From The Horse’s Mouth: Neigh 8

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Updated: June 17, 2014

Royal Ascot will dominate the British horse-racing calendar from June 17th-21st, an intense five day thirty race festival guaranteed to cause much excitement. However, before Ascot fever really begins let’s look at some of the other news from the racing world from the last two weeks.

French Fancies

Sunday June 1st 2014: Chantilly: 3.15 Prix du Jockey Club [Group 1 (3 yr old Colts & Fillies)]: Distance 1m 2 ½ f: 16R (The French Derby)

Winner: The Grey Gatsby 12-1, Runner-up: Shamkiyr 13-2, Third: Prince Gibraltar 2-1F

Sunday June 15th 2014: Chantilly: 2.45 Prix de Diane Longlines [Group 1 (3 yr old Fillies)]: Distance 1m 2 ½ f: 12R (The French Oaks)

Winner: Avenir Certain, Runner-up: Amour A Papa, Third: Xcellence, Fourth: Shamkala

Emerald Isle Classics

Sunday June 15th 2014: Cork: 3.50 Muster Oaks Stakes: (Group 3): Distance 1m 4f: 7R

Winner: Venus de Milo 5-2 victory by 1 ¼ lengths over Runner-up: Dazzling 9-2, Third: Circling 14-1.

Sunday June 15th 2014: Cork: 4.25 Cork Derby (Premier Handicap): Distance 1m 4f: 14R NR: Chapter Seven, Mutual Regard

Winner: Chance To Dance 11-2 victory by ½ length over Runner-up: Eighteen Summers 16-1, Third Nateeja 16-1

No Treble Success for California Chrome

In the Belmont Stakes on June 7th CALIFORNIA CHROME was the unlucky thirteenth horse since 1978 to attempt the “holy grail treble” of success in the Preakness, Kentucky Derby and Belmont races. California Chrome was drawn in stall two which I believe was considered an unfavourable position for him close to the rails. Having read a lot about the horse I know that it is generally accepted that California Chrome likes space on the outside. So when jockey Victor Espinoza took the horse into the lead on the first corner it was with surprise that he remained on the inside! It looked like the horse was being deliberately held back, and this decision enabled Commissioner and General A Rod to box California Chrome in. Labouring behind the leaders down the backstretch in a steady third to fifth place, Espinoza finally manoeuvred his mount to the outside on the far turn. With the home stretch lying ahead of him California Chrome just couldn’t find the extra surge to challenge the leaders, possibly having expended precious energy moving through the field traffic for a better position. By comparison Tonalist from nowhere found a good position on the outside in the back straight and had enough in the tank to challenge Commissioner. At the post California Chrome came in fourth equal alongside Wicked Strong. The excitement surrounding a final stride win for Tonalist over Commissioner was somewhat lost in the stunned silence surrounding California Chrome’s failure at the Triple Crown. Was the horse just worn out by his third tough race in five weeks? Certainly the three horses ahead of him were fresher as Tonalist and Commissioner did not participate in either the Preakness or the Kentucky Derby, and third placed Medal Count didn’t run the Preakness. And the qualifying criteria for the Kentucky Derby in particular gave California Chrome an increased work load. It has also got to be noted that the Belmont Stakes is a quarter mile longer than the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby and 5/16 longer than the Pimlico Preakness. California Chrome had visibly tired toward the end of the Derby and lost ground in his victory at the Preakness. So the extra distance at the Belmont just seems to have been a stride too far for California Chrome who finished the race with a bloodied leg for his effort. Tonalist’s victory was by a head over Commissioner with Medal Count a length behind and California Chrome/ Wicked Strong a further 1 ¾ lengths back.

So since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 these are the horses that have tried to emulate the achievement: 79 Spectacular Bid-3rd; 81 Pleasant Colony-3rd; 87 Alysheba 4th; 89 Sunday Silence 2nd; 97 Silver Charm 2nd; 98 Real Quiet 2nd only lost by 4 inches; 99 Charismatic 3rd found to have broken a leg during the race; 2002 War Emblem 8th; 2003 Funny Cide 3rd; 2004 Smarty Jones 2nd; 2008 Big Brown didn’t finish but ran with a cracked left front hoof, 2012 I’ll Have Another late scratch due to injury, 2014 California Chrome 4th.

California Chrome immortalised on canvas.

California Chrome immortalised on canvas.

Bits and Pieces

The Grand National Stewards Inquiry on June 11th resulted in the 39 jockeys that took part in the race all getting an official caution but no ban.

Crystal Gaze in foal to Frankel and her young three month un-named son (Frankel’s first born) were both sold for 1.15 million pounds at the Goffs bloodstock sale on Monday 17th June. This shows how much expectation surrounds the off-spring of Frankel considered the best race horse on the flat ever to run. The successful bid came from M V Magnier of Coolmore Stud.

 

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