Tag Archive for: Coolmore

All systems go for Auguste Rodin and Dubai after Dundalk workout

Dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin has a ticket to Dubai booked for the Sheema Classic as a mixed turf and dirt campaign beckons.

The Deep Impact colt is out of multiple Group One winner Rhododendron and lived up to his exceptional pedigree when taking both the Derby and Irish Derby last term.

He capped his domestic season by winning another Group One title in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, after which he set sail for Santa Anita and defeated a competitive field to land the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

After that performance there was some discussion as to whether he would retire to stud or stay in training, with connections sportingly choosing the latter option.

A winter break followed and the four-year-old is due to return in the Sheema Classic, run over a mile and a half at the Dubai World Cup fixture in Meydan in late March.

Auguste Rodin did a piece of work on the all-weather track at Dundalk ahead of the journey, after which he has a turf campaign pencilled in before connections expect to discuss running him on a dirt surface.

O’Brien – who runs Luxembourg and Tower Of London in Saudi Arabia on Saturday – said: “That’s the plan for him, the Sheema Classic, then we were thinking of going back for the Tattersalls Gold Cup and then maybe to Ascot for the Prince of Wales’s.

“We’ll have a look at racing him on the dirt after that, it’s very possible with these types of horses that you can push the boundaries a bit and explore a little bit and see what happens.

“He was at Dundalk on Friday, he went a mile and a quarter with three other horses and went very well.

“He came back then and started preparing for Dubai, that’s the plan.”

Monday Musings: Geneses

I got a parcel in the post the other day, preceded by an explanation as to why my friend Peter Ashmore would want to send me “The Boss”, written in the year 2000 by John Budden and subtitled the Life and Times of Horseracing Legend Gordon W Richards, writes Tony Stafford.

Peter knows I speak regularly with Nicky Richards, Gordon’s son and successor at Greystoke stables in Cumbria. He also thought I might find it interesting that Gordon basically was sent away from home in Bath, where he had learnt to handle all manner of horses associated with his father’s business, at the age of 11.

It intrigued Peter that young Richards’ first stop was at Sandbanks in Dorset, now the most valuable stretch of real estate, excepting certain parts of London, for instance Hampstead and Mayfair, in the UK. In 1941. When he arrived during the early stages of the Second World War, the beach was split into no-go areas by the military’s prolific use of barbed wire.

That didn’t faze Louie Dingwall, in effect and indeed practice, one of the first horserace trainers in the UK, even though it took the Jockey Club thirty years to accept that she and any other female should hold a licence, originally officially in her husband’s name.

What Peter didn’t know is that there is a small connection with me here. In the early 1970’s soon after I joined the Daily Telegraph and a few years after Mrs D, as everyone who worked for her called her, had been officially sanctioned as a trainer, I headed up a syndicate in the first horse in which I ever had an interest.

Looking in the Sporting Life, which I devoured just as I had the Greyhound Express in my first Fleet Street job a few years earlier, the racehorse sales were always an interest. I noticed that a three-year-old called Princehood had been acquired from Doncaster the day before by Mrs D for £300, or maybe even £260. I called her and asked whether she had a buyer. “Yes, my dear, me!”

As an article commissioned by the Poole Museum about this remarkable woman revealed much later, her horses usually cost £500 or under. I reckoned this impressive winner by five lengths of his debut for the classy Newmarket trainer Atty Corbett, but a disappointing fourth next time, had to be a snip. (In those days I had no idea that horses could go wrong!)

I thought putting together a syndicate (at £30 a shot!) from the paper and the reprobates, including long-term friend Trevor Halling (father of boxing commentator Nick) and band leader Chris Allen, habitués of the Corals shop across the road from the paper, would be an easy task. It wasn’t, and fifty odd years later, it still isn’t!

But in the end, we did it, and Princehood ran a few times in the name of Mrs S Carroll, a Roedean teacher who was married to my racing desk colleague, John. We were all excited and I had a couple of trips down to Sandbanks, to the stables which had its own petrol pump, a remnant of the garage she ran when she also had, among others, a successful bus business, that serviced the area.

Those days more than half a century ago, the multi-million pound properties to be were a distant illusion, but any coastal place which has water on either side of valuable land is to be treasured and that’s where we had a family lunch at Rick Stein’s restaurant a couple of years ago.

By the time I met the trainer she was already in her 80s and was poorly sighted, so that she could a couple of years earlier have driven her horsebox to Nice in the South of France and won a £6,000 prize (big money in those days) with the unconsidered veteran Treason Trail at Cagnes-sur-Mer says much for her endurance and tenacity. Then she drove it all the way back, drawing on all those days driving buses before the War.

Mrs D’s main jumps jockey in those days was the talented Gary Old, but instead of slogging through the hot Dorset summers on horseback, he used to trade that for hiring out deckchairs and his extreme good looks on the beach at Bournemouth, barely five miles along the coast.

His true potential was only really revealed when he left the Dingwall yard to join Donald Underwood near Guildford, and he had a great association with True Song, a smart hurdler who won the big novice race at Chepstow on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival. Sadly, Gary Old died very young.

Another Sandbanks inmate was Pat Butler, whose time there didn’t exceed Princehood’s by long as he has been training in his own right in Sussex since 1976. When we bump into each other on the racecourse, Pat always reminds me of those distant days.

Princehood left to join Ken Payne when he moved from the New Forest to Middleham and broke the 5f track record at Lanark at 14/1 as we looked on in concerted disbelief in the Kings and Keys pub. Two days earlier we were all on when he got stuffed in a seller at Doncaster.

When I began today’s jaunt I had intended to give rather more prominence to the journey Gordon Richards made to the top of the jumping tree. As when in his early days as an apprentice jockey with the Tom Waugh stable at Chilton, the clerk of the scales asked his name. “Gordon Richards”, he replied. “I don’t think we can have two Gordon Richards”, was the clerk’s response, referring to the perennial champion who set even greater records than Tony McCoy’s over jumps as the leading flat jockey either side of and during WW2.

Young Gordon was asked who he worked for and when he replied, “Mr Waugh”, Gordon W Richards was born, never to be altered for the rest of his highly-successful life and career.

Reading John Budden’s studiously researched missive, understandable as his original occupation was as a schoolteacher in Cumbria, for me it was a series of human and equine names that also exactly mirrored the most active of my betting days.

Names like Playlord, the horse that got him going in Yorkshire and enabled him to take the Greystoke stables across in Cumbria previously the home of Tommy Robson, through to Noddy’s Ryde and after that many more, lastly in Gordon’s life, One Man, the enigma that could win any race – apart from the Cheltenham Gold Cup – provided vivid reminders of those days.

The brushes with authority were detailed, often with some humour, as he always stood his ground and supported his jockeys. But then came the gradual and eventually rapid decline in his health, which meant Nicky had to take control. He has done so with great skill and dedication for 25 years already – and he’s now approaching, unbelievably, the age his father was when he died from cancer in 1998.

John Budden, known as Lord John Budden in the press rooms in the north of England for his plummy tones, used that term to describe the great radio commentator Peter Bromley. John also commentated in points and under Rules and was a very popular man with colleagues and professionals in the sport. He was a good tipster to boot and wrote for the Cumberland News from 1966 until his death last year. Dedication indeed.

There were parallels with my other much treasured book that ended in a similar period. Horsetrader, subtitled Robert Sangster and the Rise and Fall of the Sport of Kings, was written by Patrick Robinson with (no relation) Nick Robinson as early as 1993, yet it has become such a must-read that it has been re-printed and also voiced as an audio book.

I have my old copy and find that the events chronicled therein ended as far back as 1993! As with The Boss’s joint-author, Nick Robinson died only recently, in his case this summer aged 87. He was a major influence in the development of syndicate ownership, through Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds which continues to thrive under Nick’s protégé, Sam Hoskins.

It was Robinson, in a coffee shop in Liverpool attended regularly by sons of wealthy businessmen in the Liverpool area, that first whetted the young Robert Sangster’s appetite for horse racing.

The book details how winning (and losing) gambles gradually persuaded the son of the founder and chairman of Vernons Pools, in the days when football pools were the only way for the public to land onto massive riches. That was before even Premium Bonds (launched in 1957) and the lottery in the UK, although Ireland’s lottery was the driving force behind upgrading the Irish Sweeps Derby in the early 1960’s.

Sangster, off his own bat, studied his new-found obsession and decided Vincent O’Brien was the best trainer and acted on his opinion. Decades later, Robert, Vincent, and Vincent’s son-in-law John Magnier, ruled the world of horse racing.

Without Robinson there wouldn’t have been a Sadler’s Wells, thus Galileo and Frankel. It all came down to that coffee shop!

Just as Nicky Richards has assimilated the skills of his father, The Boss, so Robert Sangster’s sons and grandsons have made their mark either as breeders, owners, bloodstock agents or, in the case of grandson Ollie, an emerging trainer. A rich legacy indeed!

Horsetrader’s conclusion is that the arrival of the free-spending Arab owners altered the equilibrium, we thought once and for all. But look at racing in 2023, thirty years after Horsetrader’s publication, Coolmore stills thrives in its modified form, and while Arab owners are still very much in evidence, the growing threat and indeed the money to sustain it now comes from Japan.

That is epitomised by the brilliant Equinox, highest-rated horse in the world and about to service his first book of mares, including the wonderful Japanese champion Almond Eye.

They certainly adhere to the old racing adage, breed the best to the best and hope for the best. Then again, Coolmore, 30 years on from Horsetrader’s publication, might say that in daringly sending Rhododendron to mate with Deep Impact in Japan and getting Auguste Rodin they weren’t far off!

- TS

Coolmore offer Paddington nomination for auction in aid of Graham Lee

A nomination to star colt Paddington is set to be auctioned off at Tattersalls early next month to raise funds for injured jockey Graham Lee.

The Grand National and Ascot Gold Cup-winning rider remains in Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle after suffering serious neck and spinal injuries in a fall on the all-weather two weeks ago.

A JustGiving page set up by Lee’s daughter Amy for the Injured Jockeys Fund recently passed the £150,000 mark – and the Coolmore team are keen to add their support by auctioning a nomination in their top-class three-year-old Paddington before the first ‘Sceptre’ lot at Tattersalls on December 4.

“Our partners Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, George Von Opel and Peter Brant along with everyone here at Coolmore and Ballydoyle wish Graham and his family all the very best,” said Coolmore’s MV Magnier.

Paddington rattled off four straight Group One victories in the space of 68 days earlier this year, landing the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

The recently-retired son of Siyouni will stand his first season at Coolmore next year with a stallion fee of €55,000.

Coolmore land 2,000,000 guineas Frankel colt at Tattersalls

Coolmore saw off Godolphin and Juddmonte to land a Frankel yearling for 2,000,000 guineas on the second day of the Book 1 sale at Tattersalls in Newmarket.

Standing in the gangway, Coolmore’s MV Magnier was determined to secure the beautifully-bred colt, consigned by Anthony Oppenheimer and Hascombe and Valiant Stud.

“He is lovely horse and from a very successful stud in Hascombe, which has bred very good horses in the past and are very good breeders,” Magnier told Tattersalls.

“This is a well-bred horse; Frankel is flying and everyone (from the Coolmore team) liked him – and he goes to Ballydoyle.”

Oppenheimer, who was sat in the ring to see his colt sell, said: “So far we have done quite well, and sold four, and we have more to sell (over the whole of the October Sale).

“There were no regrets at all when he was going around the ring. I did not think we’d get as much as that; I know he is a very nice horses – refuelling the stud’s finances and it can’t do any harm!”

‘Different class’ Little Big Bear retired following injury

Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group winner Little Big Bear has been retired due to injury.

The son of No Nay Never was the champion two-year-old in Europe last year, winning a string of races that included the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, the Anglesey Stakes and the Phoenix Stakes – the latter a Group One he took by seven lengths.

He did not run again as a juvenile, and as a three-year-old his 2000 Guineas bid did not go to plan, but he was victorious again when dropped in drip for the Sandy Lane and was then beaten only by Shaquille when second in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.

His final run came in the July Cup, where Shaquille was the winner but Little Big Bear finished last of all when eased up by Ryan Moore having been hampered two furlongs out.

A late setback meant he missed last weekend’s Prix Maurice de Gheest, and the discovery of a condylar fracture on the right-front fetlock now means he will not race again.

O’Brien said via the website of owners Coolmore: “Little Big Bear is a super horse; that’s the long and the short of it.

“Different class, different gear and matured very early for a big horse.

“He’s big, scopey, strong, clear winded and very, very fast – a class sprinter.”

Monday Musings: Shocks on the Derby Trails

So the age-old Derby formula will not be holding this year, writes Tony Stafford. Third in the 2,000 Guineas (well fourth it used to be, as I conceded last week) meant first in the Derby at Epsom, but Luxembourg is lame. He will therefore not be carrying the Coolmore/Westerberg colours into yet another very probable annexation of English racing’s most sought-after prize.

Just as well then that a legion of bench-warmers took the opportunity at Chester and Lingfield to step up into the principal positions. First it was Changingoftheguard, running all over Godolphin’s theretofore Derby second favourite, New London, in the Chester Vase. It was great to see a revitalised Ryan Moore dominating the entire three-day fixture with superlative tactical riding from start to finish.

Chester revealed Ryan back to his very best, remarkably so in the face of the continuing serious health problems of his younger brother Josh, which have brought universal messages of sympathy from all around the racing world.

Changingoftheguard won the Chester Vase by a wide margin and then, in picking up the Dee Stakes with Star Of India, the Ballydoyle team had already started stacking up the back-up squad for the first Saturday in June.

It’s probably worth mentioning that their other three runners at the meeting - the filly Thoughts Of June in the Cheshire Oaks (there’s a name to conjure with!), Temple Of Artemis in the three-year-old handicap on the Thursday, and a lone Friday runner, Cleveland, who picked up the Chester Cup almost as an after-thought - all also crossed the line in front.

Then on Saturday it was on to Lingfield for their Derby Trial and, faced by another Godolphin/Appleby/Buick favourite in Walk Of Stars, Ryan and his mount, United Nations, were comfortably the best on the day.

Paul Smith, son of Derrick, was quizzed at every call on Saturday (as was Kevin Buckley at Chester) as to where he thought the pecking order might now be behind Luxembourg, but that was before yesterday’s news that the favourite will not run. Now I’m sure if you were to ask Paul or Derrick Smith, or Michael Tabor, or John and the junior Magniers or Georg von Opel or even Peter Brant in whose colours he runs, they would all shout in unison, “Stone Age!”

Where did that colt suddenly appear from, you would be entitled to ask? Well, certainly not from the upper reaches of the Classic consciousness after his five winless, although not promise-free, runs as a juvenile.

They brought a couple of second places in Group races, notably a one-length defeat behind the James Ferguson-trained Kodiac colt El Bodegon in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over ten furlongs in testing ground in late October. If it proved Stone Age’s stamina credentials – as if they were ever in doubt – it certainly also hurried Ferguson into the upper stratum of international racing.

El Bodegon has yet to appear since, but he has a Dante entry at York this week and then is a 25-1 shot for the Derby. That makes him ten times the price of Stone Age after a 13-length reappearance win at Navan on March 22 and then a five-and-a-half length romp in the Derby Trial at Leopardstown yesterday.

Each successive winning triallist won with authority, with Changingoftheguard and Stone Age showing the most. It will shock nobody to learn that all four colts – and the Cheshire Oaks heroine, too, are by Galileo, his famed Classic-winning genes still as effective a year on from his death at the age of 23.

Talking of Chester, only one of the five O’Brien winners was not by Galileo. Cleveland, who was stepping up a mile from his longest previous race distance to win the great staying handicap, is by Camelot, also the sire of Luxembourg. Camelot will doubtless have other chances of siring the winner of the second Classic he won.

The hardest part for any trainer is to break into the big league. Last week George Boughey won the 1,000 Guineas with Cachet and Ferguson must also be harbouring that dream, probably first imagined in the years his father John was, with Simon Crisford, at the helm of running the Godolphin interests of Sheikh Mohammed.

Another young Newmarket handler who may not be too far away from joining them is Tom Clover. On Saturday Clover took the Oaks Trial at Lingfield, his first stakes win, with the unbeaten Rogue Millennium, a bargain buy for the Rogues Gallery from the Shadwell dispersal. She was bought on the strong recommendation of her previous handler, Marcus Tregoning, who never got her to the track. A beautiful, strong daughter of Dubawi, she cost 35,000gns at auction and with her pedigree, looks and above all ability must be worth half a million!

I’d love her to win the Oaks. Tom and his wife Jackie, daughter of the late and much-missed Classic trainer Michael Jarvis, are showing signs of moving smoothly onto racing’s top table;

 *

One necessary ingredient in racing is luck. Another is the ability to take an opportunity when it comes along. On Friday morning in Kentucky, one of the original 20 horses in the field for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Louisville, was withdrawn owing to a late injury.

That left the way for the 21st acceptor on the list, Rich Strike, an 80/1 shot trained by Eric Reed and ridden by the unknown South American jockey Sonny Leon, to squeeze into the line-up and race from the widest draw of all.

His two best runs this spring had been placed efforts (third and fourth) in minor stakes behind Tiz The Bomb, favoured on both occasions, each time as a 20/1 shot or longer at Turfway Park. That horse was also in Saturday’s field and started a 30/1 shot.

Race commentator Larry Colmuss couldn’t have considered him much either because the second highest-priced winner of the race in the past 110 years had already run past the two favourites into the lead before he even noticed him.

Rich Strike bolted up and afterwards his trainer, who had the mortification of losing a large part of his string, his records, trophies and memorabilia in a stable fire a few years ago, said he had been very hopeful as he knew he would stay.

I don’t know what the horse is like in his stable but I can honestly say I have never seen so graphic a sight of one horse trying literally to savage another. For several minutes as Sonny Leon was trying to participate in a post-race interview his horse was attacking the pony, despite all the efforts of that horse’s rider.

Eric Reed certainly had luck on his side when he decided to claim the colt out of a race on the same Churchill Downs track last autumn. You pay your money beforehand over there, and if they run badly you have to bite the bullet.

Eric Reed and his owners didn’t have a bullet to bite, just the thrill of seeing the horse, bred and raced in the famed Calumet Farm colours, romp home by more than 17 lengths. Even then, thoughts of the Kentucky Derby must have been some way from even their optimistic minds.

It is hard not to sympathise with the jockey who rode him that day. That young man had to endure each of the two days of the meeting riding a single unfancied and unsighted horse, before watching the Derby. An Englishman who between 2010 and 2017 rode between a high of 39 and low of 15 wins over those eight seasons, he left for a new career in the US the following year.

Initially his move to the US brought great success and by early December 2018 he had ridden well over 50 winners, enough to put him second in the Fair Grounds, Louisiana, jockey standings.

No doubt he would never have expected to have ridden a Kentucky Derby winner in that horse’s only previous career win. The way Rich Strike finished on his return to Churchill Downs offers hope that the winning will not stop there.

Anyway, have you guessed the identity of the jockey? I think I’ d like to delay the revelation to allow me what I have always thought was the funniest moment ever at a disciplinary inquiry in the UK. Up before the terrifying if slightly out-of-touch gentleman in charge of the inquiry, upon being asked for his name, our hero said: “Beschizza” which the gent misinterpreted as “Biscuit, sir”. “Well Mr Biscuit,” he began. No wonder Adam of that name thought he’d better go elsewhere to ply his trade.

A nephew of Julia Feilden, he’s very much from a racing background and if he hasn’t quite made the big time in the US he will always be able to tell his grandchildren of the day he rode the horse that was to win the Kentucky Derby to a 17-length win also at Churchill Downs.

- TS

Monday Musings: Of Long Days and the Classic Generation

June 21st is upon us. The longest day was to be the freest day until the timid medical advisors to the UK government put the wind up them with fears that the D variant – the virus formerly known as Indian – would cause another surge in infections, writes Tony Stafford.

Well it has, averaging around 10,000 a day for the last week or so, but they are testing many, many more nowadays. Anyone prepared to go anywhere near a racecourse will have enjoyed the experience of things up their nose or aimed at their tonsils.

Since mine were removed in 1952, the year of the Queen’s ascent to the throne – rewarded with a nice ice cream <me, not the Queen> as I recall – I would only be eligible for the nose job, but apparently it’s very much an officialdom-rich environment.

While the infections have risen, the numbers dying most emphatically have not, an average of ten a day for the last week when the “roadmap” was hastily and negatively redrawn. With massive numbers of older people fully vaccinated you wouldn’t expect many deaths, but the silly old advisors want it both ways.

As I’ve said numerous times, I won’t go until everyone is free to go everywhere. I contented myself with a Saturday night day-early Father’s Day celebration with my three 40-plus children and a selection of their issue. Lovely it was too.

So on to the summer and of course from tonight the days will shorten inexorably by three minutes for each of the next 182 and then the semi-cycle will start again the other way round. We’ve already had Royal Ascot and ten of the 12 spring/summer European Classic races – only Ireland’s Derby and Oaks remain in that part of the calendar, and then the St Legers in their various forms and degrees of credibility.

The Irish have won eight of the ten, Jim Bolger picking up the 2,000 Guineas with Poetic Flare and his domestic version with Mac Swiney. Poetic Flare’s demolition job in the St James’s Palace Stakes certainly puts him well ahead among the mile colts this year.

The two Classics decided so far and not to have been won by the Irish have been the Poule D’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000) won by Coeursamba, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, and  the Derby (Adayar, Charlie Appleby).

The remaining six have all been hoovered up by Aidan O’Brien and the Ballydoyle team and each of them boasts combinations of the increasingly complex Coolmore pedigrees.

Five individual horses have been involved in those all-important Classic victories, and four of them are fillies. I contend that St Mark’s Basilica, despite his workmanlike victory in the French 2,000 (Poulains) and a more comfortable Prix Du Jockey Club success, both under Ioritz Mendizabal, is vastly under-valued in official terms. He beat a big field in Chantilly and his female stable-companion Joan Of Arc (by Galileo, <really?!, Ed?>) was similarly too good for another large field of home fillies in yesterday’s French Oaks, the Prix de Diane. This time Coeursamba finished only 11th.

On Sunday Aidan relied on a single runner in a field of 17 and the 16 home defenders were no match for another Mendizabal mount who won by just over a length from the fast-finishing Fabre-trained and Godolphin-owned Philomene, a daughter of Dubawi.

That made it single-runner O’Brien challenges in three of the four French Classic races to be run so far – unplaced Van Gogh joined St Mark’s Basilica in the Jockey Club.  Therefore three wins and a close second (Mother Earth, ridden by Christophe Soumillon) in the French 1,000. That new-found minimalist approach also extended to Epsom and the Derby where Bolshoi Ballet, the favourite, was left as their only runner having been initially one of six expected to turn out.

Three of the four fillies in question improved markedly on juvenile form, the exception being 1,000 Guineas winner and then Pouliches runner-up Mother Earth, who had already earned her 111 rating for her second place in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf race at Keeneland last November and remains on that figure despite her Classic exploits. She ran another game race in third in much the most testing ground she has faced in Friday’s Coronation Stakes at Ascot behind Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free.

Joan Of Arc took a rating of 105 into the Irish 1,000 and was Ryan Moore’s choice for the race but Seamie Heffernan got up on the line that day aboard Empress Josephine (101) in a private duel between two Galileo fillies. She clearly improved on that yesterday while Emperor Josephine was assessed at 109 after her win.

But the biggest eye-opener was Snowfall, the 16-length Oaks winner at Epsom who went into her prep in the Musidora at York on an official mark of 90. That was upped to 108 after her Knavesmire romp but even so she was still believed by insiders to be second-best among a more normal Oaks quintet behind lightly-raced Santa Barbara, now beaten favourite in both this year’s fillies’ classics in the UK.

It seems to me a master-stroke of fudging by the BHA to restrict Snowfall’s latest mark to 120, not merely because that is 2lb lower than Enable after her Oaks defeat of Rhododendron – what that champion did after Epsom has nothing to do with the assessment - and also 1lb less than Adayar.

The give-away for me is to suggest that Mystery Angel, rated 100 after her fourth (four lengths back) in the Musidora had only equalled her York mark. That ignored she made the running at Epsom in a much bigger field and still had the resources left to stay on and retain second 16 lengths behind the Frankie Dettori-ridden winner, finishing well ahead of a trio of considerably more highly-rated fillies.

If the medical advisors who keep us wearing masks and touching fists rather than shaking hands are timid, they have nothing on the BHA men who fear giving too high a rating to a Classic winner, even one who has set a record winning distance for any UK Classic in living memory and beyond.

Snowfall has made the first big statement that she might be a challenger to Love, her predecessor as an outstanding Oaks winner and star of the stable’s slightly disappointing Royal Ascot, as the season progresses. Love, dropping back two furlongs after a ten-month absence since the 2020 Yorkshire Oaks, made all to win the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

A third female deserving of mention in that elite grouping must be the David Menuisier-trained four-year-old filly, Wonderful Tonight. She got first run on Broome to win Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes in style despite its being her first appearance of the year. Her French-born Sussex-based trainer has the Arc, where she has a good chance of getting the soft ground she favours, as her main target.

Broome may not have won but earlier that afternoon his close relative by Australia, the two-year-old Point Lonsdale, won the Chesham Stakes, a race often reserved for the best of the earlier O’Brien juveniles. Ryan had a battle keeping him straight, first going right and as they got close home, more markedly left, but they had enough in hand to beat the Queen’s promising colt Reach For The Moon – Sea The Stars/ Gosdens / Dettori – by half a length.

We had wondered why she chose Saturday to make an appearance. That highly-encouraging performance and the good run later of her King’s Lynn in the Wokingham made it a bit more like Royal Ascot, even when viewed from Hackney Wick. Hopefully, Your Majesty, you and me (and many others besides) can be there for the whole five days in 2022.

The astonishing thing about all four female Coolmore Classic winners is that at no time did anyone at Ballydoyle, and certainly not the trainer nor the owners, believe any of them was within hailing distance of Santa Barbara. My guess from Epsom was that the favourite probably did not stay the mile and a half under the conditions and in the quirky way the race was run, up the stands side with all the direction changing that inevitably happens.

I’m looking forward to seeing her, in what still will be only her fourth race and with a highly-creditable close fourth to Mother Earth at Newmarket on her record, in a suitable race over ten furlongs. The Nassau would be nice, but maybe she won’t be the only one from her stable appearing in that Goodwood Group 1.