’s 7f novice races on July 6th are sure to produce future winners. The first division went to ARCTIC SOUND for Mark Johnston and Silvestre de Sousa, he had the benefit of a previous run and beat FOX TEL, an expensive son on Sea The Stars, and LINE OF DUTY who would have gone very close to winning had he not been short of room over a furlong from the finish and had to switch around the first two and was only beaten a neck and a short head. Fourth placed ALRAJAA was green in the paddock, has plenty of scope, he finished well from the rear and will get a lot more involved next time.
KING OF COMEDY looked a smart prospect winning the second division, albeit in a slower time than the first division, when he picked up well for Adam Kirby and beat PERSIAN MOON by two and a half lengths with TOPICAL running a promising first race in third. Adam Kirby had only had one ride aboard a John Gosden two-yearold debutant prior to this winning ride and it will be a surprise if there aren’t more to come in the coming weeks. King Of Comedy was the second winner Gosden has trained by his star miler stallion Kingman, Calyx was the first, and with plenty of well-bred and expensive two-year-olds to run, Kingman is certainly a stallion to take note of when he has runners. LOOK AROUND added to Kingman’s impressive start when she won at Kempton July 4th for Andrew Balding whose horses have improved significantly from their debuts.
With the ground remaining on the quick side due to a lack of rain, a couple of two-year-old course records have been broken in the last couple of weeks. COMEDY defied a penalty at Doncaster on June 29th over 6f. Showing good pace throughout, she was never in any danger winning by two lengths from STAR TERMS who finished well but couldn’t get to the winner. PINK ICEBURG, who had finished fourth to Comedy when the pair met at Pontefract on June 11th, was well supported at Yarmouth on July 11th and ran out a comfortable winner of an ordinary novice auction over 5f. She should be able to build on this in nurseries in the coming weeks.
Ascot’s first meeting after the Royal meeting was a two-day fixture on July 13th and 14th. The opening two-yearold novice race only attracted six runners with DIRTY RASCAL first past the post but was demoted for bumping into MARHABA MILLIAR inside the last furlong, a short head the margin between the pair. Marhaba Milliar has an excellent pedigree, a half-brother to Queen Kindly who won the Lowther Stakes in 2016, he is a strong sprinting type who is sure to make his mark in pattern company for John Gosden before too long. GAMBON kept on well to be third for Eve Johnson Houghton and with a pedigree for further than this 6f, will be seen to better effect over 7f next time.
George Peckham’s SEMOUM was a warm favourite to win the 6f nursery and this $400,000 purchase was made to work inside the last furlong to land the odds from NAYSLAYER who finished well to be second and won’t be too long in getting off the mark. Semoum was a first runner at the track for Peckham who was winning his third two-year-old race of 2018.
The novice auction on the second day of the meeting went to Michael Bell’s newcomer NUREMBURG who travelled well for Danny Tudhope and made good progress to lead inside the last furlong and won well by a length and three-quarters from GLORY. He has plenty of scope and could develop into a useful prospect.
The final mention must go to Mark Johnston who has sent out 42 twoyear-olds at the time of writing, the last of them, DARK VISION, looked a smart prospect when he followed up his debut win by winning at York on July 14th. Always going strongly, he only had to be shaken up by David Probert (only the third winner for the yard) to win easily by a couple of lengths from ABSOLUTE DREAM in second.
With the ground on the quick side due to a lack of rain, a couple of TWOyear-old course records have been broken
Handmaiden at Newmarket
Blown By Wind