Matt Chapman’s Good, Bad and Ugly from this week’s world of horse racing where the King George took centre stage


IT was a weekend many racing fans will never forget with the most classic of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes renewals at Ascot.

That battle between Crystal Ocean and Enable will live long in the memory – but who makes my latest Good Bad Ugly column?

Enable showed all of her guts and determination to beat a brave Crystal Ocean on Saturday
PA:Press Association


The 2019 King George at Ascot. What a classic smash up between Enable and Crystal Ocean, with the connections of the winner and runner-up all covering themselves in glory. Even the Ascot crowd showed some emotion, which is rare in Flat racing.

Enable’s will to win is something only seen in supreme athletes, and Crystal Ocean’s desire to try and match her was terrific to watch. Frankie Dettori and James Doyle both gave their mounts the ultimate ride, and the whip was used properly and responsibly also.

Enable is right up there with the best fillies we have seen, and Crystal Ocean is super tough in the mould of a Pilsudski. Typical Sir Michael Stoute.

It was simply a sporting moment where one can say: “I was there”.

I would like to single out Doyle once again in particular. He must have been gutted passing the line, but as he had done over the passing of Sea Of Class, Doyle showed true class in all he said about the race.

If I was a member of the Doyle family I would be immensely proud of James. As a racing fan I think he has proven himself an exceptional talent and human being.


I am sick and tired of the clash between Goodwood and Galway every year. I know they are very different festivals, but why can’t they be one week apart?

When I worked on the old Attheraces I was lucky enough to go to Galway and enjoy the terrific fun of that meeting. But it meant I always missed Goodwood.

Now, I am lucky enough to work on ITV which covers Goodwood, but of course that means Galway is always impossible.

Maybe it’s just a selfish individual thing, but for the life of me I have no idea why both fixtures could not be in different weeks. If Galway had been last week it would have had much more publicity and I would have been able to take in both. Perhaps that is the reason!


Handicappers often get a lot of stick, and you imagine many of the conversations they have with trainers get ugly. Most of us also mocked the system which left Crystal Ocean as the best horse in the world prior to the King George with a mark of 127.

However, as is often the case the handicapping was spot on.

There was 2lb between Enable and Crystal Ocean on official ratings, yet Enable got 3lb for being a filly. The fact that 1lb split the pair at the line shows that in weight terms a dead-heat would have been fair. The handicappers actually got it spot on. Or did they? Even off levels, I am sure Enable would still have won. Funny old game.


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