Cloud burst pleases Head and disappoints 50,000 spectators

Moonlight Cloud - will she take on Frankel?

Freddie Head is one man who will be more than happy to take on Frankel in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp next month. He nominated Moonlight Cloud as the horse to lay down the challenge, after the filly he trains for George Strawbridge burst through the field to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

If the Moulin were run there, Moonlight Cloud might have a semblance of a chance, as yesterday was the third race she had won there. In taking the Group 1 contest for the second successive year she broke her own record for the winning distance in the race, increasing this from four lengths to five. That could have been more, as she was eased down in the closing stages of the race.

Frankel heading over to France remains very much on the unlikely side, and is only under consideration because there’s a two-month gap between his next race, the Juddmonte at York later this month, and his final run on Qipco champions Day in October.

The Moulin wasn’t an obvious choice for Moonlight Cloud either, as Head acknowledged after her win. But if everything fell into place it could provide a piece in the speculative jigsaw of “what if Frankel and Black Caviar had raced against each other?” as it was Moonlight Cloud who was just a nose behind the Australian mare in the Diamond Jubilee stakes at Royal Ascot. Head commented, “Her next race should really be the Prix de la Foret but it comes too late in the year. But if Frankel comes for the Moulin, then why not? First Black Caviar, then Frankel.”

Meanwhile there were cloud bursts of an altogether different kind at Chester and Hamilton over the weekend, which led to both meetings having to be called off midway through the card. Hamilton’s ladies’ night is its best attended fixture. The course website said, “It is with much regret that racing was abandoned after the second race on Saturday night. The extreme rain fall, of 20mm in 30 minutes, during racing resulted in the track becoming waterlogged and therefore unsafe for any further racing to take place.”

The course immediately offered racegoers a free Grandstand ticket for any of its remaining six meetings this year, and clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski was hoping they would take that offer up, rather than claim the 50% refund on tickets. She said, “It is hard to estimate the cost at this stage. It depends on the refunds people claim but there was a potential profit in that night of £200,000 and after the awful year with the weather it was the final nail on the coffin.”

There was a similar picture at Chester where an estimated crowd of 40,000 had their fun cut short by a storm the witches in Macbeth would have been proud to conjure up. The forecast had suggested a few millimetres of rain towards the end of the afternoon, but instead over an inch of rain fell in the half hour after the third race, turning the home straight into a lake. Perhaps they could have fetched a few rowing boats up from the Dee and had a Chester Olympic regatta.

Jockeys, trainers and racecourse staff did carry out an inspection once the rain had passed over, but this was hardly more than showing willing, as it was a formality that racing would be called off.

1 reply
  1. Jim says:

    Together with Newcastle that’s 3 easily remembered abandoned meetings. I wonder how many there have been this season and if there is a record number in a season – not often you see this.

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