Too fast, the season goes.
Champions Day ends the show, one last performance before the circus packs up to leave town. QIPCO, the new ringmaster, and what a good job they did, made a £13m investment in the British Champion Series featuring 35 Pattern races.
It began on Guineas Day and now we’ve reached the bookend, the last £3m comes up for grabs. It’s the big bang as opposed to previous years whimpers, 5 Pattern Races, the Long Distance Cup, Sprint Stakes, Fillies and Mares, The QE11 Mile and finally the Champion Stakes.
You heard the one about the horse who beat the train?
Don’t be such a clown you thought. Horses don’t beat trains. Yeah, we had our clown all right, the big entertainer on which every circus depends.
The 1m 37.3s he took to run the mile at Newmarket was slow by 1.8s. Oh, how the clock lies. No account taken of the way he blew away his rivals, the psychological damage done in the first 5 F where he literally ran them off their feet. Faster than Lochsong they say.
Sectioned, the clock underneath the saddle cloth.
Faster or slower than Lochsong, who cares, the eye didn’t lie at Newmarket or later at Ascot. It didn’t lie at Goodwood either where Canford Cliffs got the best view of his enormous posterior, a distant 5 L view. It’s hard to see on his return to the Ascot mile what will be different. No disrespect to the seven who bravely oppose but their running for place money. Frankel was the clown all right. He’ll leave the ring to rapturous applause.
Tension will rise as the tightrope comes under spotlight. Expect to hear the drum roll as they load the gates in the Champion Stakes. It’s a cracking field, not far off the Arc.
It will matter, not in the sense of the clock but in the sense of the season.
Many of these have been on the go throughout and may not have enough left for one last crack of the whip. Pity, it won’t come from Richard Hughes. Those timed for an autumn campaign, kept fresh, there the ones to think of. So You Think? I hear you say. There’s no doubt his Arc run was very good and had the draw been kinder, well we’ll never know. It’s only two weeks since Paris and this may just be too soon for him having been on the go since early May.
In front of him at Lonchamp was Snow Fairy overturning the Irish Champion Stakes run. Her season as expected is improving with every run. The ground will be good but not her favoured fast. Another good show will have her plum ripe for eastern promise on quick surfaces that will be tailor made.
Green Destiny is going the right way. A lack of experience at this level means a huge step up while Ransom Note and Sir Putra are depending on the rest running below par. The 5 year old Cirrus Des Aigles must hold the title of best gelding in the world. 1/4 L defeats to Sarafina and Goldikova and last time out a neck to Byword testify to his well being. Twice Over, his confidence rebuilt a second time by Sir Henry try’s to win it for the third successive time. His early season form is behind him and his International success over Midday was well ground out.
Nathaniel can’t be faulted. The King George winner had to miss the Arc because of the fast ground. He is unlucky in having to meet good conditions at this stage of the year. If only it was soft. The well travelled Wigmore Hall returns from Canada where he took the Northern Dancer rattling off a quick Woodbine track. If only it was fast.
Casamento, most damaged by Frankel, is back on the recovery road. A Group 3 at Lonchamp in September was well timed. Then there’s the return of a Prince. The policy shift of Godolphin in housing two year olds in Ireland paid rich dividends with Casamento winning the Racing Post Trophy last year.
A year on and payback may come again. This fella pressed all the right buttons at Rosewell House and an ultra smooth Killavullan Stakes win last October confirmed the vibe. Policy dictated the transfer as a three year old to Mahood Al Zarooni where patience has been the key. He was reintroduced at Newbury in September over 9 F and clearly the eye was firmly based here. Kept fresh, the son of Shamardal unbeaten in three will love the ground.
The healer. The tragedy of Rewilding and now fresh hope for a new Prince in the affections of Dubai.
In the high wire act it’s got to be Frankie for the triple somersault dismount.
Daddy, when will the circus come back? Next year son, next year.
So son, who was your favourite? Oh, daddy, I liked the clown best.