CHAMPIONS emerged across all five days of Royal Ascot – but it’s not always just the winners to keep tabs on.
These five horses should make plenty of headway for the remainder of the season, and into the next.
Golden Horde – Coventry Stakes, 5th
Plenty went wrong for Clive Cox’s youngster in this, and he still managed a very respectable fifth – only beaten two lengths by the impressive winner Arizona.
Off the back of a comprehensive win at Windsor on his second start, Golden Horde showed he’s a horse to follow in the long-term. He travelled up with the pace for much of the race, before getting a tad lost up top.
He drifted markedly across the track, despite Adam Kirby’s best intentions, before Kirby dropped his whip a full furlong from home and ended any winning chance.
He stuck on well though and if anything responded better to simple hands and heels – maybe a concern, but this could also be viewed as a plus if they can teach him how to race more professionally.
There’s no doubt he needs further to be seen to best effect, even at this stage, and Group races over seven will be his next port of call you’d imagine.
He’s definitely more of a galloper than an all out sprinter – sectionals back this up – and Cox has an exciting horse for the remainder of the season, as well as one to think long-term about.
LATEST IN RACING
Threat – Coventry Stakes, 2nd
From the same race, an even more obvious impressive ‘loser’ was the well-regarded Threat from the Richard Hannon camp.
Extremely strong in the market all morning, he won his side and only found Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona too good on the day.
He’s far from a precocious two-year-old – the fact he won at 10-1 on his debut, before finishing runner-up in a strong Coventry demonstrates that. The Guineas will already be on the Cheveley Park and Hannon mind, and quotes of 20-1 for the Newmarket classic look more than justified.
He was a bit unlucky coming out of the stalls, a small bump ensured he was way out of the back and to make his move he was forced up the middle of the track, before coming back to the stands side.
It’s a run you can mark up, and his decisive move a couple of furlongs out reads well on the clock, thanks to the sectionals readily available from Ascot.
He’s got an engine for sure, but there’s no doubt a step up in trip – as his pedigree screams – will show him in his best light.
Getchagetchagetcha – Hampton Court, 8th
Yes an eighth placed horse to follow – and no, I’m not joking.
Rated only 95, this was a big jump following his win in a decent conditions race at Leicester. It was a surprise to see him again so soon, and also a surprise to see him dropped in trip, back to ten furlongs.
This chap is not in here because he’ll be a star, it’s a simpler case. There’s not much chance of the handicapper throwing him up the weights in any significant number, and Clive Cox will definitely be keeping him to at least a mile-and-a-half following this run at Ascot.
He was also unlucky with the ground, in that it had began to dry out and again, he’ll be plenty better with more give in the ground.
He was one of a few that suffered trouble on leaving the gates, and also was bumped when making his challenge in the straight after looking a tad out-paced on the turn for home.
His effort needs upgrading and given some thought out placing, he looks ready to pounce after this creditable run in a red-hot Hampton Court. There’s no doubt he’s a 100-plus horse when conditions come right.
Callum Jamieson's Ascot 'losers' to follow
Threat – Richard Hannon
Golden Horde – Clive Cox
Getchagetchagetcha – Clive Cox
Cross Counter – Charlie Appleby
Highland Chief – Paul Cole
Cross Counter – Gold Cup, 4th
There’s no doubt Godolphin would have been disappointed following Cross Counter’s fourth behind Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.
However, it was arguably the tactics they employed with their star stayer that cost them a real shot at the winner, and not the lack of stamina or ability.
Probably worried about the extended two-and-a-half mile trip, there’s no doubt James Doyle was told to save as much petrol as possible throughout and it was the conservative nature of the ride that allowed a few others first run at the line, despite plenty of traffic problems on the straight.
The slow pace dictated up top did nothing to help with the hold-up tactics, and the ground was probably slower than he’d like in future. He was the only horse to make up any ground whatsoever from the rear, and Doyle would have been cursing his lack of activity as they turned for home.
If connections aren’t now solely focused on a trip back to Australia, there’s no doubt Glorious Goodwood could be a chance to have a serious crack at Stradivarius – even if I feel Stradivarius still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
A sharper trip and likely better ground could see Cross Counter give John Gosden’s star a lot to think about.
Highland Chief – Chesham Stakes, 3rd
Slightly lost in the washing on Saturday after Pinatubo’s undoubted world class display, was the fact that not just the dominant winner, and not just runner-up Lope Y Fernandez, but also Highland Chief brought down the juvenile track record.
Paul Cole’s son of Gleneagles, came here off the back of a soft ground debut win at Newbury and despite everything looking like it was new to him once again here, was a very eye-catching third.
There’s no doubt jockey Raul Da Silva made his move too soon. He had the quickest fifth furlong sectional and once he hit the front, wandered across the track sharply left, before lugging right when Da Silva reacted.
Pinatubo quickly pounced and he had no chance from there in, but stuck on well for third, hitting the line stronger than most despite hanging left again!
When you take all this into account, and then still remember he broke the track record, it doesn’t take a genius to work out Paul Cole is onto a good one.
He looks terribly inexperienced still, but there’s no doubt he’s a talented animal. Cole will undoubtedly have Newmarket in his long-term thoughts already.