It was good to see British Champions Day at Ascot rise above the whip ban controversy. Albeit briefly. The BHA and the jockeys have been around the table today trying to thrash out their differences. The issue has been kicked back to the review group for an urgent revision. There will be an inevitable watering down now. And I thought this was something the BHA had got right for a change.
Frankel buffed up his already gleaming reputation with a ridiculously easy win in the QEII Stakes to seal his place with the legends. And fantastic news that he remains in training next year. Frighteningly, he could get better. My fancy Immortal Verse might have been nearer if at her best, but she will never be a match for this one. The competitive Champions Stakes was hugely enjoyable. Maximum respect to Soumillon for wearing down So You Think aboard Cirrus Des Aigles. A great ride. The form seems to frank the Arc result with 3rd and 4th there filling 3rd and 2nd here. Nathaniel in the end was a poor bet. Drawn wide, as Gosden feared, he was ridden too handily to avoid sliding out on the bend, and arguably the ground/trip was not in his favour either.
So my fevered punting returned one win (Deacon Blues) and two places (Gertrude Bell and Snow Fairy) from seven bets, showing a tiny profit. But before I get carried away with my thruppence winnings, there is the small matter of a couple of losers on the jumps up at Kelso that plunged my day into the red.
It’s also time to review the 20 to follow flat project. I’m winding it up for the season as we approach the end of October, though a couple may still have another outing before the month’s end. It shows tidy enough profit at +61.08. I’m happy with that, overall. As usual, some sob stories and near misses (as well season-long no-shows), but I’m also aware of a couple of dodgy win-doubles and place tokens that have bulked out the bottom line. So all in all, a good result. Details below, for the hardy:
BOURNE – Luca Cumani
6 runs, 1 win: -26.39
Started the season as a live Ebor candidate and went out with a whimper in Italy. Flattered to deceive too many times.
BOSAMBO – Alan Swinbank
3 runs, 1 win: +4.65
Disappeared half way through the season after finishing last in a Newmarket handicap. Possibly injured.
CANFORD CLIFFS – Richard Hannon
3 runs, 2 wins, 1 winning bet: +5
Wonderful victory over Goldikova in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. Injured against Frankel at Goodwood. Only backed him once, and then it was in a spawny exacta with the French mare.
CAPE BLANCO – Aiden O’Brien
5 runs, 3 wins: +33
Inauspicious start in Europe but then won three Grade 1s on the bounce in the States, winning his last race whilst injured and now retired to stud.
FRANKEL – Henry Cecil
4 runs, 4 wins (since selected), 1 winning bet: +8
Lived up and probably surpassed the hype. Not a betting proposition most of the season, but I did pick up a small win at Goodwood amongst an afternoon of big losers.
HAVANT – Sir Michael Stoute
2 runs, no wins: -9
Two poor runs in the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks and her season was over.
HOOF IT – Mick Easterby
6 runs, 3 wins: +66
Wonderful season, improving through handicaps, landing the Stewards’ Cup under a record weight, to compete in Group 1s, unluckily missing out on the Sprint Cup by a bumped whisker.
HOORAY – Sir Mark Prescott bt
6 runs, 1 win +14.1
Generally disappointing. I managed to double up his solitary win in June at Epsom with St Nicholas Abbey to achieve an undeserved profit on the horse this season.
LAAHEB – Roger Varian
3 runs, 0 wins: -15
Simply didn’t go on from last season’s progress at all. In fact, went backwards. Hard to explain, especially given the excellent start his trainer has made to his career.
MODUN – Sir Michael Stoute
5 runs, 1 win (since selected): -10
Series of near misses for this horse. A bit like his trainer. Hit the mark twice (once whilst selected), but it could have been so much better. Now transferred to Godolphin.
MONSIEUR JOE – Walter Swinburn
4 runs, 0 wins: -18
Another that has gone backwards. Also a bit like his trainer. Looked out of sorts since his first run back from Meydan. By October I’d learned my lesson and left him alone. His trainer packs up at the end of this season.
QUADRANT – Brian Meehan
5 runs, 2 wins: +7.55
Started well enough winning a maiden he was subsequently disqualified from because of a banned substance in his system, but not before I’d pocketed the winnings. Lost his way a bit, gelded, then picked up another maiden, legally this time, but looks to be no more than average.
PATHFORK – Jessica Harrington
1 run, no wins: -3
Muddling performance in the 2,000 Guineas and then met with a series of setbacks so not seen again this season. Shame.
RODERIC O’CONNOR – Aiden O’Brien
5 runs, 1 win: +2.5
Odd season. Nicked the Irish 2,000 Guineas from the front at a good price, but never competitive again and indeed used in Ballydoyle’s increasing bizarre pace-making operations on a couple of runs.
ROSE BLOSSOM – Richard Fahey
8 runs, 1 win: +15
Highly tried this season and took a long time to hit the mark. When she did I’d managed to get a good price and had a decent bet. But she never got on the scoresheet again. Shade disappointing.
SANS FRONTIERES – Jeremy Noseda
Not seen after a couple of early season niggles.
SARAFINA – Alain Du Royer-Dupre
4 runs, 2 wins, 1 winning bet: -1.50
Barely backable in races before the Arc and then given too much to do in the big one itself. Still remains a very high quality mare.
SNOW FAIRY – Ed Dunlop
5 runs, no wins, 2 winning place bets: +5
Admirable mare, pretty much been thereabouts all season without getting her bonce in front. The penny dropped for me in her last two races and I spawned some handy place money on the Betfair markets.
TEMPLE MEADS – Ed McMahon
Slow to come to hand, apparently, and the trainer then remarked that three year old sprinters are hard to place. So this one has been kept for next year, I assume.
WOOTTON BASSETT – Richard Fahey
4 races, no wins: -22.50
Possibly the most disappointing horse on the list. Never came close to recapturing his two year old form, despite attempting a variety of distances and going conditions. The yard appears to have become frustrated and have packed him off to stud.