Once again, a piece of horse racing history has been written by officials instead of contestants as the stewards stepped in and disqualified yet another Grade 1 winner.
From as far back as April 28, I wrote in Public Opinion about HENRY THE SECOND after his win in a mere maiden condition event:
“HENRY THE SECOND (-14) (R7; 3yomdn cond; 1500m; TV -5) a big, imposing colt, bred in the purple (by local horse of the 21st millenium, Miracle Man out of a mare sired by Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled), who was very green and weak as a 2yo, has grown nicely into his frame and produced an impressive first win after 5 months off during which he has obviously also strengthened. The manner in which he lengthened stride and drew off in the last 300m couldn’t have been more impressive. His time (1:33.0) converts to a Real Time of 1:34.0 (only 4/5ths of a second slower than the Overnight Allowance standard). He’s nailed on to improve markedly and stay forever. He has Derby winner printed all over him.”
So, excuse me for expecting him to trot up in the Governor’s Cup thrown in at 50 kg, despite the sudden step up to Grade 1. He loped along at the back of the field for about 1200m and, when he started to take closer orders 600m out he was at least 6 lengths behind the leader and eventual second, MARKET FORCE. By the time they straightened up, less than 200m later, he had quickened impressively to draw alongside MARKET FORCE and appeared certain to fly past that one and win by a dozen lengths when his lightweight jockey, unable to control him (still green), applied an unnecessary right-hand stick. HENRY THE SECOND dived left into MARKET FORCE but more interfered with his own momentum than MARKET FORCE’s and was soon pulled off. A big horse, it took him forever to regain stride but was just about to pick up again and pass MARKET FORCE when the jockey inexplicably applied the right-hand stick again with the identical result. Once again, the workmanlike HENRY THE SECOND suffered more “interference” than MARKET FORCE and, when straightened out, drew off from his rival to win by more than a length (value 5) going away.
It was pellucid, save to biased holders of win tickets on MARKET FORCE, that, when looking at the race as a whole, HENRY won on merit and MARKET FORCE was never going to be any better than 2nd. Yet our Stewards, once again failing to grasp the abiding principle that disqualifications should be the exception not the rule, separated a meritorious winner from his well-earned rewards and left bitter tastes in winning connections’ mouths.
Lord, deliver us!
- Clocked In
This is where we review horses performances based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: TV is “Track Variant” (how to calculate the effect of track conditions, including wind, on the official times posted); all TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means it was slow (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade average
As advised, on May 12. when I wrote about CAPTUREMYSHIP “Unexposed and seemingly with plenty improvement to come, he appears a cinch to win at least a nw2. Again, he gave the impression further would suit” he duly won a nw2 over 1000m (straight) and then, stretched out to 1500m on June 3, improved again to win a nw3 comprehensively.
Be careful. Last Saturday’s racing surface was SLOW.
June 3, 2017 [T.V. +0.4 per 200m (Rd); +4 (str)]
SHE’S A MANEATER (-16) proved herself an all-world filly at 1600m (R3; Open Allowance; 1600m; TV +3) with a commanding performance coming back off an injury; forced into an early speed duel that lasted to the top of the lane before staying on strongly from 300m out; drew clear final 200m to clock 1:36.2 on a slow track! Her CT of 1:35.4 is all of 1 3/5ths seconds faster than the average for Open Grade 1 horses! Based on this effort, 2000 metres should not be a problem but it remains to be seen if she’ll last the Derby trip. Legendary occupant of the same barn, THORNBIRD, was an outright sprinter who used her class to win the 1984 Derby. The Derby day matchup between her and HENRY THE SECOND should be worth travelling miles to see. One thing is for certain, at around a mile, she will always take all the beating.
The second/third, Another Bullet/Hover Craft (-11 ½) corrected time (CT) of 1:36.3’ is almost 15l better than the Open Allowance average and over 3/5ths of a second faster than Grade 1. They too have races to win.
GREAT FAITH (-7) returned to her best (R8; 3yonw2, fillies; 1500m; TV +3) making all and keeping on gamely in 1:33.3. Her CT (1:33.0!) is 4/5ths of a second faster than the nw3 average so she should be able to repeat especially if kept to fillies only races.
AURELIA’S SUMMER (-5) impressed in clocking 1:14.3 (CT 1:14.1) which is only 1/5th of a second faster than open nw2 but 4/5ths second faster than nw2 (fillies) so she can win again if found another fillies only race.
- Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
The US Open Golf (the season’s second Major) tees off on June 15 at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. His form has been somewhat sketchy this year but my most confident golf pick for the year so far is JORDAN SPEITH to win the US Open at a golf course that will suit his game to a “T”.
In English Racing, it’s all about Royal Ascot which is set to start on June 20 so this is the right time to settle on your ante-post portfolio. The Royal Hunt Cup over the straight mile (June 21; 1620 GMT; 10.20 a.m. Jamaica Time) is one of the festival’s most popular betting heats and I strongly recommend an each way plunge on REMARKABLE who loves this track (1l 2nd of 19 to YUFTEN in last year’s Balmoral handicap over course and distance; subsequent winner AFJAAN ½l/hd further back in 4th); was unfavourably drawn in the Victoria Cup on reappearance and was unsuited by a stop-start gallop in the Investec Mile at Epsom. This will be his third start since coming back and I imagine he’ll work to be worthy of tout triumph.
The Commonwealth Cup (6f; June 23; 1540 GMT; 9.40am Jamaica Time) could end up as a rematch between BLUE POINT and HARRY ANGEL, 1st and 2nd respectively in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes over course and distance on May 3. The pair, separated by 1 ½l, were clear of the remainder. The latter (conceded 5lbs that day) who returned to win the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes from a strong field at Haydock on May 27, is the improver and my confident pick to turn the tables.
Now, a notebook horse for you:
AUTOCRATIC disappointed in the Earl Of Sefton on his Group-race debut on reappearance but showed that running to be all wrong by winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown next time out. In that race he picked up smartly to lead (having been forced to wait for a run) and always looked like doing enough late on. He’s nailed on for even more improvement; is just the type his world class trainer gets to progress at 4yo; and should prove hard to beat wherever he turns up next.