Things We Learned » Sovereigns bright

Sovereigns bright

Ten Sovereigns had to do what he did in the Darley July Cup on Saturday if he was to reach the level that looked within his capabilities at the start of the season.  He did and he did.

It was a performance of class and dominance in a division that needed a new star after Blue Point was whisked away to the breeding shed.  Aidan O’Brien’s colt flashed out of the gate like a sprinter.  He was in front in the centre after they had gone a furlong and while, according to the sectional times, he was headed by Major Jumbo and Glorious Journey on the near side through the mid-section of the race, he always travelled like the most likely winner, and he was strong in the finish.  He was going away from his rivals on the run to the winning line.

It looks like the Nunthorpe Stakes may be his next objective now, and why not?  He has never run over five furlongs before, but history tells you that that is no barrier.  Stravinsky won the Nunthorpe after winning the July Cup.  Mozart won the Nunthorpe after winning the July Cup.  They were both trained by Aidan O’Brien, and neither had run over five furlongs before they went to York.

In the same way as it made sense to have a go at the Guineas over a mile with Ten Sovereigns, it makes sense to have a go at the Nunthorpe next over five furlongs.

It was interesting to listen to Aidan O’Brien in the immediate aftermath of the race.  About how they tried to stretch the No Nay Never colt’s speed out to a mile.  After he came up just short at Newmarket, it was a case of getting him back to being a sprinter.  It was interesting that his trainer said that maybe he wasn’t quite there mentally as a sprinter in time for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. 

The easy ground may not have helped him there either.

But three weeks later, three weeks more worth of learning how to be a sprinter, and a move to faster ground, and the result was explosive.

Horses to note from July Cup

Horses to take out of the July Cup?  The winner for starters, but you won’t be alone there.  Fairyland too, the winner’s stable companion.  The Kodiac filly did well to finish third, given that she raced towards the near side for most of the race.  She did best by far of those horses who raced on the near side, finishing two and a half lengths clear of the next best.

As well as that, this was Fairyland’s first run over six furlongs since she won the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course last September.  As with Ten Sovereigns, her trainer tried to stretch her out to a mile, and she didn’t run badly in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, she was only beaten a total of just over two lengths by her stable companion Hermosa.  She ran over five at Royal Ascot, in the King’s Stand Stakes, against Blue Point and the older horses, and you suspect that, if connections hadn’t had Ten Sovereigns for the Commonwealth Cup, she would have run in that, against fellow three-year-olds.

She might have to drop back down to five furlongs again, for the King George Stakes at Goodwood, or perhaps for the Nunthorpe Stakes too, but she should be okay over five now.  Like Ten Sovereigns, she looks like a sprinter.

And Glorious Journey.  He wasn’t fast away, but he was fast through the early part of the race.  According to the RMG sectionals, he clocked the fastest time for the second furlong, 10.55secs, and for the third furlong, 10.63secs, through a hot part of the race.  And he raced towards the near side.  In the circumstances, it was understandable that he faded through the final furlong and a half. 

Winner of a Group 3 race at Deauville over a mile last season as a three-year-old, Charlie Appleby’s horse has improved this season at four, and since he has been gelded.  He finished second to Dream Of Dreams in a six-furlong listed race at Windsor in May, and in front of The Tin Man, and he was only just beaten by Limato in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket in June.  He may be under-rated when he races next.

King George anomalies

So Crystal Ocean is rated higher than Enable, yet Enable is no better than 4/6 for the King George while Crystal Ocean is available at 3/1.

It’s like, Cyrname is rated higher than Altior, yet Altior is a 7/2 shot and Cyrname is a 6/1 shot for the King George.  Not the same King George though. 

Good luck explaining all of that to your uncle, the one who is into cricket and tennis and who has a passing interest in racing.

Luxuriant one to note

There was a lot to like about the performance that Luxuriant put up in winning the nine-furlong maiden at Leopardstown on Thursday evening. 

Dermot Weld’s filly travelled well for Oisin Orr behind a modest enough tempo that Seamie Heffernan set on Invitation, and she picked up well when her rider took her to the outside in the home straight and asked her to go and win her race.  It always looked like she was going to get to Invitation, who pulled clear of Sweet Dime, who was, in turn, clear of the rest. 

Invitation was well enough beaten on her two previous runs, but they were both on easy ground and, a really well-bred filly, by Galileo and a half-sister to King George winner and quadruple Group 1 winner Novellist, she put up the best performance of her career so far on Thursday, on the best ground that she has encountered to date.  Luxuriant was conceding race fitness and experience to the Ballydoyle filly, but she was nicely on top at the finish, and the manner in which the two fillies pulled clear of their field was really encouraging.

Luxuriant herself is also really well bred.  By Kingman, Khalid Abdullah’s filly is out of Sense Of Joy, who was two for two in her racing career for John Gosden, she won a Newmarket maiden and she won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes.  And Sense Of Joy is a half-sister to Day Flight, a multiple group race winner. 

Dermot Weld said afterwards that he wouldn’t rush Luxuriant, that she is a big filly who could make a really nice four-year-old.  She doesn’t hold any entries at present, but she is an exciting filly and she will be of interest wherever she runs next.


Other potential names for the progeny of No Nay Never:

Oft Times Before


Landlady’s Eyes

(There is already a Wild Rover (Ire) and a Prodigal Son (Ire).)

© The Irish Field, 20th July 2019